Why I’m hooked on Saab cars.

Why I’m hooked on Saab cars? by Phillip Paton Regardless of the model there are certain attributes of Saabs that are different to any other car. Below is what hooked me into the brand. Here is my list of top ten. What have I missed? What got you into Saab? #1 – overall exterior design Saabs have a simple Scandinavian design in my view. There are not a lot of curves and what is there is simple and just makes sense. The outside is pleasing to the eye. My top 3 favourites of recent times are the classic 900 Cabriolet Aero, classic 900 Coupe Aero and the generation 1 9-3 Aero hatchback.

#2 – low and level dash The low and level dash is one of the key features for me. This makes the whole cockpit look refined. I just don’t understand why other car companies curve their dashes.

#3 – Aero Seats The aero seats in the 9000, generation 1 9-3 and the 9-5 are the best seats in the world. They not only look great but they are the most comfortable seats I have ever sat in.

#4 – four cylinder turbo engines Saab was obviously way ahead of the times on this. They started this trend before it became a trend.

#5 – middle key holder I know that this is unique and it does make sense. #6 – quality of interior finishing with the older Saabs The earlier cars had such good internal quality of finishing. I think that this made a big difference to the feel of the car. What a shame it wasn’t as good over the last few years. My classic 900’s almost look like new inside and it is amazing that the interior could look so good after so many years of wear and tear. #7 – great looking rims Saab have some of the best looking rims ever. Here is my all-time favourite:

#8 – Driver layout I first experienced a Saab in 1997 when I was living in Melbourne and my friend had just purchased a new generation 2 900 hatch back. Before then I had really only ever experienced Japanese & American cars. When I sat in the car I was blown away. The layout of the cockpit was probably what hooked me into Saab the most. It was stylish and was focused completely on the driver. #9 – hatchbacks Some of those Saab hatchbacks have so much room in them you could move a whole house load of stuff in just a few trips. #10 – driving handling They may not be the best handling cars in the world but they are still good and are unique in their own way. They have a certain feel to them across the range of cars which is think is fairly consistent.

14 thoughts on “Why I’m hooked on Saab cars.”

  1. The Saab dash design is among the best ever in the industry. The flat vertical stack is brilliant…functional and beautiful to look at. I was recovering from surgery a couple years ago and my brother was visiting me to help out with my young son, getting him to school and such. I was still on medications and couldn’t drive. My brother drove me around in the Saab and seemed very impressed with it all around. I remember the first time I sat in a Saab and I had the same reaction. Absolutely different than other cars.

    • The dash layout on the Classic 900 (and previous 99) was superb! You could reach the controls easily and without removing your eyes from the road. And the visibility forward was also superb, with those thin, strong and vertical front windshield posts. Unfortunately newer generations have lost some of these features….likely due to the effect of styling trends and market pressure not to be to different. We’ve got a 2011 9-3 Aero….nice car which I like very much. But the dash, tho attractive, certainly isn’t as user friendly as my previous classic 900’s. And the visibility forward…poor and almost dangerous. The front posts are very thick and slanted back at a sharp angle, which creates a BIG blind spot when looking to the right when leaving a stop sign. You must remember to look around both sides of that post or you might miss a car or truck hidden in it’s blind spot.

      • That thick A-pillar, although vital to the superb safety cage structure, is definitely a blind spot when looking right. I have had a few scary moments.

      • I believe the thickness of the A-pillars mostly is a result of the “moose test”? Those sturdy A-pillars make me feel safer when I drive in wooded areas – in a SAAB (or a Volvo) it is not just about cosmetics. I have stopped to let moose, elk or deer over the road five times during the last three years and see them from the road all the time. Those posts will help if the car flips over too. I agree about the angle, but only thought of it in the beginning. I probably move my head around a lot! What I really appreciate about the SAAB A-pillars is that they start from the outer edge of the car body (=no shoulder). This means that you most often easily can get a peek a long distance ahead of you, by moving your own car a very small distance sideways, in relation to the car ahead of you (here I lean my head forward and to the left!). In cars with a pronounced “shoulder”, getting this peek is often impossible (e g when you drive in the left lane on the highway in right hand traffic) and then you only get to see the behind of the next vehicle (which hopefully then is a SAAB 🙂 ). I guess one gets used to being blindsided this way, but coming from SAABs I find it really frustrating.

        • I’m not sure A-pillar thickness means that much regarding strength. This was a long time ago, but I cut up a 73 Volvo and cut the A-pillars with a hack saw. Took just very few seconds, very thin sheet metal, not more than 20 ga. I cut up a Saab 99 the same way, and my arm got very tired, and I took a few breaks before getting through the very thick metal of the slim Saab A-pillar. I lost faith in Volvo safety after that.

  2. I can only agree with Robin and Steve. But even if the NEVS 9-3 is little less well designed than the old models its still way beyond of that of AUDI, BMW, VOLVO and so on. Just only ask my wife.

  3. I like that SAABs are so easy to enter and exit! I find that really user friendly. In some premium brands you have to perform an exact ritual every time you want to get behind the steering wheel. I have always wondered whether that is due to design only (to get a low, sporty look) or if it´s also supposed to make you feel like an F1 driver. The F1 thing will not work in most cases, since the average engine of those brands falls short of anything resembling sporty. Most SAABs ARE sporty and give you an open invitation to sit behind that steering wheel 🙂

    • +1
      The entering, seating-driving is superb and exactly where Saab’ designers got it right and where we have all come to expect and be fond of the “feel” of entry, engine start, and take off of the car. I look at Audis and BMWs at how low clearing they are, how awkward (to me) their pillars and seats are as they position the driver, and think… those poor rich people buying these cars what they must do to get in an out of these cars!

  4. These are many of the same reasons I love my Saabs. Regarding the handling–it is so much more than how fast a car can go through a slalom or other test. One of the things I really enjoy about Saabs is the actual solid and steady driving feel. This is probably what drew me to these cars. Along with the excellent driver ergonomics and the nimble handling–they are such a joy to drive and you really feel comfortable even in bad weather or other tight situations.

    • I agree with the handling; SAAB seem to be one of the few who got that a true drivers car is designed to be controllable and have good feedback, not go around the test track as quickly as possible.

      A SAAB will tell you when the outer tires are starting to reach their limits, other cars will wait until something happens and then tell you to not do that again.

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