Saab 9-3x vs Subaru Outback

People seem to be fond of dropping very quick, back-of-the-envelope comparisons into comments at the moment and invariably, those comparisons involve flowery language about how poorly a Saab compares and occasionally, how if Saab don’t do anything about it those people will be off to another brand as fast as their feet can take them.

That’s a generalisation, by the way. It’s not aimed at anyone and is a mish-mash of various lines that people take.

I will pick out one comparison that was made today, however, and deal with it in a little more depth. The reason I’ve picked this one is that the Saab/Subaru comparison is an oft-made one around here, so it’s highly relevant to tackle it.

This comparison involved the Saab 9-3x and the Subaru Outback.

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2011 Saab 9-3 US specs

Following are the provisional US equipment listings for the 2011 Saab 9-3 range. These were downloaded September 15, 2011 but may be subject to change.

I’ve started with the base model and built up from there. Also note that I have not included the Convertible in this listing.

We’ve discussed the 2011 Saab 9-3 revisions here at SU already and as suspected, it looks like the 2011 Saab 9-3 is a carry-on from the 2010, without the interior or exterior revisions that were first suspected.

It’s believed that these might come in a mid-year refresh prior to the 2012 model year.


2011 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan FWD

  • Air bags, frontal, driver and right front passenger with Passenger Sensing System
  • Air bags, side curtain for outboard seats and side torso for the front seats
  • Air conditioning, dual-zone automatic climate control with individual temperature settings for front passengers and rear seat air outlets
  • Air filter, cabin
  • Armrest, rear center with pass-through opening
  • Assist handles, front and rear outboard, includes jacket hook on rear handles
  • Audio system, AM/FM stereo with CD player, seek-and-scan, digital clock, auto-tone control, speed-compensated volume, TheftLock and auxiliary input jack, 7-speaker system
  • XM Radio, includes 3 months of trial service.
  • Cargo anchorage loops, in trunk
  • Child Safety Locks, rear doors
  • Console, front center armrest with coin holder and cupholder
  • Cruise control, electronic with set and resume speed
  • Cup holder, front folding in instrument panel, 2 in the second row
  • Defogger, front, side-window, rear-window (electric)
  • Driver Information Center, includes trip computer, outside temperature, fuel consumption, distance to empty, average speed, speed warning and driver warning messages
  • Read more

Trading Black for Black – and loving it

Via email from Dan P….. this one’ll show up in SCNA’s September numbers 🙂


Just dropping in to inform you one 2010 9-3X was purchased last night from True Saab in Downers Grove, IL, as a replacement for a Turbo X which proved to be woefully impractical for its female owner. I understand this dealer had recently gone through some dramatic ownership changes, and I want to report that the new owners and staff are exceedingly friendly, helpful, and approachable. They worked pretty hard to put together a great package and ease her nerves. Kudos to True Saab!

Anyway on with the 9-3X (and one pic of the Turbo X traded in):

The outgoing Turbo X…….

And the incoming Saab 9-3x…..

And from another angle, and you’re darn right I want fries with that……

The family garage……grainy at night, but very, very nice.

A further report from Dan today says “It is a great car, I’m very VERY impressed with it.”

I was impressed with the Saab 9-3x when I drove it in Sweden, too. It seems to give the SportCombi body a new sense of purpose.

I’d have one tomorrow, easy.


Charles River Saab to be on Boston TV this week!

My mates at Charles River Saab are quite possibly going to be on TV this week.

….it’s a spot which was filmed late spring by WCVB television in Boston. They had been out here a few times during the “SAAB is Dead” and “SAAB lives again” moments to do some quick stories, and their evening magazine show came by to do an extended piece on us as part of a broadcast where they chronicled dealers who are closing (Saturn, et al) and those who have new lease on life.

Not sure if the broadcast can be viewed in real time but I bet the segment will be available on their website

All you Beantown types, keep an eye out for it.

The show is scheduled to air on Wednesday, September 8th at 7:30pm on Channel 5.


Also another bit of news from CRS.

Images of our mate Till72 came to mind when I arrived at CRS a few weeks ago because like him, they had a Saab 9-3x with some significant advertising on it.

Sadly, the car was hit by a rental truck late last week, resulting in some significant damage to the car.


I’m advised that they’ll most likely have the car repaired, or if not, then another will be ‘wrapped’ in its place.

Good thing, as I think it looks fantastic!

Friday Night Snippets – Arrival edition

Last time I heard from them – admittedly several weeks ago – the guys at Auto Motor and Sport were very firm in their belief that there would be some technical collaboration between Saab and BMW, which means there could be some Teutonic engines in future Swedish cars – possibly.
With that in mind, you might want to check out this article at Autosavant on a new BMW 3-cylinder engine that’ll be powering a future generation of the Mini.
Saab 9-2, anyone?
Victor Muller received a parcel of Spyker shares as a bonus for pulling off the Saab deal earlier this year.
DutchNews are reporting that those shares have been sold, netting a cool little windfall for the smiling man in the suit. Muller remains a major shareholder in the company, having arranged his shareholding to sit just below the percentage where he’d be required to make a mandatory takeover offer for the rest of the shares (that condition could well explain the sales of the bonus shares, too).
Some 2010 models are arriving in the US – finally.
Shaw Saab – in Norwell, MA – seem to be pretty happy with the brand new 9-3x that’s just landed in their yard.
Have I mentioned that I love the Saab 9-3x?
There are heaps more photos here.
And speaking of Saab in the US……. some of you might have received this via email:
Thanks to David!

Saab 9-3x owner’s report

One of our regulars here, Till72, has had his Saab 9-3x for a few months now and sent in this report.
It’s my favourite Saab in the current range. I had one for a few days back in September last year and just loved it, so I was really pleased to get this report in.

As stingray74 requested back in February here’s a first summary of my experience with the 9-3x after a bit more of two months and 3200 kms of driving it. I have to admit that I’m quite biased as it is a very special car for me. Not only because it’s got that birthday card under the hood but also because I called my dealer and confirmed the deal on that car exactly one minute after the news of the wind down of Saab popped up on SU.
9-3x 2_1.jpg
In fact I was looking for a convertible but after Swade’s review of the 9-3x last year I got interersted. And as my dealer got this one in stock I just fell in love with the car. I didn’t even test drive it.
On the car itself: it’s a 1,9 TTiD auto, jetblack with black sports leather and most gadgets except Xenon. Things I added from Hirsch are (of course) 20 extra hp, 18″ wheels for summer, 17″ brakes, carbon leather interior and aluminium door sill trim. I still wonder why I didn’t get the exhaust, too. Sometimes you got to stop shopping at a certain point I think. Another thing I got was a park heater.
The engine is amazing. From Hirsch you get 400 Nm and 200 hp if you got auto and so far that’s been enough for me. You know I’m the diesel guy around here and this engine just made me stop asking for a bigger diesel in the Saab lineup. Quick acceleration is possible in every situation. I do quite a bit of driving with a trailor in the back and even with the max load in the back you have enough power all the time. Yesterday I drove on a empty autobahn and on a slightly downhill part I managed to go 240 km/h (normally top speed is somewhere between 220 and 230). Right at that moment a Porsche passed me and made me feel slow. 😉
9-3x 8_1.jpg
Can’t say too much about fuel economy right now because I did half of the kilometers with my trailor in the back and the rest in the city. Right now I’m at about 8,5 l/100 km which is not best but not too bad either.
Though the car handles great even at those speeds it can be experienced best when driving small, curvy roads. Handling has of course improved again when putting on the 18″ wheels but even with the 17″ winter rims you’re always in control. I switched from the Impreza to the 9-3x in the middle of winter and I have to admit that I didn’t miss the AWD too much. One very snowy day I had a ton of firewood loaded in my trailor and was surprised how easy it was to handle driving on the snowy and icy roads.
But sure the car with this engine would have deserved XWD. Would be the icing on top.
To me this is the most saaby Saab since my 2001 9-3 hatch. It’s an extremely practical car with lots of turbo power. And extremely relaxing to drive. If I need to replace our 9-5 SC in two years it will be a 9-5x I think.
And: this car is a good answer to the question asked before “Why should I buy a Saab in 2010”. Get people to test drive Saabs. A good number will buy one.
9-3x 4_1.jpg
9-3x 5_1.jpg
9-3x 7_1.jpg
9-3x 3_1.jpg

Till gets his Saab 9-3x graphics

We covered the idea.
Now it’s been put into practice and the results look fantastic……
This was Till72’s idea and a bid to support his local dealer. The dealer paid for the graphics and Till will keep them on the car for the next 6 months. A big rolling advertisement for both the dealership and Saab, the company.
Till’s Saab 9-3x has received the Hirsch treatment and along with the 9-3x graphics, he recently slipped me a note about driving the autobahn and using your brakes.
I just passed the 1000 km with my 9-3x and since I have had that car, I sometimes realized that when braking a bit harder some cars behind me have a hard time not hitting me. Of course, you can feel the stronger effect when driving but you get used to it quite quickly. When I saw the car for the first time I wondered if the wheels could turn for the brakes fit exactly into the 17″ rims (see pix).
On Friday, I was heading for one of my customers who is about 100 km away from my office. Not too much traffic so I was going mostly between 180 and 210 km/h (damn winter tires). As I was just cruising at about 200 km/h without any warning some [email protected]$$ came over into my lane.
Why do people not use blinkers when changing lanes nowadays?
As I figured out later she must have been going at 100 km/h or so. Honestly I can’t tell how far she was away from me, it all was too quick, but I think it was less than 100 metres.
So I stepped on my brakes as hard as I could. Luckily there was no grass but still tarred road surface at the left guardrail. But as winter is just over there was a noticeable amount of road grit. In the end I managed to brake down to the speed of the other car when I was between her and the guardrail on a virtual fourth lane. My left wheels were on the grit, the right ones on the clean tar, the anti-lock was working heavily but I never felt that my car would go in any direction I didn’t want it to. The [email protected]$$ returned to the middle lane, I passed her with a friendly one handed salute and continued my travel.
The amazing thing is that my pulse didn’t even rise throughout the whole situation, I just felt safe in every moment. Thanks to the great suspension in the 9-3x with quite a bit of help by the Hirsch brakes.
And I’m quite glad that this time I didn’t only take care about the acceleration.
Note: Till’s 9-3x is a diesel and therefore doesn’t have XWD, making this level of control all the more notable.

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