Vi Bilägare Crowns 9-5 Winter Driving King

Respected Swedish car magazine Vi Bilägare recently tested 5 very different cars in a head to head comparison to see what car best handles Swedish winter roads. Unsurprisingly to us (but surprising to them), the Saab 9-5 not only performed well in a variety of snowy, slushy, cold conditions, but was actually fun to drive while doing so. They were happy to report that their long term 9-5 test vehicle hasn’t had any issues since it first had an unfortunate software malfunction which left them stranded (and very unhappy) on the side of the road. Since then, Saab issued a fix and the problem hasn’t resurfaced. That they were able to give the car top billing after an early production glitch is a good sign of their character as auto journalists.

Anyone who drives this car comes away impressed, whether they try a 2.0T or Aero V6. When I recently spoke with my dealer’s owner, he said he had to turn in his 9-5 Aero demo because he got 2 speeding tickets in a matter of weeks. This is in snowy upstate New York, where we get on average 100″+ of snow. If you haven’t tested a 9-5 yet and you’re even remotely in the market for one, get to your dealer and try one out. I don’t need to sell you on it, the car sells itself. Full translation of the article after the break.

Read moreVi Bilägare Crowns 9-5 Winter Driving King

Saturday Snippets

Don’t miss out on the Saabs United Cyber-Monday specials from Maptun, State of Nine and Saab USA Parts!

I’ll post those back at the top soon.

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My sincere thanks to “Me” for putting together our new winter banner, featuring the Saab 9-4x.

Cool.

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More winter fun (well, it’s fun when you’re writing it from somewhere where it’s nearly summer) ……

First, a funny little video, shot over to me by Per R:

httpvh://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMw1q297I24

….and to keep that company, some more photos from Trollhattan, thanks to Rikard.

You may have seen in comments, or at TTELA, that Saab had to halt production on Friday due to excessive snow on the roof of the factory.

Hopefully they can get that cleared and production up and running again as soon as possible.

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Speaking of TTELA, there’s a very good story from the LA Auto Show from Valdemar Lönnroth, who I met at the show (we shared a very spacious bus ride out to the 9-4x photo shoot).

It’s a good overview of the feeling towards Saab at the LA Auto Show, and what Saab needs to do to turn those good vibes into customer awareness and ultimately, sales.

Such a thing is that many Americans in the common thought that Saab has been effectively eliminated, another is that they still believe it is part of GM. Here it is of course crucial that the public relations people and dealers manage to convey a different story: the facts.

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One more reason for Saab to go full-on into the World Rally Championship when they get a car suitable for the purpose – to take on GM.

GM aren’t certain to head into rallying, but they’re thinking about it. Not that I bear them any too much ill-will, but I’d love to see Saab take them on and win.

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There’s an interesting Saab for sale in New Zealand. I know a bloke who swore black and blue that if ever saw one of these on the market, he’d buy it.

It’s no ordinary yellow convertible. If the badging is to be believed, then it’s one of the late model Turbo S convertibles, which should be fitted with one of the factory red-boxes.

There was one of these for sale in Hong Kong a little while ago, too, and at a bargain price. I wonder if this is the same car?

The best winter tires video you’ll ever see

TuuSaR just dropped this one in comments and I’ve rarely ever felt so compelled to share a video on this site.

In the next three minutes you’ll see lots of 90/00’s goodness, some great fast driving on snow and ice…….. in a Saab 9-3 Viggen……… and if you’re really quick, you’ll also see a 3.5 inch floppy disk (to our 13 year old ad competition entrants – ask your parents).

Awesome. The Viggen is awesome. And the tyres are pretty good, too.

Monday Night Snippets – winter hotness edition

The 2nd European Saab meeting in Huy, Belgium, turned out to be an outstanding success.

There were 263 Saabs parked in the city center in Huy on Sunday.

That’s a fantastic turnout and I’m sure a wonderful celebration of Saab ownership. We’ve had a few photos and stories come through already, but I’m sure there will be a lot more over at Saabhuy in the next few days.

Congratulations to Etienne for the hard work and to everyone who travelled to be there.

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Here’s a challenge for Saab’s future 9-3 successor.

The current 9-3 base model retails at around $40,000 (if you can find one, or someone to sell you one – they’re still getting started downunder).

Renault has just released a hot looking three door hatchback – the Megane RS250 Cup – with a 2-litre turbo, true race-bred suspension and brakes. The engine produces 250hp and 340Nm, and accelerates to 100kph in 6.1 seconds.

The car sells for $42,000.

It doesn’t look as useful as a Saab when it comes to practicality and I’m not totally convinced on what the build quality will be like, but it sure looks like fun.

The challenge is out there. Strip one down, power it up, and give us a little fun with this new baby.

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Speaking of speed machines, here’s a world record run by a ride-on lawnmower over at Jalopnik.

The Saab connection? The film was made by Ignition3, whose owner (Dick L) happens to be an absolute Saabnut.

Nice work, Dick!

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Greg Abbott has brought some hotness to winter driving, adding some black wheels with winter tires to his 2010 Saab 9-5 Aero.

Maaaaaagnificent.

Greg Saab 9-5 Winter Wheels

Greg Saab 9-5 Winter Wheels

Saab’s Winter Driving Tips

It’s only October, but people are already talking about winter tires and as you can see from the photo below, the weather around Trollhattan has started getting treacherous already.

Crashed Saab in Trollhattan

I’ve pubished these tips from Saab a few times over the years. It might be that a few could be updated (“I” for iPhone now? 🙂 ) but they’re still all relevant and it’s good information to bear in mind as you prepare your car for winter.

Winter Driving – an A to Z Guide from Saab

For drivers and their vehicles alike, winter is the most testing time of the year. Difficult driving conditions greatly increase the risk of an accident and even routine journeys can become hazardous experiences.

Scandinavian winters are among the most severe in Europe and place extreme demands on the abilities of cars and their drivers to perform reliably and safely at all times. Saab Automobile of Sweden is used to designing and building cars for such conditions and here Chief Test Engineer Torbjörn Christensson gives a seasonal A to Z guide of simple “do’s” and “don’ts” that will be useful to all car drivers.

A
Anti-freeze is the engine’s first line of defence against sub-zero conditions. But how often do you check it? For it to remain effective, the recommended strength must be at least 50%. Topping up your coolant with water only, for example, will gradually dilute the mixture. To be sure of maximum protection, do ensure the anti-freeze is checked each year, regardless of mileage, as part of the car’s service.

B
Black ice. Whilst ice and snow are obvious hazards, black ice is an almost invisible threat, especially during the onset of freezing temperatures. Beware when driving round sheltered bends or corners which are shaded from the sun, because this is where black ice is most likely to catch out the unsuspecting. A tell-tale clue you are on black ice is when all goes quiet in the car and you cannot hear any tyre noise. Do not brake or make any sudden steering inputs but do ease off the accelerator and proceed slowly and smoothly.

C
Car batteries are put to a severe test in winter due to the extra demands of running heating fans and lights. Most are now maintenance-free but do have the voltage checked, especially if the car is repeatedly used for short journeys. Consider charging the battery overnight or try to plan a longer run occasionally.

Read moreSaab’s Winter Driving Tips

About winter tires and Saabs

Mad busy tonight. Sorry.

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The following came through from ‘Hipchecker’ – another regular here at SU. I don’t live in a climate that necessitates winter tires, so my knowledge on the subject is pretty limited.

Here’s the question. You northerners can sort it out. I’ll provide my third-party 2 cents worth after the question is posed.

My wife and I live in New England, and recently we moved, making our commute longer and to top it off our house is on a big hill. We moved in at the end of winter last year, and the performance tires on my wife’s 9-3 didn’t hold up too well (naturally). Our Subaru did better, but that has AWD.

I realize that AWD and winter tires don’t matter when driving on ice, but I’m wondering if there are certain ones I should look at for the 9-3. For starters, should I get all-season for all year round, or winter tires specifically for the winter? And second, what brands of tires should I look that won’t break the bank?

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My two cents…..

We talked a bit about tires at the “In Control” driver education day that Eggs and I participated in, last month in Boston (writeup still to come).

The opinion expressed by the instructor I talked to about this subject would point to getting winter tires. All-seasons are basically made to be semi-useful in all conditions, meaning they’re mediocre all year round. Not essentially useful for getting water out in dry weather, and not particularly grippy on the cold stuff.

That’s my contribution. You guys actually have experience in these matters, however, so please leave your thoughts and suggestions as to what’s a good brand to look at in comments.

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