Road test snippets

The most important entries of the week are Jay Spenchian’s “State of Saab” address and “The Trollhattan Response”. If you haven’t read them yet, then click on the links or just scroll down below.

In the meantime, there’s 3 new reviews to ponder, and a fourth from Car and Driver that I’m downright filthy over, but I’ll get to that over the weekend….

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First up, Auto 123 in Canada doa preview of the 2006 9-2x. Sadly, my home away from home won’t get the Aero model in 2006, although that doesn’t stop Auto123 from including it in the review.

The focus is on the new ‘value pricing’ scheme, and the fact that whilst the price won’t change a whole lot, the bang for your buck increases.

Now entering its second year of production, Saab’s only all-wheel drive wagon will receive a price reduction despite a powerplant update, improving the car’s already high performance for the dollar value…….in order to be more competitive Saab has dropped the price of entry from $28,950 plus $1,130 freight and pre-delivery inspection for a 2005 Linear to $25,900 including freight and pdi for the 2006 model. That’s a savings of $4,180 over last year’s car, which should be good enough to warrant some traffic in Saab’s Canadian showrooms.

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About.Cars has a road test of the 9-3 Sport Sedan. 5 stars, rave, rave, rave. You know the drill.

The 9-3 is perhaps the most enjoyable four-door I’ve driven this year. It’s quick and manoeuvrable with seats that are both exceptionally comfortable and very supportive. You can spend a whole lot of time in any of these seats without stiffening up. The 9-3 is not inexpensive, but for your money you get a car whose unique appearance sets it apart from not only the BMW 3-Series itself but also from BMW wannabes. In addition, you’re getting a vehicle that’s extraordinarily well equipped with safety features, including headlight washers and General Motors’ OnStar system. The styling of this latest 9-3 is evolutionary rather than a complete break with the Saab’s storied past. Although you’ll know it’s a Saab as soon as you see it, compared with the styling of earlier Saabs it has managed to avoid looking, well…weird. Summing up: the 9-3 is a reasonably priced, exceptionally comfortable Euro-style sports sedan for youngish premium car buyers who love to drive but who emphatically do not want to see mirror-images of themselves at every stoplight.

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There has been PLENTY of comments coming in about diesel engines. I had to grin when reading the comments on Jay’s post at Fastlane when I saw some Trollhattan regulars (BuffaloPundit, Ryan and Eduard) sharing their thoughts, but my widest smile was reserved for Fred, the diesel apostle.

If you haven’t read Fred’s story, then start here. In short, he’s a “money where your mouth is” guy, who personally imported his own 9-3 TiD from Sweden, jumping every government hurdle along the way.

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Speaking of Diesel Saabs, the Galway Independant has a review of the 1.9 litre 9-3 TiD.

The car drives impressively well and from my driving experience, was never short on power. The six speed gearbox is not over pretentious in the car; you will use that sixth gear on longer journeys as the car cruises smoothly.

For me and for many traditional Saab petrol car drivers, the new car makes an interesting comparison with the similar priced 1.8 litre turbo-petrol model. Both cars produce similar raw engine power and almost identical acceleration performance.

There is one vital difference and that’s called economy. The diesel powered car is 37% more economical on long runs and almost 50% more economical on shorter city drives than its 1.8 litre petrol equivalent.

Go check em out……

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