9-3 Sport Combi goes Skiing

Saabs have been regarded as great snow vehicles for a long time now.  The ability to cope with snow and ice was always one of the inherent requirements when Saab designed their cars, initially for the Swedish market and then for the world. 

Here’s a great read from SKI Magazine, reviewing the 9-3 Sport Combi.  A lot of recent buyers in Northern Europe and the NE United States would be testing out the snow and ice capabilities of this car right now, I’d guess.

A few excerpts:

The SportCombi—built on the 9-3’s frame but in a hatchback/wagon version—is like a good foreign film that makes you wonder why Americans don’t make stuff just like it. It’s an ideal daily driver, ski vehicle and Home Depot picker-upper. A car that hauls, in every sense of the word…..

….The SportCombi manages to be a driver’s car without sacrificing any of its well-balanced usability. In fact, it’s just that usability I most liked. With a tailgate that opens extra wide, optional roof racks and a 60/40 ski-hatch pass-through in the back seat, it’s a natural for hauling skis, kayaks or bikes. Even the front passenger seat can be folded down for extra cargo. The Swedes like their outdoors, and it shows in their cars…..

….If cues like the available 18-inch wheels and integrated mini-spoiler lend the impression of speed, it’s no mistake. The Aero version comes with an all-new engine—a 2.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 used on other 9-3s as well. With 250 horsepower and 258 foot-pounds of torque, this ain’t your dad’s 1970s faux wood–sided wagon.

It’s pretty much this type of lifestyler that Saab have in their sights with the 9-3 SportCombi.  Good to see it’s been well received.  The only criticism in the whole article regards the 6-speed manual gearbox (and having just driven my nephew’s 6spd Commodore Ute on the weekend, I can sympathise a little) though the writer does sing the praises of the 6spd auto.  A good thing as it’s likely to be the more common setup.

A recommended and quick read: SKI Magazine on the Saab 9-3SC.

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  1. “a 2.8-liter twin-turbo V-6 used on other 9-3s as well. With 250 horsepower and 258 foot-pounds of torque,”

    Hmmmmmm. I don’t think it’s twin turbo… 🙂

  2. Living in the Northeast U.S., I’ve driven many cars in snow and ice over the years. I can attest that the 9-3 Sportcombi is the best bad weather handling front wheel drive car I’ve driven. It is much better than our Nissan Maxima despite the fact that the two cars have exactly the same size tires, same transmission (5spd), and weigh about the same.

    Living in New Jersey now, I just use the all-season tires all year. If we lived a little farther north or west, I would opt for snow tires in the winter. I can imagine that the 9-3 would be unstoppable with 4 good snow tires.

  3. I also didn’t particularly like the 6-speed manual, but the 5-speed manual paired with the 4-cyl turbo was as smooth as silk.

    Despite what the article says the EPA estimated fuel economy for the V6-turbo is 18/28 mpg, and from what I’ve heard, that’s a generous estimate.

    If I could have it my way, I’d get an Aero with the 4-cyl engine. 210 hp is plenty for my needs.

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