Another 9-3 V6 review

The motoring section of the Fairfax press here in Australia, Drive, has published a review of the 9-3 Aero V6. I think the journo’s been a bit harsh on his assessment of the chassis, claiming wheelspin in cornering and steering that’s too light. Maybe I need to drive a little more of the competition, but I thought the car handled exceedingly well on my jaunt through the twisties here in Hobart.

Being an Aussie though, there’s no shortage of praise for that Melbourne-assembled engine:

Quietly – it is Swedish after all – it clears itself of a little initial turbo lag to deliver a really strong urge from 1500 rpm, revving cleanly and vibration-free up past the 6300 rpm redline.

This engine can cope with the jabs and bursts required in the city and suburbs as confidently as it blurs the straight of a country road. This is V8 performance delivered at V6 fuel-consumption rates.

The good thing about this review: it doesn’t re-hash a bunch of irrelevant GM relationships to describe the car. It’s focused, which is a nice change. The bad thing: well, I’m biased, so his criticisms of the car’s handling and especially the interior just don’t ring true to me based on my time behind the wheel.

Are there things that could be improved on the 9-3? Aren’t there always?

Is it a fine, sporting drive nonetheless? Absolutely. I think the writer and I end up at the same point, I’m just not sure I like the way he got there.

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7 Comments

  1. A bit better article but still with the venomous and inaccuracies like the other reviews. It seems that most local journos went to the same school or are simply so bias towards BMW. Surely, there are a few Jap options that are cheaper and faster than the new 9-3 but these journos are also missing to highlight the rough rides and how noisy these Jap cars are. Let alone the cheap, outdated and nasty look and feel of their interior. If the 9-3 Aero is going to be compared with the closest equivalent BMW it has to be a 330 to make the cut, not the 325. This fact won’t be written at all !!!

  2. Speaking of reviews, it seems that Saab has a very good web site design according to this study:

    http://www.computerworld.com/developmenttopics/websitemgmt/story/0,10801,108495,00.html

    “Cadillac, Lexus and Saab topped the Keynote Customer Experience Rankings”
    ” Saab had the greatest increase in brand perception after buyers visited its site, the study said. The number of prospective customers who had a positive perception of Saab increased by 32% after exposure to the site.”

    Also a very positive review of the convertible, both V6 and diesel:

    http://www.carkeys.co.uk/launches/saab/8322.asp

    “Next day, on a particularly twisty Alpine road, the diesel showed it could compete, it’s huge torque powering it up hill and proving a real boon when overtaking. Lots of flexibility, that superb six-speed auto gearbox with manual override by lever or steering wheel-mounted switches, strong but progressive braking and cosseting ride all adding up to a most desirable motor car, the bottom line being that, while the V6 could accelerate more strongly at high speeds, the diesel was never far behind.”

    And, some positive comments about the 9-5 for Australians here:

    http://autoweb.drive.com.au/cms/A_105893/newsarticle.html

  3. 2 of 3:
    Also a very positive review of the convertible, both V6 and diesel:

    http://www.carkeys.co.uk/launches/saab/8322.asp

    “Next day, on a particularly twisty Alpine road, the diesel showed it could compete, it’s huge torque powering it up hill and proving a real boon when overtaking. Lots of flexibility, that superb six-speed auto gearbox with manual override by lever or steering wheel-mounted switches, strong but progressive braking and cosseting ride all adding up to a most desirable motor car, the bottom line being that, while the V6 could accelerate more strongly at high speeds, the diesel was never far behind.”

  4. Car reviews can be pretty worthless. Before we bought our 9-3 convertible last year, I read a U.S. mag comparing the Audi A4 1.8T and the Saab, and the reviewer clearly preferred the Audi for ride, handling and other reasons. We happen to have a local Audi/Saab dealer, so we went there, figuring that we’d likely go with the Audi. Well, my wife likes to push a car more than me, and you know what we wound up buying. We couldn’t believe that the review could be so wrong.

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