Saab SportCombi in the LA Times – The Qwan

That picture to the right is the front page of the LA Times motoring section, Highway 1.  And the picture in that picture to the right is a nice, big, prominent Saab 9-3 SportCombi – the subject of their main review.

Do they like it?

Is the Pope a Catholic?!

Writer Dan Neil entertains with a mixed bag of compliments, GM-labels and jibes.  He scores bonus points from me for managing to fit the Jerry McGuire-ism – "qwan" – into the story, too.

It’s a concern to me that there aren’t more of these selling in the US, where sales numbers look like they’re starting to steady out.  Neil doesn’t like the BFJ ad campaign, calling it "a rusty anchor" to Saab’s high-flying heritage. 

Is this a contributor? 

I know Saab USA are very happy with it.  I think it’s once again a problem of bums-on-seats.  If Saab can get more people to drive cars like the 9-3 SportCombi, then there’s a very good chance that they’ll sell more of them. 

If Dan Neil’s anything to go by, I’m sure they will.  The 9-3 SportCombi does indeed have plenty of qwan.  The versatility of a wagon with the handling of a sedan.  In Aero mode there could hardly be any argument IMHO.  The challenge ahead is to get people in the right market to drive the car.

Here’s how Dan Neil sums it up at the end:

Saabs remain an acquired taste — but I guess I’ve acquired it. True, the SportCombi doesn’t have available all-wheel drive like competitors Volvo V50 and Audi A4 Avant. Nor does it have rear-wheel drive like the BMW 330xi, so at the theoretical handling limits the car suffers by comparison. But in the real world, few cars under $40,000 are so lovable, likable, practical and cool.

If I were in an argumentative mood, I’d say that the Audi, Volvo and Bimmer don’t have the qwan, but right at this point I can handle it.

Thanks to 1985Gripen for the photo.

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  1. Guess it begs the ??..who the H needs AWD in SCal.., and OK RWD is…so last last century? Wouldnt ya rather have a diesel? Swade, I think you could buy one in Singapore…
    I think I just bought a 03 93 petrol for cheap on ebay…I guess Ill see what all the hooplas about.

  2. Finally! I’ve been waiting for the Dan Neil review since the 9-3SC came out. Dan is the world’s best automotive writer (he has a Pulitzer) and he has mentioned Saabs favorably in the past. He used to write for my local paper before the Southern Baptists ran him out of town on a rail for dressing in drag to drive a VW Cabriolet and writing about an amorous encounter in a car he was reviewing. Thanks for the link and thanks Dan!

  3. I don’t think he objects to the BFJ campaign as a whole, just the commercial (“Transformer”) where a 9-7X transforms into a SAAB Gripen fighter. At least that’s how I took it.

    Note that he called the system “ReAxe”, rather than “ReAxs”. I’m sure it was just a typo.

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