2006 SportCombi Test: Automobile.com

Justin Couture of Canada’s Automobile.com is in love. He says so.

Painted in its marquee color, a beautiful greenish blue metallic hue, with the aero bodykit and big wheels… I dont just like it; I think Im in love.

OK, he thinks he’s in love. And it’s early in the relationship. And the lady in question’s been hurt by other men.

So goes this very comprehensive review of the Saab 9-3 SportCombi over at Automobile.com. This is one of the good ones. A long read and a review where you can tell the journo has really spent some time with the car, got to know it on it’s own terms rather than just relying on the standard anecdotes that seem to accompany a lot of Saab road tests these days.

He can take a picture, too. It’s a pity they don’t enlarge as they’re quite nice.

Couture9-3SC.jpg

Justin likes:

* The looks. It’s a shallow relationship, I dare say. He’s not in it for richer or for poorer. I dare say he’ll trade her in the moment a nicer looking one comes along. The bastard!

* The way she focuses just on him. He’s so self-centered.

* Her “angled tailgate”……

OK, OK. Enough of the relationship anecdontes, already.

(warning: undergraduate potty-mouth humour ahead)

It was starting to get a bit too much like dangerous ground, especially with quotes like this…..”you can easily squeeze three full-size people into the back, without incessant moans and groans”. See what I mean?

So, Justin likes the look of the 9-3 SportCombi. And why not? It’s a beautiful looking machine. But what about the drive? It’s good, but it does show up a few of the quality issues that Saab will need to address over the lifecycle of this model if they really want to make more of an impression.

……troubling characteristics that raise the question of Saab cutting corners when assembling this particular car. Each of the forty six thousand different buttons wobbled about like a sprung jack in the box, and once, I grabbed one of the spars between the seat that looked like the handbrake, only to pull the plastic moulding right off. Born from jets? I dont want to think of what would happen if an aircraft was built with such low tolerances. Wiggly buttons are something I can live with, but floppy indicator stalks I cannot. Brittle in texture, wobbly in nature, even some of Chevys new cars feel better made.

Now, I don’t want to make this sound like a negative review, as it isn’t. Justin’s conclusions point towards buying this car with a manual transmission and having a ball. Heaps of midrange, beautiful looks and mucho practicality. He also mentions that this press car had been given the run around by quite a few journos recently and was a bit worse for wear because of it.

But the quality of the points of contact between car and driver have to be A1 in this class. I know they’ll be addressing it. I just hope they get around to it soon.

This is a good read. Comprehensive and pretty fair. Recommended.

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1 Comment

  1. I had a Chevy Malibu loaner with just over 900 miles on it and the build quality and sound isolation was MUCH better than my 2004 SAAB 9-3SS. The styling was very “trying to be Japanese” but the car rattled not at all and for a floater handled pretty well. I also hope that SAAB will address some of these issues as it’s a turn off to fans but it’s a show stopper for some newcomers to the brand who are cross-shopping Audis and BMW’s.

    I like the new logo! ;^)

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