Aust 9-3 SportCombi test

I saw a 9-3 SportCombi parked in a neighborhood not far from ours a few days ago. It was black, looked pretty nice to say the least. The really curious thing about it was that it sported a 2.0t badge on the tailgate.

Here in Australia, 2006 SportCombis were available as a Linear with a 1.8t badge (and a 110kW, 1998cc motor) or as a V6 Aero. In contrast, the 2007 SportCombis (and all the Linear 9-3’s) get the 2.0t badge, which means a beefier 129kW engine as the base model. Looks like somebody here in Hobart is one of the first in Tassie to enjoy the increased power.

Just another reason why people buy the Audi for the badge only.

This recently published road test from Australian motoring publishers Nextcar.com is dealing with the outgoing 2006 model. Despite having the smaller engine only, they found the 240Nm enough to pull the car, even with 5 adults and a full luggage load! I’m sure the extra killers and torks would have created an even greater impression.

I’m not a huge Chili Red fan, but this one does look the goods in this setting.

chilired9-3SC.jpg

The 1,988 cc engine produces 110 kW of power at 5,500 rpm and provides 240 Nm of torque at 2,000 rpm. This means that performance is adequate, rather than outstanding. But, the performance did not disintegrate to the stage of disappointment. However, during our test we did fully load the 9-3 with 5 adults and we filled the luggage compartment with luggage for two folks who have not yet learned that travelling light is a concept well worthy of consideration! The performance, when the car was fully loaded was still enjoyable. The 240 Nm of torque meant tackling hills with 5 adults on board was well within the capacity of the 2-litre engine.

Saab’s in a difficult spot in the media – here in Australia and elsewhere around the world. It might have something to do with that Net Promoters theory that I mentioned yesterday – a lack of positively-experienced-clients willing to act as promoters for the brand. There’s very little in this report that our reviewer finds to complain about, yet he still sees people going to other brands instead.

There’s no doubt that on paper and on the road, the 9-3 SportCombi puts up a very compelling case. Especially now with the 154kW Vector model in the Australian lineup. Have a look again at the comparo I did for the 9-3SC Vector against the Audi and BMW competition. It knocks their socks off!!

The sooner this starts getting some unqualified, unreserved and enthusiastic promotion from the automotive press, the better.

I will own one of these some day. In the next five years – book it.

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