EVO can kiss my…..

EVO Magazine are running short of genuine things to write, so they’re making up lists.


They have their top 10 icons of the last 100 issues of the magazine and recently, they’ve also published their 10 worst vehicles tested.

At No. 6 – The Saab 9-3 Viggen.

‘Saab’s engineers reckoned a little torque-steer was no bad thing, that it allowed the driver to “feel the challenge of the power”. In the wet it would spin alternate front wheels so violently out of junctions and on uneven surfaces that it was possible to travel from one side of the road to the other without turning the wheel. The convertible married rampant torque- steer to a wobbly body and was probably the worst thing I’ve ever driven’

Peter Tomalin

Notably, Mr Tomalin isn’t asked to do any more of these reviews.

The 9-3 Viggen represents, without doubt, the best money I’ve ever spent on an automobile. If all you’re judging it on is it’s performance when you floor it on wet B roads then you deserve neither the chance to drive or it or the fortunate employment you currently enjoy.

I guess wet weather performance is important to an Englishman, but this is just BS manufactured to fill column inches. They were also going to include the Mazda MX-5, which gives you an idea of their competence. And if they’re reviewing the Toyota Corolla and the Daihatsu Copen under the banner of “the thrill of driving” then they really are kidding themselves.

The thrill of driving, my arse. If you can’t take a Viggen for a week and get some thrills and appreciation for the versatility of the car then you really are an idiot in dire need of a village.

And yes, I’m biased.


Thanks to James for this little heartache

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  1. Still, you can’t deny the complaint was valid. There’s torque steer, and wheelspin, and tramlining, and all sorts of other nasty stuff that really make it difficult to accelerate hard in lower gears. It’s bad enough in a straight line, much worse when you need to turn. And don’t get me started on the wobbly body of the convertible… I own one ;].

    All that said, you can still have plenty of fun with a car, especially if you do the basic mods, but you really wish some things could’ve been done better from the factory.

  2. I don’t agree that it’s a valid complaint, at least not the way they describe it. I’ve seen many good rwd cars, notably those with limited-slip differentials where, on wet roads, if you stayed on the power, you would soon be facing the direction from whence you originated. They don’t pick on that though, do they?
    I won’t argue about the wobbly body though–don’t drive convertibles.

  3. 1. It’s bullshit.
    Ok, there is a torque steer, it’s no question. And what? Steady grip on the steering wheel and some practice, that’s the key, then you will even enjoy it. 🙂
    Furthermore, Viggen have never been mentioned as a car for acceleration from one red light to the next. It’s main benefit is the incredible overtaking ability at higher speeds.
    2. I have droven my 9-3S and 9-3SE (both were upgraded to more powerful than a factory Viggen) without any problem for 2 years, even their suspension is not so stiff than Viggen’s, so the torque steer was even higher.
    3. The torque steer can be significantly reduced and handling improved by a USD 300 kit (steering rack brace and clamp+rear anti-roll bar)
    4. By good tyres. I have GoodYear HydraGrips and they are fantastic in rainy weather.
    5. My new Viggen is 250HP/350Nm (Nordic Stage1) and I can swear that it accelerate more smoothly than my 230 and 240LE previous 9-3s.

  4. Although I can understand your disrespect for that man’s perspective, I too have had trouble with poor wet driving in my 88 900 T. Most any time I can spin the brand new Nokian tires. And I can do it in several gears in the rain. That’s not too helpful in the snow either.

    So, I just take it easy and after learning the idiosynchrosies of the car, adjusted the way I drive. Basically, I’d tell that testy driver to learn to live with it.

  5. Why do writers complain about FWD torque. It is the same thing with RWD. My friend had a 02 BMW 325i that did the same thing from the rear. So is it only bad when the slide comes from the front.
    I pay no attention to the stupidity. I enjoy the torque it lets you know to respect the power. Who slams the gas on wet pavement? Don’t expect anything other than garbage from a garbage truck.

  6. Andy,
    I drive on quite steeply dipping roads every day, through forrest and inner city.
    We have average 120-130 wet days a year and 30 years with snow in this area
    I can tell you honestly I have never experienced big difficulties or discomfort driving my high torque Saabs on wet, slippery, snowy or frozen roads.
    I drive with care and use delicate movements to control the car, I have even never spinned or slid.
    The spinning of the wheels is normal for me in such conditions and means nothing that I couldn’t control.

  7. Andy, sorry, I mean: 30 snowy days a year. 🙂

    I agree. One of my friends sold his BMW Series7 recently because he couldn’t use it at wintertime at all.
    I have also experienced that on the slippery hill roads at winter I can drive up quite easly while Bimmers have no chance…

  8. My leg has been pulled incessantly by friends for the last few weeks following that article….I have had to remind them all of the times we have had to go in the Viggen because their cars can’t carry 4 people and luggage…and the times when their “sports” cars have become a small dot on the Viggen’s rear view mirror !

    In my view a bit of torque steer is but a bit of fun… a drivers car is for driving and you certainly need to “drive” the Viggen when pressing on.

    Nice photo in the Evo article though !

  9. Its never good to see your car in a worst 10 list – kind of like having your favourite pet run over, so I think Swade is entitled to vent a little.

    Two things

    1. The reason why journalists love RWD cars -its because you can use the power to slide the tail out. FWD cars can be twitchy under full power on poorly surfaced or wet roads. For pure handling RWD is nearly always better.

    Of course the problem with this view is that most of us never drive that way and on the limit. Some do, and in that case drive an RWD car if you wish. Driving a 320d and 9-3 Vector Sport back to back daily I can tell you that I feel a lot more confident on a twisty B road in the SAAB.

    2. I think Andys post sums up SAABs brilliance and its downfall in one go. You need to live with a SAAB and then adapt to it. A few days auto testing won’t do that. Maybe Swade can confirm but I will bet SAAB gets better reviews in long term tests.

  10. Along with the 9-5 wagon i drive a 1986 BMW 635 csi. A great drivers car. If i pull out of a junction in the rain and floor it the rear end will turn 180 degrees in the blink of an eye or will fishtail up the road wiping out everything left and right. Guess what? I don’t floor the throttle when i pull out of intersections in the rain, i drive to the conditions. Easy ain’t it?

  11. What a bunch of ….holes all these losers that are in to give Saab bad and unfounded press no matter what. This kind of rhetoric too is what is killing the brand among GM and quite frankly some of these jurnos should be put through the grillers to clearly substantiate their claims. If anyone out there does not have any enjoyment of driving the high end Saabs and acknowledge what they really offer, they need their heads rared since they have no credibility to judge what Saab is really like. Bunch of f……holes !!!!

  12. Here in the US the Viggen came with some pretty lousy tires but still, like someone said, who in their right mind drives like that in the wet? Like Swade, the Viggen has the been the best care I ever owned. If I raced the thing it might be a different story but why would anyone expect a car like that to be track care? Tools.

  13. Swade, to make you feel better here is something. Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear fame, in his “The 50 Worst Cars Ever” piece, placed Viggen Cabrio in 2nd place. This is what he had to say:

    “2 – Saab 9-3 Viggen Cabrio

    First made: 1999 Last made: 2002

    Like some untamed Norse beast, the 225bhp Viggen is likely to dislocate your shoulder in its eagerness to nail 258lb ft of torque to the tarmac through its front wheels. Add the kick in the back from the turbocharger and you’re slithering all the way to the osteopath’s. The suffering is compounded by near-solid suspension, sending ridiculous shakes and shudders into a body structure with the rigidity of a jellyfish.”

  14. Check out some of the other choices. They’re all stupid.

    He couldn’t figure out how to work the transmission, and the car got docked points.
    Seriously now, to dock points on a car because you’re to stupid and uncoordinated to figure out how to drive it? Stupid.

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