Jon C provides out latest look at driving a Saab vs driving….some thing else. But there’ more to it than that.
Jon actually started the whole idea for this “I drove a XXX and here’s why I’d still buy a Saab” thing. He emailed me a little while ago with a little bit of his story and the thought that it’d be good to hear more from the people that live with Saabs day in and day out – and love it.
So here’s his tale, about getting out of his Jag and looking for a replacement. For a while there he was swimming with the tide, but when he came up for air there was a 9-3 waiting for him – and he was surprised with what he saw.
6 months ago I decided to change my car. I had driven a Jaguar X Type for 2 years and sold it due to the crippling running costs (it was 3 years old when I bought it and Jag parts ain’t cheap). I decided to look at anything and everything – I wanted to get this right. I discounted the Jaguar (too expensive and my friends laughed, saying it was an old mans car), Mercedes (too old man), Audi (too boring), Volvo (can you guess?), Lexus (too cheesy), Alfa (too unreliable), Volkswagen and BMW. I did not look at SAAB. I mean they are crap these days, right? Just re-badged Vauxhalls. Unreliable too…
I should state here that I love driving and I love cars. All of them. When I was growing up I loved the 205 Gti and Golf Gti but I was never into supercars , I wanted a BMW or a SAAB. The last SAAB I truly desired was a 9-5 3.0 V6 TiD. When SAAB dropped the engine and face-lifted the car I could have cried.
In the end I narrowed it down to a Volkswagen Passat Sport or a 318i SE Touring. In the end I decided to go for the BMW.
As the SAAB dealer was located across the road from the BMW dealer I decided to look at the SAAB 9-3. I wanted to be sure it was as bad as the reviews said it was. I was surprised – it looked good with a well finished interior and I even like the chrome trim. The equipment level was brilliant (the part leather sport seats were going to cost me and extra £1000 on the 3 series). I even liked the dealership and the salesman. For the first time in a few years I saw the SAAB 9-3 as an actual competitor to the 3 series. I held off on buying the 318.
I, like many others, had been brainwashed by reviews of SAABs as average, third rate products. Before I went to the bother of a test drive I checked out old issues of CAR magazine and do you know what? They actually liked it. I saw some positive reviews in Top Gear in magazine. I started to feel confident. I took a test drive and I liked it. Ok the handling could be sharper (and now I have had it for 3 months, I now actually think the handling is spot on) but it had the SAAB values I had loved – smooth, comfortable, safe for my 2 year old daughter and built to overtake on A and B roads. Quite quickly…
Then I checked the web. Story after story on SAAB central and various buyers guides, of reliability issues and negativity towards the brand from long time SAAB fans. TS caught my eye and what I loved immediately was the passion here for the cars. Jaguar think they have a loyal following? They should look at this site and think again.
So, with Car, Top Gear and TS in mind (and against my better judgement), I took on board the fact that people who complain get the most coverage and did the deal. It was a big leap of faith. I “moved my mind” but prospective buyers have to look for positive press and how many will do that? The BMW gets loads of positive press and in a lot of cases deservedly so – but SAABs are a lot better than reviewers often admit to.
This is why I mailed Swade. A few reviews from SAAB drivers on the things that matter and some reports of things that went well would have been great. I think sometimes we can get caught up in the negatives and forget to talk about the positives – I am guessing there are more than a few satisfied SAAB drivers like me out there somewhere I just think we need to say it more.
I want to thank Jon for sending me his story, and for starting something new at this site.
If you’ve recently driven another marque and had some renewed thoughts about your Saab, then feel free to email me and let us all know about it.