Saab vs Volvo S80

The story continues….

I’ve asked visitors to this site to tell their stories driving cars other than Saabs, with a focus on cars that are competitors for Saab’s business. What was the car like and why would you come back to your Saab – with a smile.

Today’s instalment is from Andy T:

In 2001, I bought a ’99 Saab 9-3. I liked it a lot, despite the fact it was an entry-level model, missing some of the features I was hoping for. Still, I loved that hatchback and the acceleration. But the car was quirky, and I always thought it had been in an accident or two. Once it hit 50,000 miles and went out of warranty, weird stuff started happening, culminating in what I was told was a transmission that was about to go.

The mechanic told me how it would be to fix, so I panicked and traded it in for a ’99 Volvo S80 T-6 in 2003. I assumed that because it was “factory certified,” I would be protected against future Swedish oddities.

The car was way too big for me, but despite its size, it was fast. In fact, it didn’t feel speedy, but I regularly found myself looking at the spedometer, wondering how I had accelerated so quickly. It got mediocre mileage, but on a trip across America, it provided the most comfortable ride I’ve ever experienced. Nonetheless, I didn’t feel like a 30 year old guy in that car; I felt like a Swedish ambassador, and I had buyer’s remorse as soon as I drove off the lot.

The Volvo also had its share of Euro-weirdness, like a trip/mileage computer that was already breaking (the dealer couldn’t do anything about it). So in 2005, I found myself again longing for the Saab experience, and I traded in the S80 for a new Saab 9-3 Arc sedan.

This time I’m leasing, so I have the flexibilty to upgrade to the MY2008 if it’s worthy, and I must say, I really like the new 9-3. My only criticisms are how it handles in the Wisconsin winters … and I don’t care for all the buttons on the radio, nor the non-functioning steering wheel buttons (phone, etc.).

That said, I’m happy to be back in the Saab fold. And I expect to stay there for a while.

Thanks Andy and I’m sure we’re all glad you’re back in the Saab fold, too. And despite the reservations of others I’m pretty keen on the MY08 9-3 from what I’ve seen so far.

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