Here a call for help and shared experience in the comments section to the “Saab and the USA” post I did the other day. I believe the comment will explain itself.
Since this column is about “Saab and the USA” and that’s where I live, I thought my thinking about buying a Saab might be appropriate. I’m going to buy a new car this year and have the choice narrowed down to either a 2008 Saab 9-3 Aero or a 2008 CTS.
I’ve owned Cadillacs but never a Saab (I try to buy GM vehicles – my last non-GM was a 1997 BMW 3-series). I want a four-door sport sedan with good handling, automatic transmission, 0-60 of 7 seconds or better, with a decent sized back seat and trunk, and luxury features. Specifically, heated leather seats with memory, good stereo with an auxiliary audio input, rainsense wipers, Onstar, fold-down rear seat, universal home remote and rear parking assist.
In an earlier post someone mentioned a Malibu instead of a Saab. The problem is, the Malibu, Saturn Aura, Pontiac G6 and Buick LaCrosse can’t be ordered with all these items. That narrows it down to the 9-3, 9-5 or the CTS. Although I like the size of the 9-5, buying a $40,000 car with a four cylinder engine isn’t what most Americans want, even though 260HP and 258 lb-ft of torque is nice.
Also, I think the interior of the 9-3 is nicer, but not as nice as the new CTS. I lean more toward having rear-wheel drive instead of front-wheel drive because having better weight distribution and having the front wheels only doing the steering make the car handle better. From what I’ve read, the 9-3 ReAxs helps a lot. I haven’t driven one yet, because I want to drive the new CTS and 9-3 back-to-back for comparison.
I’m hoping Saab won’t wait to long to offer the AWD and the “Black Turbo” 280hp motor (same as Opel Vectra OPC motor?). Having AWD would eliminate the FWD, RWD issue. I also wonder about the resale or trade-in value of the Saab given it’s less popular in the U.S. versus the CTS.
Although the 9-3 has slightly less interior room than the CTS (rear leg room and shoulder room), I’m surprised the 9-3 has the larger trunk (15 cu.ft. versus 12.5).
Two other reasons I’m thinking about the 9-3: One, equipped the same, it should be about $5000 less than the CTS, and two, I might take a vacation in Sweden to pick it up and let Saab pay my airfare.
I’d love to hear from 9-3 owners who may have looked at the same comparison, and why they bought the Saab.
I’m sure there’s bound to be someone reading this that’s contemplated and purchased a 9-3 for similar reasons that Scott is mulling over right now.
Any constructive advice would be welcome. Of course, as none of us have driven the XWD 9-3 yet it’s going to be hard to say anything about the XWD system with any authority, but nevertheless…..
And Scott, you should be able to at lease see some official images of the new 9-3 early next week – at the latest.