This in via email, from Robert S:
After reading “Another April Sale…” I just thought I’d let you know that you have another 9-2x driver who frequents the site. Now that ‘Nevitz’ has made the enviable leap to the 9-3SC, in fact, maybe I’m the only one.
Not so. Another 9-2x owner popped up in comments to that post and there’s possibly a few more reading silently right now.
I know how you feel about the 9-2x, and whilst I am inclined to agree with you, I have a case to make for it, at least in my circumstance. Basically, I can’t afford a REAL new Saab, but Saab is all my wife and I want to drive (she used to be a Honda girl before I converted her).
We wanted the reliability of a new car (too many bad experiences with used cars), and the 9-2x was our way of getting our foot in the door with a Saab. To me it’s basically a starter Saab to hold us over until the instant we can take delivery of a brand new 9-3 in Trollhattan with the European Delivery program one day (probably far away). Deep down every time I start the car I wish the ignition was between the seats and the dash wrapped around me, but that will have to wait.
The car looks beautiful on the outside (as you pointed out yourself), and the suspension and handling has been given a “Swedish massage.” In it’s defense, it’s actually a really good car, reliable, safe, fun to drive, and was dirt cheap. No, it’s not a genuine Saab, but it lets us say right now that we are at least, to borrow Nevitz’ term, a pseudo Saab family. And one day, like Nevitz, we, too, will join your ranks.
(Plus, there’s a beautiful 1991 gray 900 turbo convertible parked down the street from my house that I covet every time I leave the house. I’ve promised myself one day I will buy it off them. One day our Saab collection will make the 9-2x a fond memory of how desperately we wanted to drive a Saab. Plus, it will be sort of a unique piece of the collection itself).
Welcome Robert and ex-Honda girl!
The 9-2x was a very interesting experiment and I’d say the jury’s still out as to it’s success (or lack thereof). On the plus side, there’s people like Robert who have found a way to get into a Saab earlier than they otherwise expected. Some of these would have knowledge about Saabs beforehand and a bunch wouldn’t.
One thing’s for sure, the reliability and fun of the WRX base isn’t going to be the thing to hurt Saab’s reputation at all. These 9-2x buyers all seem to enjoy their cars a great deal, which is a positive for the brand. Some of them will go for another Saab after their 9-2x experience and that’s a good thing.
The side-effects of the experiement?
Well, some will chase after a Subaru as their replacement car, for starters.
Secondly, there’s the battering that Saab took in the press for this car. On many automotive forums they’re still mocked as the company that did the Saaburu and the Trollblazer, in spite of how good these cars might be.
But stories like Robert’s are heartening. The 9-2x has opened a gate for Saab ownership that would have been closed to some. If there’s one thing that we can glean from this story, it’s that a Saab 9-1 base level model can’t come soon enough. Such a car would allow young families like Robert and Mrs Robert to get into a Saab without losing some of the future sales to another brand.
Thanks for the email, Robert. You, your wife and your car would be more than welcome at any Saab function I ever put together.