Thursday Snippets

Yesterday I saw a Volvo-loving comment stuck with Viagra and other assorted nasties in my Junk Comments folder.


Hate-mail from a Volvo S40 fan in my inbox!!

You obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

Well, I feel that I do, actually. And so does the guy that drove the car. That’s why he wrote what he wrote.

I have never driven a better car than a Volvo.

You’re probably young. There’s still time.

Maybe your dad beats the crap out of his and that’s why it sucks, but at least he probably has a warranty.

Actually, my Dad passed away over 20 years ago and in the fifteen years that we shared on this earth, he only drove Fords. Whilst Ford own Volvo nowadays, I don’t think that’s enough of a link for you to draw here. (UPDATE: It seems she (yes, she) was talking about Jeff’s Dad. Jeff did the offending review).

If anyone else has a Saab Vs Volvo review, please do send them in. It’s all in fun.

Volvo: Built to protect Volvo drivers from other Volvo drivers.


The man with the scary green briefcase, Saab GB chief Jonathon Nash, is poised to become the head of Hummer, Corvette and Cadillac as well.

GM made the same move here in Australia a little while ago, appointing the Saab Oz head honcho, Parveen Batish, as Grand Poobah of a new division called GM Premium.


From Inside Line:

If you’re like me and you also love Alfas, check out the effort that a tuning company called Lester has made with the Brera, which was delicious to begin with.



A little while ago, I had a little snark-attack at Saab Oz for offering an aftermarket navigation unit as part of it’s 60th Anniversary promotion here in Australia.

This article at Autoblog is making me have second thoughts.

How’s this – you pay a nearly ten percent premium to get a factory navigation system in your new whatever, and when it’s replacement time, that very same nav system will cost you again, whacking 1% off the car’s resale price….

It seems that some second-hand buyers are actually turning up their noses at first-generation nav units when they look for their cars.

The argument here is that inbuilt systems can date and with the evolution of technology they may even become obsolete, leaving you with a big nav-screen that’s somewhat useless and quite a detraction from your car’s supposed functionality. In addition, the aftermarket units are usually much cheaper than factory units.

My initial snark was based around an add-on being offered in a 60th Anniversary offering by Saab Oz and it seemed a little inauthentic for that purpose. I’m big enough and ugly enough to force a re-think in my own mind on this one, though, and perhaps some Nav-enthusiasts might consider the same when it comes to Saab’s offerings.

Is it better to have a more functional, portable unit that the owner can purchase at his/her own discretion based on need? Perhaps it is.


I was supposed to be driving a BMW 335i Convertible this afternoon, but my appointment has been bumped to Saturday as Tony had a hot prospect that wanted my time slot. Who am I to stand in the way of another BMW sale?


This is the twin-turbo BMW engine that they released last year, and just yesterday it won the coveted International Engine of the Year award.

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  1. Swade, I’m pretty sure that the Volvo guy was talking about MY dad, since I mentioned him in the piece (though it was my stepdad). Actually, the car is in PERFECT condition, it’s pretty much showroom worthy, so I don’t know what he’s thinking. I don’t know how anyone can run a car into the ground in 2 years when you only use it to drive to see mortgage clients, he kind of made a stupid assumption there. Really, I don’t think the S40 sucks, I just think it’s useless compared to my Saab.

  2. I think the S40 would be perfect IF..

    1.You didn’t need to junk the gearbox once something wears out.

    2. The interior wasn’t reminiscient of a doctors surgery.

    3. No rubber band (timing belt- have a thing against timing belts).

    4. Overpriced.

    Matt, you’re on target. This criteria should be included when evaluating engines.

  3. You know about the plans BMW had to buy Volvo from Ford, right?

    I say this because I think the only thing really lacking at Volvo is their engine choices. I like the cars themselves, I just hate driving them.

    Which is funny, because I have the exact opposite feeling about BMWs.

  4. i think a whole bunch of us Saabers would migrate the way of the Alfa should, heaven forbid, anything happen to our beloved Swede.

  5. Saab needs their own Brera. Stat. Give it the Aero/ Saab DNA look and interior. Make it the child of the Aero X. Smaller, more practical, BioPower optional… I’d be so in love.

  6. “The argument here is that inbuilt systems can date and with the evolution of technology they may even become obsolete,” … ditto for OnStar.

  7. Look, here is a guy who loves Saab so much, he wrote a book about their cars.

    But I also own a Volvo – as well as a Saab.

    BUT it is an old Volvo- one with charachter – not one of the new anodyne blandmobile SE GLX bling things.

    The new S40 et al are good but bland, and as I said in my Saab book, cars are cars, but a Saab is Saab.

    You know it makes sense.

    The new Volvos have become some kind of appliance- that’s why the look, smell,feel, and drive like fridges!

  8. On the S40 topic.

    I recently had the opportunity to drive an S40 (surprisingly enough I got one as a “full size” rental while on vacation.

    It was a nice little car. Much nicer than what I expected to be driving for a week (Pontiac Grand Prix, or similar).

    It was the U.S. base N/A 168hp 5 cyl model. The power was sufficient for regular driving, but the acceleration lacked something rather crucial. I’d imagine that the T5 version might solve this. The engine had an almost grinding roar while at high RPM’s though, which made it feel as if the car was struggling very hard all the time.

    What impressed me the most about this little car was the rigidity of the chassis. If only it had been matched by a better feeling steering, better suspension and sway bars.

    The interior was a bit Spartan, but being the base model that’s what you get. I didn’t quite like the exterior styling. The nose looks very stubby. (The S60 – however is a sight to behold)

    Essentially my experience with this Volvo was that driving it did not feel like driving a Volvo. In fact, it felt a lot like driving a Toyota Corolla.

    The seat was up high, just like in the Corolla. The acceleration was OK, but bland, just like a Corolla, the accelerator and brake pedals were very sensitive (just like in a Corolla) (I prefer very progressive accelerators and brakes)…

    This may sound a bit negative, but I really did like the car, I promise. It was no 9-3 though, and I was very happy when I got home and could drive my 9-5 Aero again.

  9. I gotta say, after reading every entry on this site and a lot of comments, it seems that Saab’s main business plan should be “Be the opposite of Toyota (except with reliability)”

  10. I honestly do not even see the S40 as competition. The S40 is based on the Focus platform so is actually a size smaller. Has anyone ever sat in one? It’s TINY in there compared to the 9-3.

    This makes the car over priced and a class below the 9-3, yet they price it in the same bracket as the 9-3? :-S

    The Focus chassis is a good one though, and the Volvo S40 does handle very well because of it, but the Volvo engineers have made the drive feel more disengaged than what it is in the Focus and the ride and handling are wallowy in comparison.

    So, they made a car that is not as fun to drive as the Focus, made it more expensive and made the steering feel like a remote control……hmmm….nice…….NOT!

    9-3 > S40 in soooooo many ways!

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