Monday quick snippets

As I still have a full-time job that requires my attention occasionally, I’ll be out of the loop today and posting will be light.


It’s Monday here already, but when it’s gets to a reasonable hour on Monday in the northeast US, you should check out The Truth About Cars. There’ll be a little Saab editorial in there, written by yours truly, given the Farago treatment during the edit phase and then given the Swade treatment again.

They’re running their TWAT awards (Ten Worst Automobiles Today) again this year and the 9-7x has potential to figure in them – it was a winner last year – so I thought it best to try and get in a pre-emptive strike and tell a little of what Saab’s up to.

The editing process was quite interesting and I’ll write more about that later.


I don’t have any personal experience with VW Passats and there’s nothing on them in the comparative section of the site.

So maybe some of you can help out SG (no, not that SG), who wrote in with the following question:

I am contemplating buying a Saab 9-3. The other car I am considering is VW Passat. Unable to take a decision.Can you let me have your expericence about SAAB so that I can take a more rational decision. How is 9-3??

SG, assuming you’re talking about the 2008 model, I think it’s sensational and all of the info about that model can be found by going through the MY2008 archives here.

I’m going to have to rely on others with regard to the Passat though.

I know our Saab dealer here in Tassie lost a number of sales to the Passat in early 06 and early 07. Saab didn’t have a diesel then and of course, there was no 2008 model 9-3 to choose from.

The Passat looks pretty conservative, but is apparently well-equipped, as is the Saab. I don’t know about ride or build quality.

So anyone with the appropriate experience, please give SG a hand in comments.

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  1. Does the Passat have a turbo? No? Ok, goodbye Passat.

    The build quality, materials, and resale will be better in the Passat though. But hey, what are you buying the car for? Enjoyment of driving? Well no match. Saab looks better, sexier, is safer, and turbo charged. Fun fun fun!

  2. Sorry to burst your bubble Richo, the Passat comes in 2.0 turbo petrol and turbo diesel variants at the base level and both are BSR friendly. Onlt the 3.2 is non-turbo. Clarkson’s review of the Passat is hilarious and very neagtive, find it and read it. Basically a bland-mobile, try German Camry.

  3. I drive a 2003 Passat 1.8t and have driven the new Passat in both diesel and the 2.0 FSI (150 hp non turbo) The diesel would be my choice out of those to engines, the lack of turbo in the 150 hp engine makes it uninteresting for me. regarding interior quality and materials the Passat is well ahead. If Saab was that good then they would maybe be taken more seriously in the “premium pack”. Outside looks the Saab wins hands down, I’m only considering the sportcombi vs the Passat wagon here. Driving, I have a fun weekend car so what I’m looking for is a pure daily driver that gets me from A to B in comfort, safety and with a good mpg. Comfort is won by the Passat, Safety by the Saab and I havn’t driven either of them enough to get a good comparison on their mpg figures but considering the germans longer diesel history I think they have the edge in that department but the 9-3 shouldn’t be far behind.

  4. Hi!
    Last week I drove 2 Passats . One was petrol and the other a diesel.

    Petrol (450 km non-stop). In traffic for the first time: 07/07. 12000 km on the meter.

    The car feels pretty solid, but somewhat a bit low. Some plastic thing hit the tarmac at 2 occasions. No damage done!
    The seating gives good support, even better than the -06 model. But after 2 hours of drive the seating is starting to get to me. They are way to hard for my bony a**. The engine was a 2.0 FSI. Nice and quit, but I tell you this: It’s not a racer! The sound insulation was pretty good, but the sound from the brand new winter tyres was a bit high.
    I do not like the blue instruments, it takes time to focus on it, it isn’t possibly to turn them of and you look like a movie star…you now when every faces in a car driven in darkness is shining more than the light are? This happens only in the Hollywood area…
    At the arrival I felt like 90 YO…Pretty stiff

    Diesel (450 km non-stop + 2 x 180 km)
    This is exactly the same car, but damn what a pleasant engine! I had a speed of 110-130 km/h mostly the whole time. At the gas station the pump stopped at 45 litres. But the same as above applies to this car.

    After this 2 day experience, my own all leather SAAB seating was a relief for my back and bum…

  5. I have never driven one, but have also heard here in Sweden about problems with reliability. But that has been true for some years now with VW/Audi. Some of it could probably be contributed to the criticism of the dealership network in Sweden with high prices and bad service.

    IMHO, the design is horrible, “We wanna look like an Audi but we are not allowed to so we change some things in random.”

  6. I looked at a lot of cars when buying my 07. It came down to a 318 or the Saab. I had a long look at the Passat but the looks really put me off. The drive is good but bland, as is the image. Equipment levels are mean across the board, to get a tdi sport up to the level of my car I was spending big money on options thus needing a specific build and no discount. The Vector Sport is well specced out of the box so you can haggle on a car in stock.

  7. When we bought out 9-3, we did a good testdrive on Passat Variant (wagon that is). It´s very good car, solid and ROOMY compared to 9-3.

    I suggest one to make a test drive, a real back to back comparison. Then make a decision.

    Only things I thought would make Passat a better choise were, more room: rear seats and trunk. DSG is the other one. DSG with TDI diesel engine (noisy as it can be!) was very comfotable and fuel efficient package. And of course, 4wd option.

    Other than those, Saab suited better for us. More comfortable, better lights, seats, styling, engine, price with options included and so on.
    So much comfortable is what I´d point out.

    So, go for a drive. Drive through same roads, test brakes, hard cornering acceleration on corners etc. Then see if you need someone else to tell what to think about these cars 🙂

  8. The Passat is in the large family saloon sector, where as the 9-3 is in the small executive sector. the Passat is a good car, it is larger than the 9-3 and you will get more toys for your money and it is a great form of A to B transport, but it does not have the smile factor that the 9-3 has. Go drive a Passat and a 9-3 and see which one “Moves Your Mind”

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