Carpoint have published their review of the 2008 Saab 9-3.
Our reviewer is Melissa McCormick and I was eagerly awaiting this one as I drove one of the stages of the Australian launch for this car with Melissa, in a TiD SportCombi.
If there’s one word to describe this review, it’s all-encompassing.
Is it still one word when it’s hyphenated? Doesn’t matter. For those Aussies wanting a comprehensive look at the Saab 9-3 range for Australia, this is a review you might want to take a closer look at.
Saab are a small brand in most markets around the world and that’s especially true here in Australia, where they’re working hard to crack just 2,000 sales this year. Consequently, there’s a fairly good overview of Saab’s current situation to give readers a bit of background. Just in case they thought Saab had fallen off the map completely. Here’s a taste:
Stakeholders identified three problem areas preventing the brand from turning out a profitable, premium product: heretofore its portfolio has been too narrow; historically the company has failed to utilise GM, in particular for the “back office”; and while orphaned it lost its unique design direction.
The new focus will be centred on the “desperate for renewal” 9-5 and “return to the original Saab design language” with an invigorated and expanded model range.
There’s a couple of minor errors in there, but in the context of who Carpoint are writing for, that’s not going to make one iota of difference.
Whilst we’re used to seeing motoring writers approach Saab with a cynical point of view, my first hand experience driving the car with the writer assured me that this isn’t the case here. She’s one of the few that didn’t seem to worship at the Teutonic altar and had a genuine appreciation for Saab’s differences.
The writeup progresses with pretty detailed looks at Price and Equipment, Mechanical changes and setups, Safety Equipment and a look at Saab’s competition. On that subject, it was interesting that Carpoint touted Saab’s competition as mostly the “fringe” European players in the Australian market, rather than the German mainstays.
After all that, there’s the drive.
Melissa drove all TiD vehicles – one stint in each of the Sedan, Combi and Convertible. I don’t know if that was planned (i.e. all-TiD) or not.
We all rotated through various vehicles, though not everyone got a big variety in their driving experience. For example, out of my 3 drives, 2 were in the same car: a 9-3 SportCombi TiD. My other drive was also in Sportcombi, a 2.0T. But I’m sure the “proper” journos got more variety in their schedule.
The TiD is a good performer, though she seemed disappointed with the torque on tap down low. Marks were also deducted for a dash made of materials that don’t do justice to the rest of the car – a knock that’s becoming a theme in these reviews. Take note, Saab!
I’ll let you click through and read the whole thing, but here’s her opening and closing paragraphs from the article, which I think set up her thoughts over all pretty well:
Restyled and refreshed, the 9-3 works hard to stay remembered.
Saab is finally off probation. Executives admit the company was slow to utilise resources available under GM’s governance but the hands-off approach no longer applies……
……Saab says we can now expect “bolder, more assertive” products and the 9-3’s mid-life makeover goes some way to helping at least the volume-seller’s cause. With new ‘green’ options and AWD-equipped models in the offing, premium shoppers might have more reason to remember the brand.
Thanks to Turbin and PT for the links and a few thoughts.