Wednesday Snippets

Time Magazine have named the Aero-X as one of the best inventions of 2007.

Who says you need to be accurate to be big?

I guess there’s no such thing as bad publicity, especially in a publication as big as Time.

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Gripen is keeping an eye on the price of crude oil, with his tip being that it could well cross over $100 mark this week. No doubt a combination of demand and the declining US dollar.

One question of his that I neglected to ask Steve Shannon last night was whether Saab would consider bringing the 1.8t engine that’s used in other markets to the US. If fuel prices are going to creep back up again, which they’ve already started doing, then the 1.8t could be a great fuel economy advertisement.

I’m having trouble accessing the stats online, but if memory serves me correctly, the engine produces about 150hp (110kW) but gets north of 35mpg or thereabouts whilst doing so.

Perhaps the next engine up, the 175hp 2.0t (with a small ‘t’) might be the option to go for in the US? Either way, I’ll fire off a supplementary question about the possibility of a smaller engine being added.

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If you’re worried that an extra engine might confuse US consumers, then spare a thought for we Aussies.

The 9-3 range has three body styles and we have three different forms (Linear, Vector and Aero) plus FIVE different engines – 2.0t, 2.0T, 2.8T, TiD and 2.0 BioPower.

With the various combinations they offer, that makes for a 48-model range for the 9-3 here in Oz. And that’s before TTiD and XWD come next year.

Ay Carumba!

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Wherever you are, make sure you get out and go for a drive today. Just enjoy it.

I get so messed up with sourcing, writing and maintaining the site that sometimes I lose sight of the fact that it’s here to serve the love of driving Saabs.

I’m currently reviewing the URLs of the site (again) using a backup copy of the old site to compare every entry from the old system to the new. It’s proving to be time consuming but worthwhile as I’ve discovered an error rate in the URLs of around 15% so far.

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12 Comments

  1. Thanks for the “shout-out” Swade. Actually to be accurate according to the Saab International website when you convert the liters-per-100-kilometers fuel consumption metric they use to miles-per-U.S.-gallon the 1.9t 9-3 sedan equipped with the manual 5-speed transmission gets 41 mpg (highway)! That’s really exceptional fuel economy. You are correct in that it generates 150 horsepower, but more importantly it peaks at 240 Nm (177 lb-ft) of torque.

    Saab are in a good position to take advantage of a sudden spike in gasoline prices in the U.S. (just as they did with the introduction of the 99 Turbo during one of the oil crises of the 70s). They can maybe convince some small SUV owners (that would be “owners of small SUVs”, not “small owners of SUVs”) to trade-in for a Saab combi when their lease is up. Just tell them how much money in fuel they’ll be saving.

    Also, they’re replacing their thirstiest model (the 9-7X) with an assumedly more fuel-efficient “crossover” next year presumably.

    Why do I look at this as a good thing? Two reasons: 1. this can only mean good things for the environment as the price of gasoline makes people either use less of it or look at alternatives to petroleum-based fuels and 2. Saab can use this to their advantage.

  2. Ted, perhaps the Time editors have some super-duper insider info? Here’s hoping! πŸ˜€

    Grip, Saab will probably introduce a “proper” full-sizd SUV around 2011, perhaps German-built. You need a real SUV to be competitive in the premium segment, just look at all the different models BMW and Audi are introducing in the next couple of years. What sucks here is that Saab will likely be late-to-market, again.

  3. I don’t think there is a place for a 150hp Saab in the US, for the same reason BMW doesn’t sell any 4 cylinder vehicles in the US. With an upgrade in price we expect an upgrade in power, and 150hp/177 lb-ft is not competitive with a lot of cheaper cars. A new Honda Accord will give you 177hp/161 lb-ft for $20k. Even with more expensive oil prices, gasoline is still not cheap enough for people to pay more money for less power. The 2.0T is really the smallest engine possible for the US market. In fact, I think you could make a good argument for Saab to sell nothing smaller than the 2.8T in the US (except for maybe a diesel of course. πŸ™‚ )

  4. “Wherever you are, make sure you get out and go for a drive today. Just enjoy it.”

    Yeah. The first stupid snow fell here in south part of Sweden this morning. Boooring!

  5. James – *I* drive a 150hp Saab πŸ™

    …sure, mine is over a decade old, but still :p

    I don’t see why Saab can’t offer the smaller engines as options…sure, they won’t sell like hotcakes, but people will probably be more open to them if gas prices keep rising. If ethanol doesn’t become more widely available, and diesels aren’t economically viable, smaller engines are going to be needed. 150 may not be a very impressive number of horses, but I know from experience that it’s enough to have fun with (and I can imagine that the turbo would make it a lot more fun).

    You show me a Prius or Camry Hybrid that’s more fun to drive than the 1.8t and I’ll show you a kid who’s run out of things to say.

    By the way, I’m 20 today. Hooray.

  6. As the specs show, the major difference between the 1.8t and the 2.0T is the boost pressure.
    I personally think that the mileage differences come from fewer options (lower weight) and thinner tires (less friction). The different gearing will have an effect as well.

    BTW, you can’t do a simple conversion between EU l/100km and EPA MPG. The EPA has one way of measuring mileage, and the EU has a different way (and Japan has a third way, and Canada has a fourth way, etc…).
    Just because a car does 41 mpg in Europe doesn’t mean that it would score the same in the US. It would quite likely barely break 30 mpg.

  7. Bernard,

    The 1.8t and 2.0t are the ones differentiated by boost pressure. The 2.0T which is the base engine in the US has a larger turbo, some different internals and mapping. The 2.0t which is now the base engine in Australia rates very well with our local Green Vehicle Guide. In fact they rate the 9-3 2.0t Sportcombi manual as the best “large” car. A bit like how the EPA in the US used to classify the 9000 as a “large” car.

  8. my 150hp is embarrassing. i can’t wait to upgrade to something remotely competitive. it’s getting so bad that i don’t think i can wait for the next-gen 9-3 (or, like steve shannon put it, when the “…good stuff…” comes down the pike, …or words to that effect).

    i would agree that if saab were to go back to the 150 level, it’d need to offer more content in other areas to justify a price of more than $20k, or maybe even only $18k (for that kind of performance).

    the auto consumer has grown accustomed to “more for less,” not, “less for more.”

  9. Jeff–for what it’s worth, I used to drive a 1996 900 Convertible S automatic. So I’ve been through 150hp. The bump to my 2002 9-5 Arc’s 205hp is nice. πŸ™‚

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