Poll: Which car should I buy?

You’ve seen the three contenders and you probably should have seen a poll coming at the end of this. The results of the poll won’t influence my decision, but it’ll be interesting to see the distribution of votes.

How many secret RS Megane fans are out there? How many will I offend if I don’t buy the Saab 9-3 Viggen? How many hopeless romantics want a classic Alfa Romeo GTV6 to find a good home?

The good part about this situation is that there’s no bad outcome. There may be preferable choices, but there’s no bad choice. I’d be very happy to have any one of these three vehicles in my garage.

Cast your vote below……

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[poll id=”2″]

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38 Comments

  1. Swade,

    As Spock would say the only logical choice is the Viggen for numerous reasons. That being said, How could you say no to a GTV6? Pure automotive sex. Get the Alfa if you can afford to keep it up. Otherwise, go for the Viggen. And just forget about that freaking ugly Renault. (Do you really want to be seen in that?)

  2. Afraid even this Viggen Vert owner would have to go with the Alfa if it were here in the States. I just like to drive something different – even though finding an Alfa mechanic or parts would be like finding a needle in a haystack. And Swade, a Renault against the other two and at that price? Come on really?

    1. Coggs, I know it’s hard for you US folks to accept a Renault as they haven’t been there for so long, but the RenaultSport vehicles are making big inroads for a reason.

      Check out Pete’s post, below this one. He’s a man of discerning tastes (and a bike rider, like yourself) and loved his time with this very car. My only concern would be the interior and whether I could live with it, given the new-ness of the car.

  3. Are you Bored? Do you like being covered with soot and oil? Do you like Tinkering breaking down tinkering. Does Modifying really mean making it run?

    Then Vote Alfa

    I joke, but really Viggen or Alfa, why have it so easy on your self with the newer renault!

  4. I’m certainly not Renault savvy, but I know enough about them to know that they’re not the Renault that left our country nearly 30 years ago. Carlos Ghosn is no dummy and one of the best ‘car guy’ executives of our time. Certainly, brands change and Renault is one that has.

    That said, I simply am not a fan of the whole genre that the RS Megane represents. It’s out.

    The Viggen, the home favorite and easy choice is also out. Why? Precisely because it’s the easy choice.

    The Alfa it is, and not only by elimination but also because it looks great, sounds great and has performance potential.

    1. You know I never managed to fall in love with Renault and Peugeot. I do not know why?!
      The only French brand I like is Citroen, starting with the mythical DS and CX maybe for their daring styling and innovative technology

  5. Swade, I’m shocking myself by actually voting for the Alfa.

    Actually thought of you tonight as I was driving home in my own Viggen (my 9-year-old son was begging me to lay into it a little – it’s hard to be the responsible dad sometimes!). I absolutely love that car. It’s still so beautiful to me at 11 years old, and always so much fun to drive.

    But you have certainly done the Saab thing for a long time , and while I’m sure you’ll be back, I’m thinking this might be a good time to take a different road for a few miles, if nothing else to give you a broader perspective for when you do come back to The Family : )

  6. My vote goes to the Alfa.

    While I myself would have gone for the Viggen you have already tasted that pie and life’s to short to own the same car twice.

    Renault, capable as it may be, I could never come to terms with the looks of the backend.

  7. A vote for the Alfa. The Viggen is the more logical choice but you can always buy one a few years later down the track. The Alfa on the other hand will only get more rare, more coveted and more expensive.

    Just to throw a cat amongst the pigeons, have you by chance considered a Merc 190E 2.6 Swade? The 4- (and 5-) cylinder models are pretty slow and unexciting, but the beefy 6-cylinder engine makes for a sweet highway cruiser and a few Sportline models got firmer suspension and go-fast body panels. Virtually all are 4-spd autos (any manual 190 is a UK import and best avoided, the Gertrag manuals are horrible) but are surprisingly capable.

  8. Alfa GTV!

    Nostalgic, classic, different and in its own way, it has class. Here in South Africa GTV’s are still maintained fairly easily. Good luck!
    (No, unfortunately I do not own one, but bought a new Alfetta sedan in 1977.)

  9. It depends entirely on the individual cars on offer and how you find them on inspection. Documented history, presentation and provenance may make the decision for you. Also, how much will you have to spend to get each car how you like it? I suspect not much on the Megane, more on the Viggen if it hasn’t already been ‘rescued’ but potentially heaps on the Alfa unless its been truly cosseted. The RS would be more attractive if it were in the body of the Clio.

    I have to admit I’m past owning ‘fussy’ cars (which I suspect is where the Alfa sits) and appreciate the reliability of the C900’s which are still so rewarding to own and drive. But I’m also not one for over done ambience of so many modern vehicles. So the Viggen gets my vote.

    1. Ian, the Alfa had a full (and quality) engine rebuild three years ago. Still has original paint, so no accidents. Good provenance, too (former Targa car back in the 1990s).

      Viggen is stock standard. Now rescue work done as yet. Looks like a very tidy proposition indeed and owner is a mechanic (non-Saab) who also has a 900.

      RS Meganes are only 5 years old, so no worries there.

  10. Eventhough Saab it is for me, I do recall the gorgeous burble of that Alfa V6. As a younger lad, I recall one of my father’s colleague’s driving the allmighty Alfa Sei, that huge saloon with that V6 and 6 carbs on top of it. A mechanic’s nightmare to set up but oh my word what a brilliant car. Temperamentful as an Italian should be. One would easily forgive its little quirks for the sheer pleasure of driving it. He then went on to something even more bonkers, a Lancia Thema 8.32, yup, the one with the Ferarri engine in it, which I did drive a few times.
    So, the Viggen would be a great car, the Megane to me, even if it is more modern and challenging, is a way too much of a boy racer’s car.

    No, my vote goes for the Alfa, as we discussed whilst you were in the Lowlands… Go and get one, enjoy it, windows halfway down, get it through a tunnel (if such an invention exists in Tazzie and enjoy the howl 😉

  11. Keep your cash and wait! When Saab is bought as a going concern have the confidence that the new owner will recognise the value of what you started with Inside Saab ie to be able to connect with potential buyers in a unique way Once rehired then you can use the money to fund a new Saab and support the new enterprise Simple!

  12. 🙂 Dear Swade,
    after you managed TS, SU and IS websites for so long and so many people follow you, if you put on a poll, it means you want that your readers push you toward the choice you already know it’s in your heart. 🙂

  13. I’ve just surprised myself. Really, stunningly surprised myself. I voted for the big-ass Renault…with a good breakdown insurance plan!

    It’s the car you will enjoy driving the most, when you want to DRIVE it. Whether it will be the best ownership experience remains to be seen…

  14. Slightly lateral suggestion here for you…
    Obviously the Alfa connection has you hooked, from a long time back. But the age of the V6 is an obvious issue. So how about a new gen Alfa….something that is great looking, goes, is practical and Italian to boot.
    Alfa 156 Sportwagon? Spec it up with nice factory wheels, chip it and enjoy blowing away the Falcodores on the way up to Launceston. Little wagons are so IN these days.
    Bugger…the V6 bug is starting to bite me now….in silver with the highline kit and Simmons V5s.

  15. I’m a practical kind of guy, I have a Saab, and I’ve owned wagons for the last 10 years or so (wife, kids, stuff…). The first car I really wanted (apart from the Countach / Testarossa / 911 Turbo phase back when my car collection was all 1:43 scale) was an Alfa GTV from the mid 90s. BUT, I also owned an averagely sporty Renault for several years, and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    I would say, as this is probably not about practicality, but fun, and it’s always good to go for the minority choice: GO FOR THE RENAULT!

  16. Although I’ve been a Saab-enthousiast for the last 10 years, I think the Viggen is the least attractive in this questionpoll.
    The Viggen just simply doesn’t have that specific appeal that the GTV has (for car-enthousiasts, others think it’s a bit odd thing), and hasn’t got the speed and handling the Megane has.

  17. One other consideration I meant to ask/mention: How long do you generally keep cars for/ intend to keep this one for? I think the Alfa or the Viggen would be more likely to give overall satisfaction as long-term prospects. I suspect you are favouring the Alfa should all things be equal. We shall all have to wait and see.
    Have fun and a safe trip and don’t forget your cover note with Shannons! Also pay attention to the weather reports for Victoria as driving to Melbourne may not be hazard free – floods, etc.

    PS. I did a similar thing with my 900 3 door in 2006: drove it back to Mildura from Sydney. Went very well but it was a long few days and a whole story for another time.

  18. I voted for the Renault (aka: “the devil you don’t know”). My main concern, if it was me buying it, is that it’s nowhere near the bottom of its depreciation curve. That means taking a loss if you don’t like it.

    The Viggen and Alfa may appreciate over the years, provided that you keep them fit and original.

    Keeping the Alfa original will mean lots of preventative rustproofing. If you know any GA pilots/mechanics, ask them where to find LPL products. They are used worldwide to prevent corrosion in small airplanes.

    Keeping the Viggen original will be hard for you; don’t try to “fix” stuff that makes the car special, or at least don’t do anything that’s irreversible (and make sure you keep the old parts for the next owner). A Viggen that’s been lowered, stiffened, “tuned,” isn’t really a Viggen anymore. You can add some braces, maybe get a (reversible) software update from Maptun, but don’t lower it and don’t drill new holes in the body.

    In the end, I’m confident that you will do whatever your gut tells you.

  19. Well then. I voted for the Renault for all the obvious reasons.
    It:
    * is quick
    * is practical
    * has cheap spares
    * has all mod cons
    * has robust after-market support
    * gives you entry to a new group of enthusiasts
    * is reliable

    The Alfa will just end in tears. I suppose if you were in Adelaide or Perth, the Alfa might be OK, but down your way the rust will get you eventually. Plus, it’s an old car that wasn’t reliable when new. It’s not likely to be more reliable now.

    The Viggen is great, don’t get me wrong. But it will need significant investment to to be as awesome as it ought to have been out of Trollhättan and, when that’s out of the way, it’ll be a car you’ve already had before. Plus, every time you get in it, you’ll be reminded of your time at Saab, which, depending on the day, might be a good thing or a sad thing.

    Ultimately, none of these vehicles would be a “wrong” choice and I envy you the chance to make such a choice. Have fun!

  20. If it were my choice and money, absolutely the Renault. All the fun, none of the headache. It seems like a blast.

    I’d totally disregard the Viggen in the poll. I mean, what do you expect people who have been following and reading your Saab posts over the years to vote for? 😉

    Also, as an auto enthusiast, I can never go back to a car I’ve previously owned. I just know that no matter how desirable, I’d always have that little voice in the back of my head bemoaning the familiarity and wondering what things would have been like with my other choices. I just couldn’t do it.

    1. I’ve got to agree. The Viggen’s going to be skewed by the readership here.

      Also, I usually don’t want to go back to cars I’ve had before. The exception might be for cars that I wasn’t done with. For instance, I’ve had two Jeep Wagoneers and will probably buy another sometime. But, my rationale is that I’m not buying them for what they are. I’m buying them for what I can make them and, for me, those goals have been so far left unmet due to circumstances. I sense that Swade’s premature loss of Viggen #1 must make that choice seem like a “Mulligan” rather than just “getting another”.

      1. > I sense that Swade’s premature loss of Viggen #1 must make that choice
        > seem like a “Mulligan” rather than just “getting another”.

        Excellent point…

  21. Given Pete’s post and other data, my only remaining objection to the Renault is aesthetic. This is, of course, subjective, and if you like the way it looks then it’s a newer, safer, faster car – and you should buy it.

    Is the one in the picture the one you are potentially purchasing? I dislike that blue, it accentuates the “plastic toy” look of the car. Black might be a better color for that car.

    1. Greg, it’s just an image from Flickr. The ones I’ve considered that are for sale are both black, though with some slightly undesirable graphics that came as standard kit with the F1 Team model.

  22. Swade, all three of those cars sound interesting (considering the pluses and minuses) and I can understand you wanting a break for a bit (and you have always loved Alfas)….but…but…

    ….after reading eloquent blog posts like “I Want the Saab”, can’t you hear that Viggen calling your name? I can hear it. 🙂

  23. Just a thougt: In a previous post you were talking about buying 2 cars: A daily drive as well as ‘something for the weekend’ (paraphrase)
    Your daily drive + a reasonable load carrier, around AU$7k could be had in the shape of a Subaru Liberty RS Turbo – wagon. There are 8 currently up for grabs on car sales.
    This struck me as quite a nice example but there are others less expensive.
    http://www.carsales.com.au/private/details/subaru-liberty-1992-12259717?base=1216&vertical=Car&cr=2&eapi=2&__N=4294932651 1216 1246 1247 1252 1282 4294963801 4294963605 4294680280&silo=Stock&Range=Price:Min,Max~1&sort=default

  24. Absolutely the Renault. Life for Alfas may be different in Oz than Canada but when Alfas ere sold here in the 1970s I had a Spider Veloce 175o Kammback. Loved it when it ran, but it had this magnetic attraction to the repair shop.

    The Viggen is a temptress, but you hardly said a good think about it in your comments. Along with been there, done that.

    Enjoy a modern, reliable, sporty model, hopefully in a color that is off the radar for the constabulary! And offer to drive the kids to school or fetch the jug of milk any day, any time. Turn the key and go.

    B

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