BEHIND THE WHEEL: Saab 9-3 2.0t
TEUSDAY MAY 29, 2012
Over engineered bits
Fun to live with
Spare part scare
0-100 km/h: 7.9s
Top speed: 232km/h
A convertible of such from the year of 2004 should neither be safe nor fast. The 9-3 is the first Saab, the first Swedish and the first convertible I've ever driven. There are many first for this one and having spent considerable amount of time in one, open top motoring can be good fun. Getting in and out of the back seats might take some of your dignity away but I have travelled about with 3 fat adults. To sum it up, it is decently quick, quite practical and sure is a rare sight.
When the time came for me to give it back, I felt a little heavy. I like it where the ignition is in the middle like a secret handshake. I like it where there's a gauge showing how hard the turbo was working. As a whole, I like it for being different or at least they have tried to be different from other cars. Only the front wheels are driven but the 9-3's driving experience is respectable. It has turbo lag, quite a bag of it but its ancient 5-speed auto box comes with great ratios.
Being an aged drop top, it has definitely lost some of its rigidity and there was significant noise going through its soft top. Meaning you have really got to have some guts to go more than 160 kilometers an hour. I paid extra attention to my driving since a convertible only has its floor to keep the front and back together because crashing would indeed be very ugly. After doing some reading, it turns out that the Saab 9-3 is the safest coupes and convertibles there are. I am genuinely surprised that it is safer than an E60 BMW, the VW Eos and most of other cars from its time.
Having to live with a two-door convertible for nearly a fortnight, I expect some of its warning lights to come on since I've heard people ranting on Saab's reliability and brittleness. But none came up even though I hadn’t been giving it much mercy where the fuel economy averaged at 18 litres per 100 km. Driving this rare thing is very special, the only trouble is, you have to get spares from a place where it used to be Malaysia, Singapore.