2011 Saab 9-3 Review

Saab 9-3
The Saab 9-3 comes in two models: Turbo4 and Aero X. A five-speed automatic is optional on the Turbo4 FWD, while it's specified as standard on the Aero FWD model. A six-speed automatic is standard on both models when they're equipped with Saab's XWD all-wheel-drive system, which is optional on either model. Fuel economy ranges from 21/31 mpg on the front-drive, six-speed models to 17/27 mpg on XWD versions.

No rearview camera is offered, though rear parking sensors are available on Aero models, bundled in a package.

Spyker is now promising a bright future that involves an entirely new car lineup bolstered by an all-new Saab 9-3.

In Aero trim, the SportCombi even handles reasonably well with sharp steering and controlled body motions.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Saab 9-3 is available in three body styles: sedan, convertible and a wagon known as the SportCombi. Front-wheel drive is standard on all, but both sedan models can be equipped with AWD (dubbed XWD).
The base 2.0T sedan comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, a rear foglamp, heated mirrors, automatic wipers, keyless entry, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver seat with lumbar adjustment, leather upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a seven-speaker sound system with a CD player and an auxiliary audio jack. The convertible adds 17-inch wheels and a full power soft top. The Comfort package available on all 2.0T trim levels adds headlamp washers, heated front seats, an eight-way power passenger seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The 9-3 Aero gains 17-inch wheels on the sedan, while all body styles get adaptive xenon headlamps, front foglamps, two-tone leather upholstery and the 2.0T's optional features. The Premium package adds rear parking sensors, power-folding and auto-dimming mirrors and driver memory functions. Front-wheel drive is standard on all but the 9-3X, which is all-wheel drive. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the front-drive 2.0T models, and a no-cost option on the Aero, 9-3X and AWD sedans. A five-speed automatic standard is standard on the front-drive Aero models and optional on the 2.0T models. With the manual and front-wheel drive, the 9-3 sedan and SportCombi return an EPA-estimated 21 mpg city/31 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined.

Safety
The 2011 Saab 9-3 comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, active front head restraints and side airbags. The sedan and SportCombi include side curtain airbags, while the convertible features taller side airbags that cover the head of each front occupant. The convertible was not tested.

Interior Design and Special Features
There's no iPod interface, the navigation system is antiquated, there's no real-time traffic and Bluetooth is packaged with OnStar. The Saab 9-3 does carry more cargo than many cars in its class, offering 15 cubic feet of trunk space in the sedan and 12.4 cubes in the convertible. The wagon offers 29.7 cubic feet of storage space with the backseat up and an impressive 72.3 cubic feet with the rear seat folded flat.

Driving Impressions
With the 210-hp 2.0-liter turbo being the 2011 Saab 9-3's sole engine choice, acceleration is underwhelming for this class of car.
The exterior of the 2011 Saab 9-3 will see the most changes during this minor refresh. The sedan will get a new front fascia with customers being able to choose from “Vector Griffin” and “Griffin Aero”. In terms of engines, Saab will be adding the Turbo4 and TID4 to the current lineup. There will also be a 2.0 DI engine producing either 163 or 220hp and three diesel variants ranging from 130, 160, and 180hp.
Competition for the 9-3 is said to be the Mercedes SLK, the Audi A3 Cabrio, the BMW 5 series Gran Turismo, the Subaru Impreza WRX, and the Cadillac CTS Sportwagon.

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