9-3 SportCombi: Odd Or Chic?
|Topics: Saab 93
March 26, 2008
Saab, a division of General Motors Corp., recently introduced the 2008 9-3 SportCombi. Some aficionados find it odd; others find it chic.
The maker of Saab OEM parts, famed for its front-wheel-drive vehicles with fuel-efficient engines, has struggled to retain its identity within America’s biggest car company. Its recent effort was the unveiling of the new 9-3 SportCombi which boasts of a turbo four driving the front wheels. The notable difference is the new trunk. So it’s not a hatchback after all! This made the car feels more normal though less practical.
Outside, the SportCombi’s styling closely resembles the aerodynamic look making a true Saab midsize wagon. Inside, the vehicle is equipped with a recognizable flat instrument panel and Euro-styled controls. The ergonomics complements luxury and pleasure. The slot for the ignition key remains mounted between the front bucket seats. This is done so that shutting off would also lock the transmission.
Another distinct Saab feature was the Night Panel, which was adapted from the company’s aircraft. Only the speedometer is lit at night. Other controls come on only when needed. This is an effort to avoid driver distraction. Other safety features include a traction-control anti-skid system, anti-lock brakes, and front- and side-curtain airbags.
What’s more, the wagon has twice the cargo space of its sedan counterpart and all of the utility that Saab aficionados have come to delight. For buffs who love more space in their car, SportCombi would be a nice choice, watchers in the industry said.
The base level 2.0T models feature a turbocharged two-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 210 horsepower. Aero models, meanwhile, are equipped with a turbocharged 2.8-liter six cylinder. Opting for the six produces an extra 45 horsepower however, fuel economy dives by three miles per gallon in both city and highway driving.
Turbo engines, which Saab is popular for, are different from the traditional which are slugging when accelerating from a stop. The 9-3 SportCombi’s kicks in immediately when accelerating.
The SportCombi connects every driver to a different driving experience. The front tires have enough power to sustain any road escapade. Also, the steering feels lighter than early Saabs.
“The ride is firm, bordering on harsh. There's road and tire noise, in addition to the engine's mechanical symphony. The seats are comfortably firm, and front seat legroom is plentiful. In the back, legroom is tight if the front seats are pushed too far back. Cargo space is generous, a longtime Saab tradition,” according to Charleston Post Courier.
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