Saab 9-3X 2.0T XWD Sport Wagon11 | 08 | 2010Scotcars rating

    Sport Wagon preserves Saab's all-action reputation for those who love the outdoors


    Saab – Solid And A Beauty. Well, that’s what the name should stand for but over these past few years the Swedish manufacturer has had a difficult time and very nearly disappeared from automotive history for all time. It’s been passed around and most recently has been in the care of General Motors. But it’s always been a bit of mis-match and in 2010, after much coming and going, it transferred to the ownership of Dutch company Spyker Cars. Only the longterm will tell whether that’s been a good or bad thing, but for the moment at least the future of the brand has been secured.

    It still has a quality image – if slightly tarnished by the ownership issue – and it is still very much a Swedish car, even if the decisions about it are ultimately made in the Netherlands. Its link with its rallying heritage and sporting pedigree are now somewhat tenuous and instead it is considered more of an ‘old man’s’ car…. solid, secure and safe. The 9-3 X Sportwagon is aimed at people with an outdoor lifestyle who want to get away for the weekend and take all their gear with them, but don’t want an SUV or a large crossover.

    The 9-3 X Sportwagon is aimed at people with an outdoor lifestyle

    On the road

    I took the test car away for the weekend and was looking forward to it. It’s a while since I’d been behind the wheel of a Saab and I was going to enjoy finding out all the developments and advances there had been since the last time. To be honest, it felt as if I hadn’t been away. The unique ignition keyhole is still down on the tunnel beside the handbrake and the dash looked pretty much as I’d left it.

    The test car though had one unique feature which I definitely wouldn’t recommend. The steering wheel adjuster had snapped off and to reposition the wheel involved groping around in the depths of the column to find the stump – and slicing my finger at the same time. So, straight away there were questions about build quality and safety. I’d suffered an injury and I hadn’t even started the car.

    The 9-3 X drives well enough, but not as well as you think it should. Even with 210hp It felt sluggish and tired, yet this was a car with only a few thousand miles on the clock and should have been raring to go. Economy wasn’t impressive and while I had it, didn’t even reach the claimed 35 miles to the gallon.

    Comfort & Safety

    It was comfortable and came with heated leather seats (albeit a £500 option) and it felt roomy inside. The rear load space is big and because the rear suspension is compact, there’s no intrusion so every inch is usable. It’s easily accessed and the tailgate reaches right down to the bumper without any lip, so even the heaviest items can been loaded and unloaded without too much lifting. I’m sure it’s a safe car in the Swedish tradition – fortunately I didn’t need to test those credentials.

    Should I buy one?

    Well .. it’s not cheap, it’s a bit set in its ways and it’s not very exciting but that might appeal to some buyers.

    Alan Douglas

    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £26,595
    Engine / Power: 1998CC / 210PS
    How fast?: 0-62mph 8.2secs / Max 143mph
    How big/heavy?: H1543mm W1802mm L4670mm / 1795kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: Combined 34.9mpg / CO2 194g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: 15E / Band I, £215
    Alternatives: Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon; Audi A4 Avant; BMW 3 Series Touring

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