Category Archives: Saab

2011 Saab 9-5 Aero Sedan (2011)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2011 Saab 9-5 Aero Sedan. As you likely know, the makers of the original Saab also built aircraft. The instrument panel on this Saab is reminiscent of the instrumentation you find in an aircraft cockpit as to look and feel. Sweet.

The 2.8-liter V6 is the same engine found in the Cadillac SRX, and comes with the new XWD all-wheel drive that is termed “Cross Wheel Drive” and is capable of sending 100% of the torque to the rear wheels or front wheels, which is a departure from prior AWD applications. The front-wheel-drive only versions are powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and will be available in the fall. The car was developed by General Motors and uses the basics of the chassis found in the Buick Regal and LaCrosse.

Opinion:

HUGE California Traffic Ticket Fines Effective 01/06/2011
California is broke and they want to collect money from you, that is nothing more than taxation. If safety were the reason for the fine increases they would have been set long ago in the interest of safety. This is clearly a move to take money from the people to save government jobs. SO, be careful and don’t give those ^%#*&@&’s the chance to rip you off. While private sector jobs are being lost government jobs are not.

I remind you –

These folks are not your friend. When you get on the highway be wary of this ‘taxation without representation’ move by the Gestapo-like police. Our public servants are beginning to look more like the enemy and we pay them twice what the average worker gets in the private sector.

Herewith, some of the fines to be coldly imposed on you:

VC 22507(B)     $1876       Violation of disabled parking provisions, second offense.
VC 22507(A)       $976       Violation of disabled parking provisions, first offense.
VC 22500            $976       Parking in a bus loading area.
VC 16028(A)     $796         Failure to provide evidence of financial responsibility (insurance)
VC 22454(A)      $616        Passing a school bus with flashing red signals.
VC 21453(A)     $436         Failure to stop at a red signal.
VC 27360            $436        Mandatory use of passenger child restraints.
VC 22350           $328         Unsafe speed, 16 to 25 miles over the limit.
VC 23123(B)      $256        Driving while using a wireless phone not hands free, each subsequent offense. VC 12814.6    $214           Failure to obey license provisions.

If you do get fined, the following information is from a company who claims you can “Beat your California traffic ticket” or your money back. www.ticketbust.com or call 800-850-8038. If you have used them please share your experience – my email joe@atthewheel.com.

More information at http://www.thumpertalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=947063

Handling & Performance:

The all wheel drive system has a new twist and thus they term it the XWD system, which is a fully-automatic, on-demand system that is capable of sending up to 100 percent of the engine torque to the front or the rear wheels whenever it is required. Of course it is totally transparent to the driver and no intervention is needed to take advantage of this feature.

Styling:

“Nice looking car”! I hear comments like that on occasion and did with this Saab. I agree. It has the best design lines ever for Saab.

Fit and Finish:
Excellent.

Cost:

The Saab costs much more than the average price of others in the midsize class but is far less than most other luxury cars I see as comparable.

Conveniences and comfort:

The Electronic Parking Brake is the way Saab has chosen to apply the parking brake and it is found on other expensive cars. I can live without that kind of feature. It reminds me of a radio with a button instead of a dial. They both do the same thing but one is simple the other is a malfunction waiting to happen. I fail to see the purpose since I feel if it isn’t broken why fix it?

Leave your key fob in your pocket or purse except to open the doors or trunk. I prefer being able to leave the key in my pocket all the time.

Another handy feature is the parking assist and also a new adaptation that sounds a bell when you drift close to your lane divider lines. Of course you can see where all these features are leading us. It is like we’re given small pieces of the puzzle and one day the cruise sensors will allow the car to drive you down the road all by itself and instead of sounding a bell the computer will simply correct the drift to the side or get too close to the car in front of you. All of this at 70 mph. Great stuff.

However, some will tell you that by the time that happens, someone else will develop a ‘Transporter’ and Scotty will beam you up, and we will no longer need cars, oil drilling or crashes and car insurance.

Consumer Recommendation:

If this group is in your price range Saab is worth including in your search and I think you’ll agree it is really worth your consideration.

Recognized Competition:

Saab 9-5 Aero $39-50,000, Acura TL $35-44,000, Audi A6 $45-59,000, BMW 5-Series $45-62,000, Cadillac CTS $35-62,000, Chrysler 300 $27-45,000, Dodge Charger $25-38,000, Hyundai Genesis $33-43,000, Infiniti M $47-60,000, Jaguar XF Series $53-80,000, Lexus GS $46-55,000, Mercedes Benz E-Class $49-88,000, Volkswagen Passat $27,915, Volvo S60 $37,700, Volvo S80 $37-41,000.

Good News:

Wonderful handling and comfortable ride, fast turbo performance.

Bad News:

Fuel economy is 4 mpg less than the average in midsize class and I was not real happy with the visibility.

Standard Equipment:

2.8 liter V6 300 horsepower turbocharged engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, XWD all wheel drive system, electronic rear limited slip differential, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, electronic parking brake, 18” alloy wheels, electronic stability control, tire pressure monitor, keyless entry with start/stop button, tilt column and leather wrapped steering wheel with shift and audio controls, cooled glove box, 8-way power driver seat, power windows and locks, power heated mirrors, auto-dim rearview mirror, split folding rear seat with pass through to trunk, stereo with CD player and 9 speakers, USB port, satellite radio, headlight washers, Bluetooth for phone, heated front seats, cruise control, fog lights, rain sensing wipers, dual zone climate control, front side and side curtain airbags, rear side airbags, child security door locks and theft deterrent system.

Gas Stats:

$3.29/ Gal avg. Jan 8, 2010
www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

16 City and 27 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $47,565.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com
Copyright © 2011 – An Automotive Love Affair

2006 Saab 9-7 X SUV (581)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2006 Saab 9-7 X SUV. If you’ve been following this column you know that this Saab sits on the same platform as the Chevy Trail Blazer and the Isuzu Ascender.

This of course carries the Saab Badge and if you like the marketing blitz about being spawned by aircraft engineers you’ll feel comfortable driving this Swedish / American Saab.

Public Service: The Diamond lane can be a great asset and it encourages people to car pool. But it almost seems criminal that the governmental transportation agencies don’t seem to get it. Car pool lanes are appropriate during rush hour but during the off traffic times the lane should revert back to all traffic. That has been the policy in northern California for a very long time. In southern California the 14 freeway does a great job of utilizing the lanes to handle heavy traffic periods and allows their use by all drivers when off peak. I encourage you to take the time to voice their opinion in support of such policies when not utilized. Call Cal Trans or the Highway Patrol to make your voice heard. A second issue around the Diamond lane is the fact that when it is “Not” a Diamond lane it should be open for entry and exit anywhere. The Highway Patrol says NO. I say YES. What do you think?

General Info:

Parts – N/A

Assembly – Moraine, Ohio, USA

Class:  – Special Purpose

Cars: 9-2X, 9-3, 9-5, 9-7X

Handling & Performance:

It feels heavier than the other siblings so it’s a solid ride but soft at the same time. The All Wheel Drive (AWD) makes this sure footed and gives that added comfort. In contrast the 2-WD Trail Blazer I compare it against won’t feel so different until you go into the corners. But with high profile SUVs it is a false sense of security. I suspect this is not so important in mild climate areas around the globe in similar latitudes of the test area of the southern part of North America. Specifically California, USA. But if you’re in northern latitudes where snow and ice are common conditions, I would look at AWD vehicles in a totally different light.

Styling:

A bit upscale from its siblings because of the Saab badge, which you just have to wonder how much premium you pay for that “Name Plate” over the other sisters. Beautiful 6 spoke alloy wheels give it that modern look for today.

Fit and Finish:

Exceptional.

Cost:

Pricey and as much as $10,000 more than its sisters.

Conveniences:

“Loaded” as car salesmen used to boast. I guess there is no free lunch and you get what you pay for. All those wonderful toys, Batman.

Consumer Recommendation:

If the Saab is of interest I suggest you test-drive three of the listed SUVs along with it as a start. Volvo XC70 (not because it is also Swedish) but because it is a very nice product (a Ford company). The Lexus RX 330 is another I would include in the initial comparison (Japanese). And finally General Motors’ Cadillac SRX.

Recognized Competition:

Saab 9-7 X $39-42,000, Lincoln Aviator $41-44,000, Cadillac SRX $36-44,000, Chevrolet TrailBlazer $24-30,000, Volvo XC70 $36,000, Land Rover LR3 $38-53,000, Toyota Highlander $25-32,000, Toyota 4Runner $28-38,000, Ford Explorer $27-36,000, GMC Envoy $26-38,000, Mercury Mountaineer $29-36,000, Honda Pilot $27-35,000, Nissan Pathfinder $25-36,000, Dodge Durango $28-37,000, Lexus RX 330 $36-38,000, Mitsubishi Montero $36,000, Acura MDX $37-44,000.

Good News:

A very comfortable and solid highway vehicle. AWD can be a plus in colder climates and “ESP” (Electronic Stability Program) type controls like the Stabilitrak used on this Saab is fantastic technology and a must.

Bad News:

Pricey.

Standard Equipment:

5.3-liter V8 300 hp displacement on demand engine, 4-speed auto trans, automatic all wheel drive, limited slip rear differential, 18 X 8” 6-spoke wheels, rear air suspension, Stabilitrak stability control, theft deterrent, OnStar with 1 year service, front and side curtain airbags with roll over sensors, fog lights, full size spare tire, trailer hitch receiver, integrated roof rails, heated front seats, power heated mirrors, memory driver seat and mirror settings, power windows and locks, cruise control, remote keyless entry, driver information center, headlight washers, power moon roof, adjustable pedals, Xenon headlights, Bose audio with 6-in dash CD player, XM satellite radio service (first 3 mos included), rear seat audio controls, leather seating and steering wheel with audio controls, climate control, compass, 8-way power front seats, split folding rear seats. Options: Rear entertainment DVD $1,300.

Gas Stats:

15 City and 20 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $40,520.

2005 Saab 9-2X Aero 5-Door Sedan (552)

Overview:

This week finds us desperately seeking sanity in transportation cost. Ok, so we didn’t quite find it, but we came closer. Until we see pump prices so obnoxious we can’t stand it, we will simply pony up to the cost as necessary. Well, it isn’t necessary, and yes, there are alternatives.

As you probably know, Saab is now a GM company, and marriages such as this, I believe, are good for both the company and also good for the consumer. Those who like Swedish cars will be happy to see the innovations and improvements from that marriage and that are inevitable. It’s too soon to tell what changes GM will make but we’ll see it happen – count on it. Another example of this is the purchase of Jaguar by Ford. The Jag has never been a better car. Ford retained the styling but improved it mechanically. It is simply a better automobile. We’ll talk more about the Jag in the coming weeks because I’m testing one as I’m writing this.

The 9-2X sits on a WRX frame and it makes sense it would be assembled in Japan – and it is.

General Info:

Parts – Japan 100%

Assembly – Ota, Gunma, Japan

Class:  – Small station wagon

Cars:  – 9-2X, 9-3, 9-5 and 9-7X

Handling & Performance:

I found it a little rough riding (reminiscent of the WRX – surprise, surprise). The turning radius was much longer than I expected for a small car.

Styling:

Saab has never been my favorite styling attempt, but you have to admit it is unique. It’s just a little too busy for me and when I tested the WRX I found it more adapted to the younger generation. It reminds me of those small modern rods racing in and out of traffic on the freeways. Zip zip zip. And the driver is this little person scrunched down below the window peering over the steering wheel racing another small but soup’d up bumper car. I think they’ve been playing too many video games.

Fit and Finish:

The Swedes have consistently done a good job over the years because they have been put together like custom cars. They are meticulous perfectionists and now with the Japanese building it, coupled with the business prowess of GM, this should make for an interesting future for the Saab.

Cost:

This is, like the WRX, a youthful design for those with more money in their car-buying budgets. But it’s only money and at the end of the day, you don’t have to sell your firstborn or mortgage your future to own one. $25-30,000 today is pretty commonplace for a mid-range quality automobile.

When you consider transportation options there are cars that cost a third the cost of this Saab and that puts commuting into perspective. However, practicality aside, and ego firmly in place you’ll find reasons why $30,000 is acceptable.

Conveniences:

Well equipped, but you’ll pay.

Consumer Recommendation:

The Swedes are known for building safety conscious cars, which hasn’t and likely won’t change with the ownership change. The addition of AWD is a decidedly positive change and being built in Japan will assure continued quality in assembly. I don’t see any substance to the concerns dealers had with the “thinly disguised Subaru” connection. Japanese built / American owned is a good thing in my opinion.

The Competition:

Saab 9-2X $23-28,000, Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback $17-19,000, Volvo V50 $26-29,000, Subaru Impreza Wagon $18-26,000, VW Jetta Wagon $19-22,000, Lexus IS 300 SportCross $31,105, BMW 3-series Sport Wagon $31-33,000, Mazda3 $14-19,000, Mazda6 Sport Wagon $23-27,000, Audi A4 Avant $29-36,000, Ford Focus Wagon $17-18,000.

Good News:

Quality custom history enhanced by anticipated volume increase with Subaru / GM influence, fair fuel economy, AWD traction is standard, good cargo area, fast fun to drive turbocharged power and well equipped.

Bad News:

Stiff ride, pricey, upscale Subaru and irritating acceleration lag from the turbocharger (Supercharger would eliminate that problem).

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged 227 horsepower engine, 5-speed manual trans, all wheel drive, 4-wheel sport tuned independent suspension, 4-wheel abs disc brakes, security system, dual front and head side air bags in front, climate control, power windows and locks, remote keyless entry, cruise control, audio system with 6-indash CD player/ changer, rear wiper and defogger, dual power mirrors, rear roof spoiler, functional hood scoop.

Gas Stats:

20 City and 26 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $26,950.

 

2003 Saab 9-3 ARC Sedan (448)

Overview:

This week I tested the Saab 9-3 Sedan. I hope the ignition system isn’t as complicated in their jet fighters. A message keeps coming up that the steering wheel is locked. What happened to the good old days when things that should be simple were simple? Today we think we have to be cleaver and new or different.

But different isn’t necessarily better. We use high tech for things that take much less time to do the old fashioned way. Consider the radio controls on most cars. Simple knobs should be used for volume and tuning instead of trick buttons that are more difficult to use.

My honey asked what cars compete with this Saab. She obviously doesn’t read my column. “Well dear, the competition for this car include such cars as Mercedes and BMW…” I’m not sure she considered it a luxury car, but it really is, in my view.

The 9-3 comes in three models – Linear, ARC and Vector in order of lowest to highest sophistication and pricing.

General Info:

Parts – Majority Sweden, some from Germany.

Assembly – Trollhattan, Sweden

Class:  – Sport Sedan

Cars: – 9-3 and 9-5 sedans, convertible and wagon.

Handling & Performance:

Very good for the most part, but there was an annoying power surge at stop and go operation. It appeared to be caused from the gas pedal activation.

Styling:

Very clean lines that are classic and distinctively Saab, albeit with slight changes influenced by the company’s new owner, General Motors.

Fit and Finish:

Swedish quality that is quite good.

Conveniences:

I love gadgets and the moisture sensitive windshield wipers are really cool if you chose the touring package for $1,195 that includes this feature.

Cost:

Base price on this ARC Sedan is just under $30,000 but you can add some options, like auto trans $1200, sport wheel package for 17 inch wheels and sport suspension for $1295, Touring package with rain sensing wipers, in-dash 6-disc CD Changer for $1195, power glass sunroof for $1100, heated front seats $495 and metallic paint for $475.

Consumer Recommendation:

The competition is all very capable and I’d have a hard time choosing, but my favorite is the Cad CTS because of the exciting styling.

The Competition:

Saab 9-3 $26-40,000, Acura TL $29-33,000, Audi A4 $25-42,000, BMW 3-Series $30-44,000, Cadillac CTS $30,000, Chrysler 300M $29-33,000, Infiniti I35 $29,000, Lincoln LS $32-44,000, Mercedes Benz C-Class $25-50,000, Volkswagen Passat $22-38,000, Volvo S60 $26-33,000.

Good News:

Nice ride, one touch power windows up and down front and rear, split folding rear seat with pass through to a large trunk.

Bad News:

Poor ignition system, complicated audio controls, surge in acceleration.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged 210 hp engine, 6-speed manual trans (test vehicle had optional 5-speed auto trans for an addition of $1,200 to the MSRP), traction control, power antilock disc brakes, Electronic stability program (ESP), dual front air bags, front and rear side airbags, anti theft system, keyless remote, leather, air conditioning, power windows with express up and down, power heated mirrors, rear seat fold or 60/40 split with pass through armrest, computer information system, cru8ise control, tilt wheel, audio with CD player with steering wheel controls,

Gas Stats:

21 City and 30 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $29,995.

2002 Saab 9-3 Viggen (391)

Overview:

There is no question you’ll feel the excitement of driving the Saab 9-3 Viggen that shares its name with the delta-wing jet fighter also built by Saab. Saab has, for many years, built quality Swedish made cars that are fast and fun to drive with precise handling characteristics.

confident about their cars performance because market studies show that nearly 70% of those who test-drove a Saab purchased the car. Therefore they have embarked on a new Real Life Road Test program to over 25 cities in 2002.

After testing this car over some of its 54 year history, it is easy for me to believe that test-driving is the best sales aid because this car sells itself.

Saab is one of those few cars that have a “Cult” following. Of course the Edsel had a similar following, I believe for its uniqueness.

Saab says it intends to double its U.S. sales by the end of 2004 and will roll out six new models or concepts over the next five years, beginning with the 2002 Saab 9-5.

General Info:

Parts – Sweden 32%; Germany 24% US / Canada 1%, Engine – Sweden.

Assembly –  Nystad, Finland

Class:  -Mid-Size

Saab Cars: – 9-3, 9-5, 9-5 Wagon

Handling & Performance:

The Swede’s are great engineers and it is no surprise to me how well this car handles and the turbocharged performance is outstanding. It’s impossible not to be impressed. In fact you will need to hold the wheel with both hands when you put the pedal to the metal. It will flat twist the wheel in you hands as the front wheel drive and the torque of this turbocharged engine join together.

For those interested in a professional driving school, the price of this car includes the Viggen Flight Academy high-performance driving school in Atlanta, GA.

Styling:

This is always very personal, but although the Saab is easily distinguished from all the rest it just doesn’t light my fire, know what I mean?

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Conveniences:

Abundant, but you pay for them.

Cost:

It’s at the higher end of the competition, and a little pricey for my taste.

Consumer Recommendation:

The numbers in parenthesis, in the competition section below, rank the cars in order of average price of the range. Drive them in that order if you can.

Manufacturer Recommendations:

Get more competitive price wise.

The Competition:

(1)Volkswagen Passat $22-29,000, (2) Audi A4 $25-33,000, (3) Cadillac CTS $29,000, (4) Infiniti I35 $29,000, (5) Chrysler 300M $28-32,000, (6) Volvo S60 $27-34,000, (7) Acura TL $29-33,000, (8) BMW 3-Series $27-42,000, (9) Saab 9-3 $28-45,000, (10) Lincoln LS $33-41,000, (11) Mercedes Benz C-Class $25-50,000.

Good News:

Powerful, fun to drive, lots of cargo area, comfortable and very little “Bad News”.

Bad News:

Low front end tends to drag going up a driveway for example.

Standard Equipment:

2.3 liter 230 horsepower Inline 4 Turbo engine, 5-speed manual trans, traction control, front wheel drive, 4-wheel power disc anti-locking brake system, OnStar, front and side airbags, anti-theft with remote, power windows and door locks, power sunroof, climate control, 8-way power front seats, leather seating and steering wheel and shift knob, telescopic steering wheel, cruise control, power & heated mirrors, stereo with anti theft and in-dash CD player,

Gas Stats:

19 City and 28 Highway MPG.

Pricing:

MSRP $38,095.