It’s perhaps surprising that I’m now driving around in an 11-reg Saab 9-3 Sportwagon given how recent events surrounding the company have unfolded with enforced production freezes.
Somehow, amid all the disruption a 2012 model year 1.9TTiD was delivered to our office early in July. Yes, Saab GB is still functioning, has had no problems paying its staff and is still able to deliver completed cars.
Hidden among the 2012 model year upgrades for the 9-3 Sportwagon is the news that the CO2 emissions of the car have been reduced to below 120g/km. The previous version of the car – the Vector Sport – achieved 122g/km, but the new-for-2012 SE emits CO2 at a rate of 119g/km.
This is equivalent to fuel consumption of 62.8mpg on the combined cycle, and the Saab hits these targets without resorting to stop/start technology or energy recuperation systems. So it will be interesting to see how close we can get to this official figure during our test.
The 9-3 Sportwagon – perhaps in-keeping- with its name – was never one of the largest estates in its class. In fact, volume-wise it’s one of the smallest. And the interior is more cramped than cars like the Honda Accord and Volkswagen Passat. But it should still cope comfortably with any unusual and non-work-related items that need to be carried while we are custodians of the car.
Although Saab introduced the Sportwagon in 2005, the 9-3 has been around since 2002, and is derived from the same components set as the Vauxhall Vectra and Alfa Romeo 159. However, it doesn’t seem to have dated as much as I thought it might have done.
I last drove a 9-3 after its mid-life facelift in 2007, so it was good to reacquaint myself with the car and discover the performance of the 180bhp twin-turbo diesel. First impressions suggest it’s surprisingly refined and marred only by a laborious gearshift.
Have I become too used to driving an automatic after my 12 months in the Mondeo Powershift? We shall see.