Fleet News

Saab 9-3 2.0t

Review

TURBOCHARGING is one of Saab's fortes - for more than two decades its naturally aspirated products have taken on a new lease of life, and usually a lift in public image, after being given a helping of unnaturally assisted power. The Swedish manufacturer has now replaced the 2.3-litre petrol engine in the 9-3 with a boosted Ecopower 2.0-litre unit. And, to quote colleague Mike Gunnell who has a 9-3 2.0 Ecopower on long term appraisal, what a difference it makes.

Actually, there isn't much extra in terms of maximum power output and torque - a rise of 3% and 4% respectively to 154bhp at 5,500rpm and 162 lb-ft of torque at 3,600rpm. But where the four-cylinder Ecopower 2.0t makes the jump from chalk to cheese in this premium upper medium car is how it delivers that power and torque: smoothly and with strength. The 2.3 was never gutless, just uninspiring. Ecopower, on the other hand, is a great engine. It's quick, but quiet; gutsy, but refined.

Boost pressure is regulated at a mild 0.4 bar and the light pressure turbocharger operates from low engine speeds, which means better mid-range performance without having to shift down the gearbox as frequently as one would with a 'natural', and without the whack-in-the-back of a high pressure turbo. With a five-speed manual in the five-door model, combined fuel consumption is 30.1mpg, top speed 134mph and 0-60mph acceleration time 8.2 seconds.

Availability is across the range in five-door saloon, three-door coupe and convertible body styles and two trims - S and SE, with on-the-road prices from ú19,645. The other 9-3 engines are a naturally aspirated 2.0i with 130bhp and priced from ú16,645, the 115bhp 2.2 TiD from ú18,145, a 185bhp 2.0 Turbo starting at ú22,995 and the flagship 200bhp 2.0-litre Turbo Sport delivering 146mph and 0-60mph in 6.9 seconds from ú27,450 on-the-road.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

Our Fleet: Saab 9-3 Sportwagon - July

Low CO2 Sportwagon has plenty to offer fleets

First drive: Peugeot 308 GT BlueHDi 180 car review

High quality model boasts 9.7-inch touchscreen and 8% RV hike over predecessor

Search Car Reviews