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Saab 9-3 2.2TiD

Review

SAAB has freshened up its only diesel model to date, with an uprated version of the 2.2TiD engine recently introduced in the 9-3.

The Swedish company is rare in that its diesel models do not cost any extra over their petrol equivalents - a policy set to continue when the new 3.0 V6 diesel, followed by the 2.2-litre diesel, join the 9-5 range later this year.

The Saab 9-3 has been around for some time, and while Saab would like to think of it as an alternative to a BMW 3-Series or Audi A4 it doesn't quite have the image. If Saab charged a premium for its diesels it might be in the same price league as the 3-Series and A4, but at £18,495 the 9-3 2.2TiD SE is on the same level as the Alfa Romeo 156 2.4JTD Lusso and Rover 75 2.0CDT Club.

All 9-3s include ABS, front and side airbags, trip computer, all-round electric windows, electric heated door mirrors, headlamp wash/wipe, and 'follow me home' headlamp delay. The SE adds a single CD/radio, automatic climate control, 16in alloy wheels, wood veneer and an exterior sport styling pack.

The fact that the Saab is no more expensive to buy than a petrol version is commendable, and we like its classy interior. Despite being the newest model variant in the Saab range, there is nothing really new about the 9-3. Its styling is familiar - a subtle development of the old Saab 900.

What is new is the engine - power is increased from 115bhp to 125bhp from the previous 2.2TiD, while peak torque is 206lb-ft at an astonishingly low 1,500rpm. As we have come to expect from modern diesels, the 9-3's in-gear acceleration times are better than its petrol equivalent, the turbo-charged 9-3 2.0t.

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.

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