Fleet News

Saab 9-3 TiD 150 Vector Convertible

Review

I’M not sure whether global warming is to blame for the Indian summer, but it’s meant that I’ve been able to enjoy a spot of unseasonal top-down motoring in the Saab.

Finally though, the harsh winds and rain of late November have beaten me and I’m happy to leave open-top motoring to hardier folk.

So the Saab has been shut for the winter, rather like those seaside tourist shops near my East Anglian home selling cockles and windbreaks, but I’m finding this no great hardship.

It just gives me a chance to focus on the car’s other qualities – and there are plenty of them.

Top of the list has to be the saloon-like refinement. The Saab is proving to be a relaxed long-distance cruiser, comfortably devouring miles without incident, with the punchy 150bhp turbodiesel engine moving the car along with ease.

And the classy interior reeks of quality, with no squeaks or rattles to report after 11,000 miles. The supremely comfortable cream-coloured leather seats are showing no signs of wear or age either.

The huge array of buttons and dials on the dashboard – more than 50 within reach of the driver – at first give it the intimidating appearance of a jet fighter cockpit, but once used to it you can navigate the controls fairly easily.

It’s worth pointing out that this issue has been addressed for the 2007 model year as Saab is introducing a revised, and simplified, centre console and instrument binnacle.

Keeping the roof up has proved to be both good and bad for its practicality. Without having the roof stowed in it, the full size of the boot can be utilised, although it is still small – as a trip to the airport to pick up my brother and sister-in-law and their luggage highlighted. But it has also made it much more difficult for passengers to get into the rear seats.

The high back, which gives the car such a stylish look with the roof down, hinders rear vision so this has also become more noticeable with the roof up all the time.

Fortunately, this isn’t a major problem on our test car as it has the optional £300 parking sensors fitted – well worth specifying, although the alert sensor could do with being louder.

However, this is just a minor criticism on an otherwise impressive car – and one in which I’m regularly returning 44mpg, just under Saab’s claimed 44.8mpg.

Fact file

Price: £27,919 (£30,049 as tested)
Mileage: 11,668
CO2 emissions (g/km): 169
Company car tax bill (2007) 40% tax-payer: £213 per month
Insurance group: 13
Combined mpg: 44.8
Test mpg: 44
CAP Monitor RV: £10,100/36%
Contract hire rate: £559
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles

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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