Fleet News

Saab 9-3 Vector 1.9 TiD 150


NEVER having driven a Saab before, I’m not in the least embarrassed to admit to having been caught out by the old ignition trick.

It was dark at the time too, which made finding the appropriate repository for the key even more perplexing.

After five minutes of unsuccessful searching, I reluctantly admitted defeat and phoned those smug colleagues of mine to find out that the keyhole is actually next to the handbrake, between the seats.

I suppose that’s marginally better than on the left behind the steering wheel, which is where manufacturers such as Volvo seem to have taken to locating the ignition. I don’t know what’s wrong with the tried-and-tested right-hand port we’re all accustomed to. I sometimes wonder if designers are just trying to justify their existence.

Despite that unpromising start, the Saab and I are now good friends. Previous long-term tester Tony Toma praised its 1.9 TiD engine, adding: ‘It’s all down to the lovely torque that comes to a head with dramatic effect at 1,800rpm, with very little tail-off until close on 4,000rpm.’

He also admired the Saab’s ‘clever ReAxs multi-link active rear axle design’, which he said resulted in crisp steering responses and an eager turn-in to corners.

I fully endorse his conclusions and am also delighted at the 9-3’s fuel economy.

Following my stint in our thirsty Nissan Primera diesel that struggled to reach 30mpg, I’m thrilled to find myself needing to fill up far less often – the Saab is turning in nearly 50mpg with no adverse effect on performance.

Our previous tester admitted to being a little ‘enthusiastic’ in his driving so failed to reach Saab’s published combined mpg but I’ve just managed to match that figure exactly.

Model: Saab 9-3 Vector 1.9 TiD 150
Price (OTR): £21,845
Mileage: 6,161
CO2 emissions (g/km): 159
Company car tax bill (2004/5) 40% tax-payer: £130 per month
Insurance group: 11
Combined mpg: 47.9
Test mpg: 47.9
CAP Monitor residual value: £7,950/37%
HSBC contract hire rate: £373
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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