Fleet News

Saab 9-3 Vector 1.9 TiD 150

Review

MY comments last month about the location of the 9-3’s ignition key caused a stir, prompting Saab’s product manager to write to our letters page in explanation.

I wasn’t actually complaining when I owned up to my ignorance in not knowing where to put the ignition key on my first outing in the car – as everyone but me probably knows, the Saab spot is actually between the front seats – but when I went on to suggest that some designers were siting the key haphazardly just for the sake of it, Saab took exception, even if my comments had been somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

A Saab spokesman pointed out that the ignition position is a safety feature designed to save the driver’s legs from injury in a crash and, now I know that, I am heartily grateful for their forethought.

The UK is apparently now Saab’s biggest market in the world, with fleet sales for the 9-3 and 9-5 up 121% in March. Saab has always been known as the kind of car which can’t be categorised by the people who drive them, so I was concerned to hear the firm’s UK managing director Jonathan Nash wanting to ‘promote Saab as a more interesting brand’ (FNN, April 28).

If that means it wants to pigeonhole itself into some sort of ‘brand’, I think it will cease to attract the sort of folk like me who despise label-junkies and prefer their badge to be as anonymous as possible – and by ‘anonymous’ I don’t mean bland.

Now I’ve handed over the Saab keys to a colleague and taken on a petrol estate car, I’m really missing the 9-3’s fuel economy. Trips to the petrol station were few and far between with the Saab, as on several occasions I nearly reached its combined fuel consumption of 47.9mpg.

One thing the change has brought to my notice, is that the Saab isn’t particularly quiet at speed – wind noise meant the radio had to be turned right up for comfortable listening.

But even so, I will miss it – and its so-called anonymity.

Model: Saab 9-3 Vector 1.9 TiD 150
Price (OTR): £21,845
Mileage: 7,758
CO2 emissions (g/km): 159
Company car tax bill (2005/6) 40% tax-payer: £130 per month
Insurance group: 11
Combined mpg: 47.9
Test mpg: 40.2
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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