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2010 Saab 9-3

Overview
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2010 Saab 9-3 Review

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After a rather rough year, Saab's future seems secure for now. With a new owner and a new lease on life, the Swedish manufacturer continues to offer a small but competent line of luxury sedans, convertibles and wagons. The bread and butter of the lineup remains the 9-3, a car whose unique styling, quirky peculiarities and distinctly European driving dynamics endear it to a small but loyal group of driving enthusiasts. For 2010, the Sedan and SportCombi models with the four-cylinder 2.0T compete nicely when placed beside the Acura TSX, BMW 3 Series, Volvo S60, Audi A4, as well as the Volvo V50 Wagon.

You'll Like This Car If...

Some shoppers gravitate toward the Saab 9-3 partly because of its "stealth" personality; it delivers more in performance and handling than its straight-forward appearance suggests. The 9-3X SportCombi offers the rare combination of a turbocharged engine, six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel-drive in wagon body.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Even more than their Swedish Volvo cousins, Saabs used to be known for various quirks and idiosyncrasies, which fans adored but some others disdained. Things like the console-mounted ignition – a long-standing Saab hallmark – can still prove too peculiar for some. Eccentricities are minor nowadays, but perception tends to outlast reality.

What's New for 2010

For 2010 the V6 turbo is dropped from the line up, while a new, all-wheel-drive variant of the SportCombi is added. A reduction in the standard equipment list allows for a slight price reduction across the 9-3 range, and the overall model count is reduced from 14 to 9.

Driving the 9-3

Driving Impressions Each 2010 Saab 9-3 exhibits a serious Eurosedan personality. Confident handling is the rule, especially in Aero trim. An Aero SportCombi exemplifies what the modern wagon experience should be: well-behaved...

under all conditions. The 2.0T steers with a rather light touch, but one that's sure-footed. Spirited reaction from the 2.0T's engine, even with the automatic, exhibits little turbo lag but suffers a bit of downshifting delay and a slight hesitation on light acceleration. Aeros can be pushed vigorously into curves, remaining impressively flat and centered, and they ride more taut than front-drive 2.0Ts, but not uncomfortably, overcoming most pavement imperfections without fuss. Harsher bumps produce sharp body motions, but only for a moment. Saab's manual gearbox ranks among the best for easy shifting.

Sport Button (with Automatic)
For those occasional moments when energetic driving proves irresistible, the Sport button keeps the transmission in each gear long enough to boost responses smartly.

XWD Availability
As a front-wheel-drive car, the 9-3 is often left out of conversations that include the BMW 3 Series, Infiniti G and other rear-wheel-drive sport sedans. A new performance-enhancing all-wheel drive system should have more people talking about the 9-3.

2010 Saab 9-3 Details
Interior

Sedans and SportCombis have seating for five passengers, versus four for convertibles. Straightforward in layout, the instrument setup was clearly developed for easy and helpful reading. A big center speedometer is accompanied by relatively large fuel and temperature gauges and a sizable tachometer, but the optional navigation system's screen is rather small. Aero seats, in particular, are seriously sporty, keeping you in place and well-supported as well as comfortable and bolstered – though not excessively snug. Getting used to the console-mounted ignition doesn't take too long, but still seems odd.

Exterior

Influenced by the sleek Aero X concept car, the 2010 Saab 9-3 wears a sweptback face with a semi-wrap-over hood and curtly-tapered three-hole grille, reminiscent of front ends in notable previous Saabs. Aero-style wraparound headlamps can incorporate an optional cornering light feature. Aeros have a unique front bumper, plus air intakes and brawny exhaust outlets that "really accent the power," according to Saab. Flared side-sill extensions and rain-sensing wipers are standard. The 9-3X SportCombi is 1.4-inches taller than the 9-3 Sedan.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Standard equipment includes rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone automatic climate control, dual heated power mirrors, AM/FM stereo with CD and auxiliary audio input, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel, leather seating surface and a power driver's seat. Standard safety features include traction and stability control plus front, front-side and full-length side curtain airbags. On 2.0T models, 14-spoke alloy wheels hold 16-inch tires, whereas Aeros and SportCombi XWD editions roll on 17-inch alloys. The 9-3X SportCombi adds front and rear skid plates, 17-inch wheels and fog lamps. The 2.0T, Aero and SportCombi trims can be had with a choice of six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmissions, while XWD trims offer a six-speed automatic.

Optional Equipment

Only a handful of options are offered on the 2.0T trim including an automatic transmission, Bose audio, OnStar with Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and SIRIUS/XM Satellite Radio. The Comfort Package adds a power moonroof, heated front seats, garage door opener, headlamp washers and "Express Up" power front windows with remote control. The Premium Package adds a memory driver's seat, a power passenger seat, Rear Park Assist, HID cornering headlamps, Bose audio and power folding auto-dimming outside mirrors. A DVD-based navigation system is also available.

Under the Hood

The 2.0T, a turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine produces 210 horsepower, driving a six-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed automatic (six-speed auto with XWD). Automatic transmissions include a manual-shift provision, with a Sport mode that holds gears longer during acceleration and alters the shift points for braking.

2.0-liter in-line 4 Turbocharged
210 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
221 lb.-ft. of torque @ 2500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 (manual, FWD Sedan); 19/28 (automatic, FWD Sedan), 21/31 (manual, SportCombi) 19/27 (automatic, SportCombi), 20/29 (manual, XWD), 17/27 (automatic, XWD)

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2010 Saab 9-3 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.3
Out of 10

Based on 585 Ratings for the 2003 - 2011 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.4/10
  • Reliability
    8.5/10
    Performance
    8.9/10
  • Comfort
    8.8/10
    Styling
    9.0/10

Love this car-my favorite by far!

By on Friday, January 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This car handles so well. I tried every car on the market to find one like this and I kept going back to the SAAB. I am so happy that I bought it-I have had it for 4 years and I cannot imagine driving anything else."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

love my SAAB

By on Monday, January 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "quality, driving experience"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Do hope SAAB is able to come back, because their cars are a pleasure to drive. The quality and reliability of my car have been outstanding. No problems over my 5 years of ownership. And SAABs are beautiful and distinctive..."

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

This is a drivers car!

By on Thursday, January 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Zippy turbo makes driving fun"

Cons: "Annoying locking system"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The turbo charged engine is engaging and fuel economical. I drive mostly around town and the handling is superb. Our other car is a BMW sedan and honestly the 5-speed manual Saab is more fun to drive. The interior is adequate, and for the year, the sound system is completely workable with most of today's technology. All Saabs are a bit quirky (we have two). For example, in most cars when the car is stopped, but running, pulling on the handle twice will unlock the doors. The doors in this car must be manually unlocked. The key must be removed from the ignition to unlock all of the doors when the engine is off. When locking/unlocking using the remote the car horn beeps annoyingly at every signal. Honestly, the locking system is my only complaint. In the four years I've owned this car, I've always done routine maintenance and had no expensive catastrophic failures. It has been a great value and I would buy another new Saab if they were still making them."

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great car and good value

By on Monday, December 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 160,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great car purchased at a great price"

Cons: "saab spare parts and service concerns"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"this car was a great value when purchased due to employee discount and rebates at the time. commute 2 hours per day, wonderful car for that, good ride and handling in all weather. Great break life. A couple of component failures that shouldn't have happened, (power steering pump, condenser, ignition switch, rear abs wiring and wheel bearing). Must keep the proper tires on it to maintain ride and handling. Obviously, Saab is out of business, so I can't recommend it anymore.Turbo 2.o liter is great engine for power and economy and fun with the manual 6 speed."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Best daily driver I have owned

By on Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 144,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Best balance of quick, little sedan on the cheap."

Cons: "Black door handles fade, radio knobs can glitch."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I purchased this car used with 113k miles for $4800 at a local dealership, I've put 30k+ miles on it since then. The only problem I have encountered is a headlight going out, which did cost a few hundred $$ because it is HID. Overall I would say the car is reliable, fairly powerful for everyday driving, and comfortable. I've had more problems with my wife's new 2014 Chevy Malibu (it is in the shop getting warranty repairs now). I feel like Saab really made some quality cars and I am sad to see that they stopped production. I'd say that after 2+ years of owning the car that it is the best bang for buck purchase I have ever made, hands down. The headlight has been the only problem on a 10+ year old car, even the original leather seats have no signs of ripping. I'll keep driving this car for as long as it will let me."

11 people out of 22 found this review helpful

It's like the car is a part of me when driving

By on Tuesday, December 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,572

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Takes me where I want to go and fun getting there"

Cons: "not the best bluetooth"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Full Control, even in bad weather. Best stopping ability I ever had in a car. Turn wheel and I am already there. Take corners faster than my old Mitsubishi Spider!! Take it for a ride if they ever export again. Happy they started up the factory in Sweden again and hope they export at some point. My favorite car right next to my Plymouth Duster 360."

5 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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