I too had issues with poor fuel comsumption and the engine, in terms of refinement and overall performance.
For much of the time, the car felt asthmatic under acceleration and too noisy under load, and after 18,000 miles I had a small symphony of rattles and squeaks accompanying my every journey.
As this was a company car, at the first opportunity I swapped it for a BMW 320d. A bit obvious, but in my opinion, head and shoulders above the Saab.
I've been travelling on holiday mainly in France on B roads since picking up the car in Sweden in October 2005. We covered almost 30,000 kilometres with no hassles and achieved about 45 mpg over the whole trip.
Only criticisms are lack of lumbar support in passenger seat and the manual gearbox is a bit clunky.
I found the road holding was good except over bumpy roads where it wobbled a bit. On motorways it came into its own by being very stable at speeds from 125-180km per hour. The car is especially responsive at over 2000rpm in any gear.
I love my Sport Wagon. I even drive it to the corner shop, just to drive it.
But who chose the standard radio/CD player? It is without doubt the worst system I have heard in years. It's flat, tinny, with no whump whatsoever. I had to pay a sizeable premium after delivery to have it upgraded.
Saab should take a lead from the excellent CD in the new Toyota Avensis, and get the best available sound system fitted in all new cars. By the way, the upgraded system is just about OK.
So, watch out for the rubbish radio/CD, but otherwise go and buy a 9-3 Sport Wagon now - they're fantastic.
This is my third and final update on a car I just want to get rid of.
It has been towed away three times and has been at Saab for more days than I care to remember, although it has not broken down for a few months. The car is terrible and so has been the Saab/GM response.
The problems endemic within the software in the dashboard and engine management system are shameful - I design real-time software systems, these problems should not happen. It also has a design feature that the engine tries to catch up to its idle speed when the accelerator is not depressed - not very safe!
The car has too many problems to mention and I cannot wait to get rid of it, the only positive thing for me is that it is a company car, so I did not part with about £25,000 for it.
I will never touch a Saab again, it's the worst car I have ever had.
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