2009 Saab 9-3 Aero XWD — The GarageBlog.com
From Jan-Willem Vester
Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications
2009 Saab 9-3 Aero XWD – The Garage Blog
By Gary Grant — January 4, 2009
I have to admit that I’ve always been a bit of a sucker for offbeat cars. Let’s face it, a car with a few design quirks just has more personality than your neighbour’s WonderBread minivan. The strange thing is that the more recent varieties of Saab just haven’t jumped out and grabbed my attention as much as the early 900 Turbo models did way back when.
Even still, the cars have a loyal following and have maintained a certain amount of Swedishness under the direction of The General. I was pretty excited to know that I would have more than the usual 1 week with our 2009 Saab Aero XWD Sport Sedan over the Christmas holidays.
Like many reviewers, I just couldn’t ignore the cool factor that comes with a car that shares its name and lineage with fighter jets. Unfortunately, there aren’t any Viggen fighters close by for a photo shoot so a cold war era F86 Sabre on a stick would have to do. The Saab’s subtly aggressive styling certainly looks the part sharing space with the American fighter jet.
Thanks to a 280 horsepower, 2.8l V6 the 93 Aero launches hard just like a fighter while the turbo woosh above 5,000 rpm sounds just like a Navy catapult. If you are a little creative. All those ponies make it to all 4 wheels via a 6 speed manual tranny or an optional 6 speed automatic like our tester. The autobox helps keep things civilized in peace time, though I’m sure the manual would be much more fun.
Our tester had been shod with a brand new set of Hankook winter tires which allowed the XWD to bite in even the worst snow December had to offer. With 4 inches of snow on the road, I was able to launch the car off the line with a minimum of intrusion from the traction control. In the slippy stuff, the 93 was sure footed through just about everything. Perhaps my only complaint would be that I couldn’t find an off switch for the electronic nannies. For most drivers this is probably a good thing.
In the cabin is where the Saab quirkiness becomes more evident mixed in to a cleanly designed Eurostyle interior. Soft leather, high quality metal and plastics all go together to make a very quiet and comfortable cockpit that coddles the driver’s inner fighter pilot. Over designed bits abound. An articulated cupholder looks wonderful as it unfolds from the dash, until you try to use it or the audio aux in plug. Another cool cupholder is hiding in the front of the rear seat. Just don’t plan on putting one of the kids in the middle seat. Over two and a half weeks, I still haven’t gotten used to the ignition switch in the center console.
Perhaps the only place on earth that is more hockey focused than Canada is Sweden, so I expected the 93 to ace our 3 hockey bag test. Not so. Now granted, our boys got bigger hockey bags this year, but to put 2 bags in the trunk along with our other flotsam we had to fold down the back seats. One nice feature is that those back seats do fold down to a flat surface, making organizing cargo much easier.
Overall, the 09 Saab 93 Aero XWD is a comfortable, capable Euro sedan with the soul of fighter jet with just enough design details to keep the Saab purists interested. Like I said, quirky stuff adds personality.