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Saab Best Overall Brand Buy – Autropolis.Com

From Jan-Willem Vester
Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications

Saab Best Overall Brand Buy – Driving Smart with Sheryll Alexander

By Sheryll Alexander – September 18, 2008 

It’s too bad Saab is often an overlooked brand because this GM-owned Scandinavian automaker has it all: fun to drive, above average fuel economy, safety that rivals its nemesis Volvo and even sexy good looks.

Another reason to buy Saab?  The price and fuel economy. The MSRP of a base Saab 9-3 is just $28,835. And, seven of Saab’s 9-3 models get 27 mpg or better.

Last year, I spent a few days with Saab executives at uber hip Tower 23 on San Diego’s Pacific Beach. There, I unknowingly met legendary Swedish racer Erik Carlsson in the elevator. “My knees hurt,” says this old, yet spry guy as we were lifted up to the ocean view third floor. Only later at the hip poolside cocktail party did I learn why Carlsson’s knees blew out: decades of driving his big frame in Saab rally cars with a string of wins including back-to-back victories at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1962 and 1963.

That history of performance via Saab’s jet and racing roots now features cross-wheel drive (XWD) technology. “True to its Scandinavian origins, Saab has built a large part of its reputation on excellent road manners under difficult driving conditions like rain, sleet and snow,” says Saab general manager Steve Shannon. “Our new cross-wheel-drive technology, which delivers unprecedented levels of driver involvement and dynamic chassis control, further illustrates Saab’s commitment to offering active safety in sporty, efficient and driver-focused vehicles.”

What is cross wheel drive? Saab explains it as a “pre-emptive engagement of the rear wheels to optimize traction at take-off” and “an electronically controlled rear limited-slip differential (eLSD) that allows variable torque transfer between the rear wheels.”

Now I don’t drive in much rain and no sleet or snow. My road test tracks are located on pristine stretchs of California’s sunny Orange County coastline. But I’ve road tested enough Saab 9-3s and 9-5s to know that Saab vehicles have excellent handling and can be comparable to its competition in BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, VW and Volvo. Saab handling has that rare combination of thrilling, sporty and agile.

For 2009 models, CWD is available on Saab 9-3 2.0T Sport Sedan, SportCombi and its new 2.0T Sport. (CWD was featured on 2008 model 9-3s including the Aero V6 and the limited edition Turbo X Sport Sedan and Sport Combi.)

If you are thinking about buying a 2009 Saab, here’s a look at the lineup of sedans and sport wagons:

Saab 9-3 2.0T Sport Sedan

Saab 9-3 2.0T SportCombi

Saab 9-3 2.0T XWD Sport Sedan

Saab 9-3 2.0T XWD SportCombi

Saab 9-3 Aero V6T XWD Sport Sedan

Saab 9-3 Aero V6T XWD SportCombi

Saab 9-3 2.0T Convertible

Saab 9-3 Aero V6T Convertible

Saab 9-5 2.3T Sedan

Saab 9-5 2.3T SportCombi

Saab 9-5 Aero Sedan

Saab 9-5 Aero SportCombi

And finally in 2009, Saab has broken out of the sport sedan mode to bring drivers a mid-sized SUV. Saab’s 9-7X seems destined to bring all of Saab’s economy, performance and good looks to the luxury SUV market.

The 2009 Saab 9-7X comes in Aero (MSRP $47,425), 4.2i (MSRP $40,935) and 5.3i ($43,665) models.  A limited edition 9-7X Altitude Edition is offered in the 4.2i and 5.3i models and includes touch screen infotainment and NAV systems, 18-inch alloy wheels and carbon flash as well as the diamond silver metallic color.
More statistics found at:

Showing Saab’s commitment to alternative fuels, the brand has been taking its 2008 Saab 9-X BioHybrid on a national tour this year. In fact, Saab’s 9-X BioHybrid was voted “Specialty Concept Car of the Year” by a panel of prestigious North American automotive journalists.

Saab also says the 9-X BioHybrid was built for a younger driver and, therefore, places emphasis on what I believe is the future in cars: “progressive looks, responsible performance and high-tech communications, all in a sporty, fun-to-drive package. “

Now that’s a perfect description of what makes Saab a best overall brand buy.

Sheryll Alexander is a lifestyles writer based in Costa Mesa, California 

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