Saab review: Saab 9-3 1.8t sports combination deer

Are we satisfied? Yes, it is us, we have now covered 6000 kilometers with the Saabine and have not regretted our purchase at any time. The small 150 PS engine in the Saab 9-3 is a gem, but in combination with the high vehicle weight requires a dedicated gear, you want to be fast on the road.

Remedy comes from Switzerland by Hirsch Performance, 195 horsepower and 310 instead of 240 NM are the goal. Our performance update was carried out in Frankfurt at the Saab center, at the same time an engine block heater was installed for the cold season. The price of a good 1.300,00 € for the Hirschkur is not a special offer, with other brands, there is more power for less money. So is the update from Switzerland worth its money?

Rene Hirsch, the Saab pet tuner, and his crew have invested a lot of tweaking in the small 9-3 engine. Even in the lower rpm range, everything happens with a little more emphasis and also in city traffic, the whole feels a little better and, above all, richer. The turbo is very harmonious and cultured to the point. If you want a performance album, as Hirsch does on some old Saab 9-5, you will be disappointed. Because everything happens very unspectacular. But, today, few want to feel that they are driving a turbo. Perfection is the order of the day, which definitely fulfills Hirsch's performance.

The big hour for consciousness to have made a good investment comes on the highway. Before the performance cure, the gear with number 4 was used to accelerate and the number 6 was - yes, actually - just boring.

Now you can voluntarily get into gear number 5, accelerate, continue on gear number 6 and realize with astonishment that you can accelerate in this gear well. The ride on the West German highway is relaxed, because you can drive quite schaltfaul due to the power reserves.

With stated 230 kilometers top speed Hirsch may have fallen a bit too optimistic. With a long run, in the morning at 3 clock on an empty highway, yes the runner from Sweden ever 230. But everything about 200 remains tough and a heavy station wagon is not a racing car even with 195 horses. However, our Saab 9-3 with 6000 kilometers has not even come in properly, according to our Saab experience, full performance is only achieved at higher mileages. Let's wait.

Won the long-distance fitness and in our eyes, the cure has succeeded. 100 points go to Switzerland.

After 6000 kilometers, there is also a little criticism of everyday usability in all praise. Since the Saab is moved by both my wife and me, it is different perspectives.

On the one hand, the operation of the tailgate, which does not have a well-defined pressure point and is not optimal for women's hands with corresponding fingernails is disturbing. Then missing in a car of this price range storage nets or compartments in the loading compartment, which are available at the competitor.

What strikes me after a long drive, that is whining at a high level, is the quality of the seats. In the current Saab 9-3 they are good, but, I'm sorry in Trollhättan, in the old Saab 9-5 I like the seats better. And that is the point where we disagree. The female faction sees it the other way around.

Another word for the space. The first row seat is great, the rear seats are only suitable for children on long journeys. 4 adults in the Saab 9-3 long-distance sports combination is possible but not advisable.

Always fun again, now after the deer upgrade even more, makes the Sabine on winding roads. The little Saab is very agile and curious, combined with the ingenious exhaust sound makes the 9-3 want more.

Is the Saab 9-3 1.8t Sports Suit to recommend ? Yes, you buy it with a manual gearbox.

Now we come to the Saab that I don't like. As written on Friday, my friend Silvio came by with a 9-3 convertible, 150 hp and automatic. "A terrible car," he said.

And he's right in my eyes. 150 hp, heavy convertible and this very strange automatic. That makes a lot of noise and a lot of frustration when accelerating. The kickdown increases the speed frequency, brings little power. We also missed the very “Saabige Sound” of our station wagon in the Cabriolet.

After a few kilometers I did not want to leave and put the box down. Point.

Is it a special problem of automatic and this engine? Or is the vote in the Cabriolet another than in the station wagon? Anyway, the convertible was nicely done with nice features, but in that case we were disappointed.

My 13 year old Saab 9000 is much more fun with its antique 4 automatic stages and 150 horses. Switch on, have a great sound and is well underway despite low performance.

So, eyes on the convertible purchase. Maybe take off with the 1.8t Cabriolet to Hirsch or another engine.

How our little station wagon beats in the winter is the next question. The test report continues.


More Saab reviews:

Saab 9-5 TTiD4 Vector XWD

Saab 9-3 TTiD4 Vector Sedan

Saab 9-3 TTiD4 Aero Sports Suit

40.000 kilometers with the Saab 9-5 Biopower

Saab 9-5 BioPower 2.3t Deer Performance

6 thoughts on "Saab review: Saab 9-3 1.8t sports combination deer"

  • blank

    Hi Tom,
    I'm reassured that you did not mean the 9-3 2.0 T Convertible, because that's a great car! Mine is MY 2007, about 73.000 km:

    I have had similar, but even more intense experiences on the autobahn or on the country road, as you did with your stagged Sabine ...

    So far I have had to replace 2x's low beam and right wheel bearing bulb.

    Greetings from EBE!

  • Saab 1.8t convertible

    At the height of the first crisis, my Opel / Saab dealer cut out the demonstration car in 2009 so that it just crashed ... and had a nice convertible on offer. Unfortunately 1.8t - lame, 5-speed automatic ... in addition, in an unusual sky blue but at least with a blue fabric roof and otherwise EVERYTHING in it - GPS, leather, electrical. Seats (a must because only those - completely incomprehensible - have a tilting seat).

    Honestly, the price was so hot I thought I would just buy it - and then put deer in. Upsala - the automatic now finds the right switching points, the kickdown makes sense, the 5th gear is a correct driving gear and reaches a good 240 on the speedometer.

    Ok, the sport mode is still inharmonious but convertible, 1.8t, Hirsch - it made me happy!

    • blank

      Hey Frank,

      Save the Saab day. I've already suspected the deer solves the problem. Thank you !

      • good Morning

        so I can only say yes ... the 150 HP and automatic machine is not recommended for the C. ... at 140-160km / h with cruise control on the track, only switching up and down was the order of the day ... so deer 1 and everything is fine! :-)
        He does not work like my old 9 / 5 with deer (ca230PS) but it's enough for a nice convertible!
        What seems completely pointless to me and was only used 2-3 times in 65Tkm is this really pointless "S-button" 🙂 So in the 9-5 it was very good, but here ... annoying without end!
        The exhaust sound is pretty thin anyway, but with Step 1 at least the turbo whistling comes back! 🙂 and whistle too ...

        Sunny greetings from Saxony ...

        PS: When we're at it ... I think the seats are just so-so ... and the “leather” is the last! It already looks worse than in the 9-5 / 9000 after more than 250 thousand kilometers…. stop OPEL crap…. but I - love her - my SAABINE! 🙂

        • blank

          .... stop OPEL crap…. but …..

          Have you ever looked at the leather in the Insignia? I do not think so ……….



          • ... I have, my best friend has one! 😉
            if you like it better ... then stop GM crap! which is also in the Opel ... 🙂

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