Although the original Saab 9-3 SportCombi was launched some 10 years ago in 2005, the styling feels as fresh today as it did back then. With its 2008 facelift, it easily manages to hold its own alongside virtually any other prestigious estate out there today.
In 2009 Saab launched the 9-3X – a Crossover AWD version of the SportCombi with a few rugged styling enhancements. Sturdy wheel arches and side skirts designed to protect the car from mud and gravel, an enlarged front grille, detailed skid plates front & rear, chunky twin exhaust, aluminium roof bars and an extra 35mm added to the ride height.
Although launched as a petrol AWD version, Saab couldn’t afford to connect their exceptionally capable TTID4 engine with the necessary running gear, so the 9-3X TTID was only ever available with 2 wheel drive.
Our previous SportCombi had handled our lifestyle well; city commuting, school runs and fast motorway jaunts one day, rough, muddy potholed farm tracks and forests the next, but it was fast approaching 200,000 miles, so we decided to invest in a new one. We initially searched for an Aero, but couldn’t help falling for the rugged charm of the 9-3X, not being an AWD didn’t bother us, as our old SportCombi never failed us in any situation.
We ended up with a gorgeous 2010 9-3X TTID, Hirsch upgraded to 200bhp with full sport leather and Sat Nav – it really is an amazing Saab. Refined handling, slightly softer than standard SportCombis, wonderfully comfortable on our erratic UK road surfaces, exceptionally responsive, and amazingly, we’re averaging a whopping 53mpg, often achieving high 600+ miles per tank.
The 9-3X is a pretty rare sight here in the UK, and we’re proud to own one, it suits our lifestyle well, just as at home in the city as it is ploughing down muddy tracks with mountain bikes up top, it may have come late to the crossover scene, but when Saab did something, they did it perfectly.