What do 161,000 miles look like in a Saab?

SvsS_Saab 9-3 MilageSvsS_Saab 9-3 Interior SideSvsS_Saab 9-3 Interior From FrontSvsS_Saab 9-3 Interior DetailSvsS_Saab 9-3 Door PanelSvsS_Saab 9-3 GearsSvsS_Saab Signs of wear

When I tell people the mileage on our SportCombi, I usually get asked the same questions – how does it drive, and how does it look and feel?

The first is easy, it drives beautifully and without fault, everything works superbly, it feels tight, the gear change is reassuringly smooth and it really is a pleasure to drive.

So, how does it look and feel?

161,000 miles isn’t a huge amount for a Saab; the members of the High Mile Club prove this, but generally, all but the best marques have a tendency to show their miles rather unflatteringly. Obviously Saabs aren’t impermeable to wear and tear, however, with a little care, their design and build quality really do hold up superbly.

I treated our 2007 TiD SportCombi to a well deserved interior valet today, and as I stood back and admired my labour, I was seriously impressed with how it’s standing up to the daily family abuse and mileage we throw at it.

I thought I’d share a few photos just to show why I’m impressed. The cream leather of the sports seats is aging well, the drivers seat is worn slightly, (I’ve seen far worse on a car with 16,000), the glove box button is losing its rubber coating, the aluminium gear knob insert is slightly worn, and a small thread is coming loose on the steering wheel stitching.

None of us really know how long a car will last, how long is will remain reliable, but I can’t see any reason why it won’t stay like this for another few hundred thousand miles. If we did change, it would only be replaced with another Saab SpotCombi with a few less miles, so for now, I’ll continue to enjoy watching the miles go by in superb comfort.

SvsS_Saab 9-3 Exterior Full Side

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Unmistakable

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Catch a glimpse of a Saab, whether in a film, on the road, or in a driveway, completely hidden except for the smallest of details, and you automatically know it’s a Saab.

The more you look at the design, the more you realise just how unique these cars are, from the shape of the panels and curves of glass, to the lights, door handles and wheels.

I enjoyed taking a few photos of our SportCombi over the weekend, small details yes, but ones that combine to make our Saabs unmistakable.

The Saab SportCombi, designed for living, built for life.

SvsS_Rich SportCombi copy

Early on in the life of Saab vs. a great guy called Rich sent me a photo of a SportCombi he’d just bought, he’s been a regular here ever since, thanks Rich.

Earlier this week, he kindly sent me another picture of his superb SportCombi taken on a recent trip to the Peak District. You’ll note the addition of loaded bike racks, we both agree that, for some reason, they just add to the style of the SportCombi. They seem to help reflect the lifestyle SAAB designed the car for – for living, getting out there and enjoying everything nature can throw at us, and all in exceptional SAAB style.

60k under it’s belt, a recent service and as tight as the day it was driven out of the showroom. Still loving these Hirsch alloys, gorgeous car. Thanks again Rich.

SportCombi Design Study

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Cleaning cars may be a thankless task at this time of year, but looking on the bright side, you get to admire the car’s design in detail.

Giving the SportCombi a scrub up over the weekend, I yet again, found myself smiling. No matter how many other estate cars I see on the road, old or new, none have the same individuality or beauty of the Saab 9-3.

The form of the elegant rear lights, the curve of the rear windscreen, the simple, brushed chrome strip, all combine to give the Saab unique style amongst a sea of rather bland alternatives. All this from a design that’s been around for the past 10 years or so. I’m truly hoping that NEVS are able to honour this long standing design uniqueness and give us a Saab SportCombi that, yet again leads the way.

Note the reflection of the photographer, I was being extremely lazy and couldn’t be bothered the move the 900 to get a better shot, saying that, I turned around and caught a glimpse of the 900’s interior, roll on Spring.

SvsS_900 in the way

Saab Snow Grilles

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I couldn’t resist taking a couple of photos of the Saab grilles covered with snow. I always feel as though these cars are at home in extreme weather conditions.

Photographing in this detail reminded me that even with 20 years between our 900 and 9-3 the SAAB wordmark has remained consistent. It’s also reassuring to know that NEVS has considered it a powerful enough brand to keep the core wordmark the same too.

The SportCombi gets serious about rubber

Another week, and another Saab story to share.

Driving back from the airport last weekend in the SportCombi, we had the unfortunate luck of suffering a blow out –¬† one of the rear Bridgestone tyres completely gave up the ghost. Luckily though, we had just pulled off the motorway, and my son and I were able to hop out and change the offending tyre for the spacesaver which carried us all safely home.

This morning, I arranged to have 2 new rear tyres fitted, but as it turned out, these weren’t my worst type problem. I regularly check the tyres on all three Saabs, I hadn’t done a thorough enough job on the SportCombi, as although the tread depth was still legal, the far inner (hidden) edges of both front tyres were literally close to exploding; the rubber had begun to pull away and reveal the inner thread, not good.

Two hours later, nearly four hundred pounds worse off, and the SportCombi is a happy, safe Saab again, it’s also had some tracking alterations to ensure the new front tyres don’t suffer the same fate again in the near future.

When things like this happen, it serves to remind me just how important taking care of tyres are. One of the reasons I love Saabs is their superior safety, however, they still depend on 4 simple cylinders of rubber to keep my family safe, and at speeds Saabs are happy at, you can never underestimate their importance.

So what rubber best suits a Saab? Although I worship the handling and refinement of the Michelin Pilot Sport PS2’s on my 9-3 saloon, I’ve become increasingly impressed with the all round capabilities of Kumho’s.

I recently put a full set on the Carlsson alloys for the 900, and the Mercedes Coupe before that, and they’ve performed faultlessly; great handing in both wet and dry conditions, extremely quiet, and a very attractive tread pattern. Although not cheap, the Kumho’s do represent a saving over say the Michelins and seem to suit Saabs well, so the SportCombi now proudly sits on a set of Kumho ECSTA LE Sport KU39’s.

I’ll report on their longevity in a few thousand miles, but until then, the SportCombi’s looking good with its new rubber.

Lusting after SAABBS, when I should know better

Just recently, I’ve found myself lusting after things I shouldn’t, after all, I’m extremely loyal and should really be satisfied with what I have.

Our 9-3 SportCombi sits on a very nice set of 17 inch Saab alloys, and I believe Saab designed the most beautiful wheels of any automotive brand (another future post I think) but after some wayward behaviour with choosing Hirsch alloys for my 9-3 saloon, I’m beginning to question my own loyalty – and it’s happening again.

The focus of my displaced loyalty; the very sexy BBS CH alloys, I capture glimpses of beautiful Saabs adorned with them and I have to stop and stare, I can’t help myself.

I apologise in advance to anyone who’s Saab is featured here, I get excited, grab an image, and then forget where I found it, it’s all perfectly innocent, it’s just those BBS wheels look so fantastic.

I’ll have to persuade myself that I’m not being disloyal first, but I can see our SportCombi being treated to a set of them some time in the future.