When it comes to the daily commute things can get rather monotonous to say the least – the same road, the same times, the same traffic…
I drive around 30 – 40 miles a day from home to my office and then back again in the evening, luckily, I’ve discovered 3 different routes to choose from.
THE FAST ROUTE
A duel carriageway offering minimal hassle, the ability to safely overtake slow trucks and never too much traffic until you hit the edge of the city. The 9-3 likes this route, it literally glides over the smooth surfaces, engine noise is exceptionally low and the diesel engine just seems to whisper its presence. Cabin noise levels are also generally refined, although I have noticed the occasional whistle at higher speeds when the winds are gusting, but never more.
I never fail to be impressed with the mid range power on offer with this car, the twin turbos all but eliminate turbo lag, and the Hirsch upgrade has given it a real punch. In most diesel engined cars i’ve driven recently, you find that towards the top of the rev range the pull dies off pretty sharply, but in the SAAB this just doesn’t seem to happen.
This will only excite certain people, but the sound the Hirsch duel exhaust makes under heavy accelerating, is divine; not something normally associated with a four cylinder diesel.
For long distances and simple motorway driving, the SAAB 9-3 offers exceptional comfort and relaxed refinement.
THE SLOW (BUT FAST) ROUTE
Once out of the city, I hit winding country roads pretty quickly, and although the surfaces aren’t as smooth, they’re so much more fun. Drop gears, accelerate and feel the sheer power of the 9-3 kick in (there’s that SAAB smile again). Corners come extremely quickly, and are an absolute joy with the Hirsch sport springs, 18″ alloys and Michelin Pilot Sport tyres, the car feels more like a Mini than a larger saloon, it just sticks to the bends.
Being Pheasant country, the upgraded Hirsch brakes are an essential, the SAAB seems to have unlimited stopping power when called upon, coming to a swift standstill to allow the Pheasant safe passage as it slowly crosses the road with not a care in the world.
I have noticed the odd soft rattle from the interior which i’d much prefer not to be there, but with how much pleasure this car provides, it’s a seriously small price to pay.
Considering how good this car is on motorways, it’s an absolute joy to drive on country roads too, this makes the SAAB 9-3 a great all rounder. You could say it has a split personality.
THE SLOW, SLOW ROUTE
Not much to say about this route, except that it offers by far the most picturesque drive home – sink into the soft, soft SAAB leather seats, pop on some Cinematic Orchestra and I’m in heaven, any pressures of work quickly drift away. If I fancy, I can stop and take a few photos against stunning backdrops, and having such a gorgeous car makes this an enjoyable treat when time allows.
Bring on many more journeys!