Why SAAB vs Scepticism?

I love cars, always have done, from my earliest Tonka trucks and Scalextric through to Silverstone classic days and RAC rallies in the Kielder Forest with my Dad; love them.

It seems that since I was 18, this passion for cars gained momentum, and because there are so many nice cars to try, why stay with just one, you need to try lots; in fact so far I’ve had 50 in 22 years!

i’ve owned Alfa Romeos, Audis, BMW’s (fifteen of them – 1, 3 and 5 series), Jaguar, Lancia, Mercedes, the list goes on, but in all that time, the 6 SAAB’s I’ve owned have a very special place.

There’s just something about the way they feel, you start off by enjoying the more cosmetic side of car ownership; the fact that it’s far more of an individual choice, they look a little different. And from my own experience, the dealers and specialists I’ve ever dealt with, aren’t arrogant, they’re all friendly and all love SAAB’s too.

Then, after living with SAAB’s for a while, you begin to appreciate the finer points of both design and engineering, SAAB’s are a great place to be; the seats are by far the best for comfort and support; the heated versions warm up faster than any other. The unique gadgets such as the night panel and butterfly cup holders turn out to be the best gadgets ever, because they work beautifully, day in, day out.

Then, of course we come to the Turbos; for daily driving, SAAB engines make life easy. In cities, they’re well-behaved, and can comfortably move around at 5 mph, but then when you hit the outskirts of the city, give it a prod and it comes to life. A surge of power hits just when you want it, and for overtaking in safety, there’s nothing better (well, maybe the M5 I had, but that aside).

For all these sceptics out there, live with a SAAB for a few days, and you’ll soon understand why they are so loved. This blog is going to be a long test review of a 2011 9-3 TTiD.

Saab vs. Scepticism

36 thoughts on “Why SAAB vs Scepticism?

  1. Cool – couldn’t agree more. Just taken delivery of my fourth Saab – a six months old, lovely white Aero 1.9TTiD. This time I’ve added some nice options – inspired in part by your excellent photos – Hirsch engine upgrade, Aero grill, diffuser, sports springs, carbon leather interior, steering wheel, pedals.

    Hirsch adds a dynamic look and feel to an already sporty car.

    Happy days.

    • Alan, well done, this is great news, exactly why I set up Saab vs. Scepticism – to help other people choose one of these amazing cars.
      I’m sure you’ll enjoy the SAAB as much as I do.

      I’d love to see a photo of yours when you get a moment. I’ll put a quick a post about it on the blog.

      Thanks for the comment, they make me stick at it.

  2. Pingback: Glamour one day, work the next. « Saab vs. Scepticism

  3. Just bought my first but much anticipated Saab,a 93 aero sportwagon ttid 180 with the hirsch 200 upgrade……thanks for your blog which has increased my anticipation!

      • Pick her up next week…can’t wait!

        I’ll post some pics ASAP but she is beautiful with her 19″ hirsche wheels setting off the bright red paint….a dream come true for me.

  4. Picked her up yesterday….what an astonishing car and I was pleased to discover she has the hirsch upgrades to her brakes and suspension together with the 200 bhp software mapping……..

  5. @elevencreative, how come when you have a new post I don’t get an email?? I think on my page when I submit a post it says it’s sending to my followers to notify, maybe I’m wrong or my settings are…. anyway, nice look to your page.

  6. Feel happy to find here, I come from China and now in Atlanta GA, finding this blog looks like finding the home or the place where saab lovers belong to. The beautiful photos and accurate reviews are so attractable. Actually there are lots of people in China love saab as well, we build our own BBS and share photos, reviews and any information about saab. Currently, I am planing to buy a white 08 saab 93 sport wagon, hopefully I will get this car with a good condition. Could you please give me some advice that I can take care about when I check the car’s condition?
    Best regards

    • Hi Tony

      Really glad you found Saab vs Scepticism, I try to keep it fresh and unpolitical, it’s all about Saab’s and Saab culture, it’s about sharing the love.

      Atlanta GA, what an amazing place to call home, only 4 hours drive from one of my favourite places – Savannah. When you find your new Saab, that would be a great test drive 🙂

      I’m not the best person the give technical advice (I leave it to my local Saab dealer) but having owned a number of 9-3’s, there are a couple of specific things I look for every time:

      Full Saab Service with very regular oil changes
      Timing belt changed at 60k or below
      Check all electrics including windows, air con, drivers information panels etc

      I also think a good sign of care, is the drivers seat bolster, these crush easily, ones that have been well looked after are (generally) a good sign

      Sorry, not the best advice, but a good 2008 SportCombi should be easy to find, our 2007 has 150k on now, amazing car, drives perfectly and just flew through its MOT (the UK’s annual car test).

      Good luck, send in a could of pictures when you find one, we’d all love to see it.

      • Thank you very much, the advice is so helpful and I really appreciate.
        I never imagine that my comments can be replied so quickly and feel so good by hearing you and your kind and sincere responding. I will check the sportcombi with my friends tomorrow and hopefully I can buy it finally. Saab is my dream car even though the bankrupt of the company. I always tell my family and friends that if I cannot buy a saab I would rather buy nothing currently because now I still have chance to get a saab but after a few years I afraid that there will not be an appropriate one on market, especially in US or in China.
        Once I have some pictures about the combi I will send them to you and share with you guys.

      • Glad to be able to offer advice to another Saab lover, good luck over the weekend, and I look forward to seeing a few pictures of your new 9-3 SportCombi.

        Personal choice, but the roof rails on the SportCombi really enhance the roof profile, they’re not on all, but when you see the difference, you’ll see what I mean 🙂

  7. I check the sportcombi with my friends this afternoon and we think the wagon is so nice. I do follow your advice to check the car and feel very good. The dealer gives me the driveaway price be $16,000 which including all taxes and fees and the car is with 42,000 miles. I am still considering this one and I also found another 2010 saab 9-3 seden which charges $18,000 (driveaway price) with 10,200 miles. So I feel a bit confused about my decision haha…Oh I think I can give you the saab BBS in China and this link includes many nice pictures which I always review. http://www.xcar.com.cn/bbs/viewthread.php?tid=16898067, hopefully you will enjoy the pictures even if the Chinese you might not understand.

    • I’m going to have to take a few B&W images next I think, thank you for the link, nice Saabs.

      I absolutely love my 9-3 Saloon, so that year, price and milage, I think I’d have been grinning from ear to ear. Then again, the SportCombis look seriously smart lowered slightly with a nice set od alloys, hard choice.

      Look forward to seeing it, and thanks for the running commentry.

    • Thank you, comments like that really do help. Have had a great response to the blog, and currently trying to share some of the High Mile stories too, amazing community, i’m proud to be a poart of.

  8. I’m seriously considering buying a 95 aero, it has 131000 on the clock, but the price is right. Comes from SaabTec, who apparently have a good reputation. It will drink a lot more fuel than my current car, but has all the extras you expect on a saab. Waht do you guys think?

    • Hi, If you’ve followed SvsS for a while, you’ll know how much I personally love the 9-5 Aero, amazing cars. Everyone will have their own ways of judging a good one, but I tend to check that it’s had regular oil changes by someone who knows Saabs, that it pulls as well as it should mid range (with no smoke) and that it’s rattle free (odd I know, but I have my reasons).

      At 131k from somewhere like SaabTec, I’d be seriously tempted too, I was getting an average mpg of 28 out of my 9-5 Aero. Anyway, if you go for it, I’d love to post some pictures, good luck, and let me know.

  9. Stumbled onto your page this morning over coffee. Your words brilliantly echo my thoughts and feelings about SAAB. From the first time I saw an old tank of a 99 digging out of a snowbank, front wheels churning on a cold, snowy Minnesota winter morning, I have been fascinated and charmed by all things SAAB. 40 years on, I have owned many and I’m currently loving my third 9-5 aero S/C (also 9-3 vt., & SPG). Look forward to your postings & happy SAABing!

  10. Have to agree with you, I love the cars, I am on my second Saab 93. this time its a 1.9 ttid 160. saving up for the Hirsch upgrade and steering wheel, but I’ll get there

  11. on my 13th..! we now have a 95 Waggon and a 93 Convertible… so we can cover all events… the 95 is amazing… Ive shifted bookcases, beds, wardrobes and even a piano inside… and as for the 93 its such fun on a sunny day I dont get my Harley out anymore..! 😉

  12. Hi,

    Love the blog…had a look after having seen your car featured on the Saabtala site recently…totally agree with your comments about the Saab dealers and specialists. We’ve now been dealing with the same Saab garage for 12 years and I’ve always felt they are different from any others, almost like a family; and as for the cars themselves, well, in a class of their own. We’ve had 7 Saabs over the past 12 years and currently have a 9-3 convertible and a 9-3 TTiD Sportwagon, can’t ever imagine getting rid of them. Look forward to following your blog.

    Kind regards,

    George McGuinness

    • Thanks again George, nice Saab combo by the way. I think we’re on our 9th Saab now, but starting to lose count 🙂 Keep in touch, and if you fancy sending in a photo of your Saab to share, that’s great.

      • Hi Paul,

        Thanks for your kind comments, can’t ever imagine getting rid of either of the cars…myself and my brother share them and try do so fairly, but it doesn’t always work out that way!

        I decided to send you a few photos of each one as you suggested…considering getting the 18″ turbine alloys fitted to the convertible as its summer treat, so will let you know if(probably more like when) I do so…

        Keep up the great work with your blog, its great to see the huge level of interest in Saab.

        Kind regards,


        p.s. the convertible photos are from May this year and the Sportwagon from last November… Sent from my Hudl

        “Saab vs. Scepticism” wrote:

        > a:hover { color: red; } a { text-decoration: none; color: #0088cc; } a.primaryactionlink:link, a.primaryactionlink:visited { background-color: #2585B2; color: #fff; } a.primaryactionlink:hover, a.primaryactionlink:active { background-color: #11729E !important; color: #fff !important; } /* @media only screen and (max-device-width: 480px) { .post { min-width: 700px !important; } } */ WordPress.com Saab vs. Scepticism commented: “Thanks again George, nice Saab combo by the way. I think we’re on our 9th Saab now, but starting to lose count 🙂 Keep in touch, and if you fancy sending in a photo of your Saab to share, that’s great.”

  13. Hello,
    I am glad to see someone being so passionate about cars. I happened to be affected by love to certain make, and it was not a Saab, but I remember that love being about same size 🙂

    I have never tried Saabs in my life. The list of cars I have tried is too long, but between many MPowers (e30,e36,e34,e46), S-CARS(C4,B5), 8 STI’s and 5 EVO’s, and many now and then, I came to realization that I am not finding any enjoyment in newer cars. Now, after my daily driven Subaru is about to die with its 238k miles, I am looking for something new (and old) … and cheap. Since I am stuck in USA for good, I started reviewing what Saab models were brought overseas. Surprisingly, not that bad comparing to other European or Japanese makes. Some Viggens, some Aero’s, and even some manual trannies!.
    I am still checking on how the GM possession affected the Saab altogether, but seems like the cars were still pretty solid.
    I honestly admit I have plenty of knowledge about cars, but very basic about Saabs. I have spent some time in Sweden and Norway in my life, and I admire Scandinavian design (this comes from the architect 🙂 ). I cannot say anything about engineering.

    If I have your attention, considering you are around saabs for so long, could you please direct me which car would be recommende and which one should be avoided?

    Anyway, the facts:
    – Models and options here are rather limited. 99% cars are automatics 😦
    – 99% of population do not care about cars and fix them only after they stop running.
    – Saabs mostly were sold in northern states, which means they have seen plenty of salt during winter time. Read: rust.
    – Most of mechanics, while changing oil use oil, any oil, rarely synthetic. Read: sludge.

    What I would like (from the most desired):
    1. Black 2000 Saab Aero Station Wagon – 2.3T 230HP. Would not like to have newer one, unless there was significant improvement which kept them reliable.
    Available engines here:
    2.3T 170HP
    2.3T 230HP aero and only available in manual
    3.0T 200HP
    Which one is the most reliable

    2. Viggen, no convertible.
    2.3T 230HP

    3. 2006/7 Saab 9-3
    2.8T V6 250HP.

    I am open for other models but I would really like to have manual, even though I don’t see the automatics to fail in these.
    Please let me know your thoughts.

    • Hi, you sound a lot like me, there are just so many cars out there to drive, especially great Saabs 🙂

      First off, from experience, I’ve had no problem with either manual or auto Saabs, if fact autos are wonderfully smooth and great to drive in heavy, city traffic, saying that, if you really love driving, manual is the only way to go.

      The Aero Sportwagons are truly stunning and so lifestyle practical, the 2.3T engines are exceptionally reliable and easy to tune too.

      I’ve had little experience with the 3.0T and it somehow feels less Saab, you won’t get the immediacy you get with the 2.0 / 2.3T engines.

      The 2.8T V6 are wonderful and together with the Viggen, would be my choice of the ones you’ve mentioned.

      Viggen, again, truly amazing Saabs, but can be a lot to handle without some mods, Abbott Racing here in the UK do a really good rescue kit, you’ll need it together with tighter suspension and upgraded brakes if you can. The rewards are worth it though, rare Saabs and amazing fun to drive.

      Overall, if you can find a Saab that has been maintained by a Saab specialist, they’ll have done the bits other mechanics just don’t know about.

      Not seen many Saabs with rust either.

      Really hope this long response helps, you;ll find other SvsS readers might have more insight to add too if we ask nicely (please?)

      Good luck, and send me a photo of whatever Saab you opt for, i’ll share with everyone.

      • Thank you for your prompt response. I am slowly looking around in hopes to find something. I am in no rush, especially that next 2 months are booked full with exams and one trip overseas. I am planning to attend a relatively big anual european car meet in Pennsylvania, which is widely known for Saab enthusiasts’ GTG. You would enjoy that one. I have attended one few years ago with my audi and was amazed by amount of interesting cars in Saab section. This year, I will try to get kids and wifey and make it a nice family event :). It will also be occassion for me to learn more about these and look at them in person.
        I sure will present my car if I end up with Saab.

        I am not planning in spending a fortune. I am done with expensive cars I have to worry about all the time. And tyese poor Saabs are so readily available with so much so offer for so little. I think I want to get one :):)

  14. Hi…great to hear people still being attracted by the Saab brand and nowadays more than ever, I’m sure we all still notice the sheer number of Saabs still on the roads! Only the other day I was in our local Lidl supermarket carpark(and it’s a relatively small one!)…and there were 3 Saabs parked in close proximity! And today I was in my cousin’s Mercedes GLA AMG, which is a fantastic car, but just doesn’t fill me with the same excitement as driving one of our Saabs! We’ve been Saab owners now for 13 years and I’m sure whatever Saab you choose, you’ll be delighted with it and its individual styling which still stands out among many of today’s bland offerings. Wishing you all the best in your search. 🙂

  15. Loving your website, having been a previous Aero lover, I have found my way back after several years V’8ing it. Now the owner of a low miles (42k) 2007/8 9-3 aero 2.8T and really enjoying being back. I still cannot believe that Saab are gone and I’ve had a few comments of why I’ve decided to go back to owning one (surely parts are hard to come by and expensive etc etc). Whenever anyone is in the car they do comment on how well put together they are and that they pull well with bags of smooth power and are whisper quiet. Anyways, I am looking after her well and have put some tasteful upgrades in place (19inch RS6 alloys, rear Hirsch diffuser – to be fitted and a rear discreet boot spoiler) and would send some images if interested, just not sure how to upload them?

  16. Found your website while looking for information about creaky Saab suspension,
    Bought my first Saab, a 2004 Aero estate, a year ago, owned many other makes but I’d never really considered a Saab before, but it was £600, so I took a punt on it, probably one of my best decisions ever. lovely to drive, especially long distance, I have a weekly 120 mile commute to work and it makes light work of it. Love the punch of the turbo a bit too much. the whole car seem really well put together, the bits you’d expect to show a bit of wear and tear for a 140k, 12 years old car, like switches and trim, especially in the drivers area are still intact and working .
    Have spend quite a bit on maintenance, but some of that is catching up on the lack of maintenance it had in the recent past, but you’re right about about Specialist Saab garages being helpful and friendly, at least the one I found is.
    Just a shame it’s taken me this long to own a Saab.

    • Sounds like you’ve got the Saab bug too, these cheaper Saabs can offer ridiculously great value and style way beyond their cost. Look after it, maintain it well and it’ll last for a good few years, specialist really are the way to go! Well done and thanks for sharing.

  17. I hope this comment isn’t too long.. But it’s my SAAB story.. So far..

    I own a Mitsubishi Evo 8 for over 8 years now and love the car to no end. The millage is getting up there and the value of the Evo is going up all the time so I sought out a 2nd car for my work commute.

    I was trying to figure out what would be a good car to get, being I drive an Evo and I would really miss the power and performance if I got anything else really.. So I started thinking about something that for one Had to be turbo charged and for two, had to be cool enough for me to want to drive lol… Started considering a used Audi A4 or a Subaru WRX.. Then I thought of my brother-in-laws SAAB that he never drives.
    Original owner, 15 years old now and it just sits there. Asked my sister if he would be interested in selling it..

    Next thing you know I am the proud owner of a 2003 SAAB 9-3 Vector, Laser red, fully loaded with only 33k miles on it in 2018. Practically brand new. I paid $3,500 for the car which is a ridiculous value for what it is.
    The car is great and grows on me more and more. I love that it’s kind of rare now.
    Going from a rally inspired sport sedan to a semi-luxurious sport sedan, I can appreciate all the comforts and neat options this car has to offer.
    The 9-3 has become my new hobby.. I’ve had it for 3 months now and I am customizing it to my liking.
    Mods thus far:
    I lowered the car 1.4″ on H&R springs
    UV protection and Heat reduction tinted windows @ 20%
    Replaced the front bumper moldings without parking lights
    I painted the black body moldings to match the body paint
    Added a small roof spoiler also matching body color
    De-Badged the trunk to give the car an overall cleaner and more modern look
    Had the AUX input activated via TECH2

    I have lots more plans and ideas for the future.. Shopping for wheels now and it’s taking me forever to find the right size and fit and look for the car but going to go with something sporty and black..
    Also plan a sporty exhaust and ECU tune to get some added HP..
    After the fancy new footwork is installed I shall return to post pics! 🙂
    Thanks for taking a moment to read my SAAB story.

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