2005 Saab 9-3 Overview

9-3

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2005 Saab 9-3 Overview

Saab has continued to make adjustments to the 9-3 lineup for 2005, but this year's changes are a bit less significant. The lineup expands from five to six variations, due to the addition of a entry-level convertible. A DVD-based navigation system has also been added to the options roster.

Both the sedan and convertible are now available in all three 9-3 trims: Linear, Arc and Aero. All styles come well-equipped, with items like full power accessories, leather seats, heated mirrors, cruise control, anti-theft and steering wheel audio controls. Safety features include stability control, traction control, ABS and front side airbags.

There are two powerplant options for the 9-3. Both are turbocharged variations of a 2.0-liter inline 4-cylinder. The Linear sedan and convertibles are powered by a more modest version, with 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque. A 5-speed manual transmission is paired with this engine, while a 5-speed automatic is optional. Fuel economy is estimated at 23/34 mpg. The Arc and Aero both upgrade a to more powerful turbo, good for 210 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. The Arc comes with a 5-speed manual, while the Aero gets a 6-speed.

Owners and reviewers have commented that the 9-3 handles adequately, and the ride quality is better than many other cars in its class. The 9-3's front-wheel drivetrain is a factor in overall performance, but these entry-level Saabs do handle quite well for FWD cars. According to reviewers, the overall driving experience is also hampered by rather unresponsive steering. Owners have commented that the 9-3's interior lacks an upscale feel that one might expect, even in an entry-level luxury car. The dash, console and doors are laden with plastic, and even the upgraded stereo is not very powerful. Although the 9-3 comes with most of the necessary luxury features, reviewers suggest that the Japanese and German competitors will offer better interior ambiance. Favorite features include styling, trunk space and fuel economy.

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