9-3 SportCombi

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2010 Saab 9-3 SportCombi Overview

The 2010 Saab 9-3 SportCombi wagon rolls into 2010 with virtually no changes. Combining ample storage space with turbocharged performance and sporty styling, the 9-3 SportCombi offers a choice of three trims with either a four- or six-cylinder turbocharged engine. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, producing 210 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque, powers the 9-3 SportCombi Base and X AWD trims. For the top-of-the-line Aero trim, the powerplant upgrades to a 2.8-liter turbocharged V6 generating 280 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque.

For the SportCombi Base, the four-cylinder engine links to a six-speed manual transmission or an optional five-speed Sentronic automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. The X AWD and the Aero trims receive a six-speed Sentronic automatic transmission, which also enables drivers to shift manually using the gear lever or switches on the steering wheel.

Both engines and their transmissions provide smooth, spirited performance, with power building quickly and confidently, and very little turbo lag. However, fuel economy numbers for the SportiCombi fall at the lower end of the scale for vehicles in this class. The Base SportCombi manages 19/29 mpg with the manual transmission and 19/28 with the automatic, while the X AWD achieves 18/26 with the manual and 17/27 with the automatic. For the Aero, fuel economy numbers drop to 15/24 with either transmission.

The SportCombi X AWD and Aero trims both come equipped with Saab's fully automatic Cross-Wheel Drive, or XWD, system, which monitors driving conditions and distributes torque to the front or rear wheels as necessary to maximize stability and handling. In addition, the Aero trim includes an electronic limited-slip differential as standard equipment. The system balances torque between the rear wheels, which provides enhanced control and quicker, easier turns, according to the automaker.

The SportCombi's interior seats five passengers and tastefully blends luxury and sporty elements, although some plastic components can feel cheap, owners note. Controls are generally well-placed and easy to operate. Passengers will find plenty of interior space, as well as 72.3 cubic feet of cargo space. Standard interior features include leather upholstery, wood interior trim, a leather-trimmed sport steering wheel and shift knob, dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and a seven-speaker audio system with a CD player, an MP3 input jack, and XM satellite radio. The X AWD and Aero trims also come equipped with heated front seats and a power moonroof, while the Aero adds two-tone leather upholstery, front sport seats, and a 300-watt, 10-speaker Bose Centerpoint audio system with a 6-CD changer. Options include a DVD-based navigation system.

Safety features for all trims include a full range of airbags, as well as antilock brakes and electronic brakeforce distribution, which helps reduce stopping distances by distributing brake force to the front and rear wheels depending on how the car is loaded. Traction control and an electronic stability control system also come standard on all trims.

The Base SportCombi rides on 16-inch alloy wheels, while the X AWD and Aero travel on 17-inch alloy wheels. In addition, the Aero features a lowered sport-tuned chassis, which helps to enhance stability and handling, according to Saab.


Rob has been a contributor to CarGurus since 2007, and an automotive test-driver and writer since the early ’90s. He’s test-driven everything from BMWs and Jags to Bentleys and Saabs, with an occasional Range Rover, Ferrari, Porsche or Lamborghini thrown in. He also created the annual Car of the Year and Exotic Car of the Year awards for Robb Report magazine. He currently resides in California.

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9-3 SportCombi

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