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Saab 9-3: Test Drive Review

Date: 12 May 2011   |   Author: Rachel Burgess

Category: Upper medium
P11D price: £25,983
Key rival: Volvo S60

The recent revamp of the Saab 9-3 brought emissions for the diesel 1.9 saloon down to 119g/km CO2 and into the lowest BIK tax band, which certainly makes it a more appealing fleet proposition.

The 160hp version tested here also has decent accelerating power, although drivers wanting a bit more torque can pick the 180hp version - the most powerful car below 120g/km on the market - and not suffer any rise in emissions.

The 9-3 has good ride quality and a comfortable interior too, but on the downside, wind and engine noise in the cabin is apparent and the interior seems dated with cheapish plastics, although the controls and a touchscreen system are easy to use.

Overall, the Saab 9-3 has a long way to go to match its bigger sibling, the new 9-5. The latter is luxurious enough to, at a stretch, contend with premium models such as the BMW 5-series and Audi A6. But the same could not be said for the 9-3. What it needs is a makeover, both inside and out.

Thankfully, the Swedish carmaker has recognised this, and is launching a tweaked model that showcases new front bumpers, headlights and grille as well as a more luxury interior.

It has also simplified the trim level: the mid-range Vector Sport BusinessCar tested no longer exists. Instead there is the SE and Aero, with prices ranging from £22,495 to £30,790. Standard SE features include climate control, cruise control, rear parking sensors, leather seats and Bluetooth.

The latest update also brings the 9-3 estate version in line with the saloon's 119g/km CO2 emissions, although for both shapes this only applies to the basic SE?trim; the CO2 rises to 129g/km for the top-spec Aero trim.

Once BusinessCar has tested the latest 9-3, we'll let you know if the car can now compete as a good value rival to flyaway prestige brand successes in its field.

Saab 9-3 1.9 TTiD Vector Sport
P11D price£25,983
Model price range£22,495-£30,790
National Insurance£1542
Cost per mile61.4p
Fuel consumption62.8mpg
CO2 (tax) 119g/km/(13%)
BIK 20/40% per month£56/£113
Service interval18,000mls
Insurancegroup 26
Boot space425 litres
Engine size/power1910cc/160hp
Top speed/0-62mph160mph/9.0secs
On sale September 2010
VerdictSub-120g/km emissions
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Sub-120g/km emissions add to fleet cache