I have been twice plagued from owning a Saab. My current ride is a 2009 Rav 4 and the Wife’s Corolla S from 2004. Lately I’ve been missing, horribly missing, my old Saabs. It’s something about the change in the weather that has reminded me of how much I adored these cars when they weren’t in the shop. The 2.0 turbo, and the 2.3 Viggen turbo paired with those awesome seats and perfect climate control was just wonderful. I’m looking for a replacement to my wife’s Corolla, and she wants it to be our fun car. I’d like to keep the price under 20K. The car must be reliable. I want it to have some of the same soul as the two 9-3′s I used to have, but probably not a Saab (it must be reliable). Does anything like this exist without becoming an honorary Jersey Shore cast member?
No. Nothing else drives like a Saab…
On the other hand there’s a reason why Saab and Yugo are the last four letter words of automotive brands. They are known for being serious beasts of burden. However I also have a soft spot for Saab. Would I throw $20k at it? Nope. Maybe $2k if you got me drunk enough. But seriously… unless your wife is a hardcore Saab enthusiast you may be throwing your money away.
I would sit down with the wife. Look at her intently… and say…”I could either give you 5 trips to Vegas, 5 trips to Disney, 5 trips to New York City, and 3 Cruises. Or I can buy you a 2008 Saab 9-3 Sportcombi wagon.”
Given that she drives a Corolla, I have absolutely no doubt you guys will soon find yourselves loaded with frequent flyer miles. Keep ol’ reliable in her capable hands and remember that if you don’t like Disney, there’s always Honolulu.
Oh goodness, another displaced Saab junkie. Only difference between you and my friend Hillary is that her Corolla “S” was an insurance rental, a holdover between her first 9-3 droptop and her current 9-3 Vector: a delightful $6500 investment that blew the boombox and threw warning lights aplenty shortly after purchasing. And with the nickname of Vectra (get it?) it’s a lovely car that proves the Saab depreciation schedule exists for a reason. I will grudgingly admit that I adore “Vectra,” even if I fought its owner at every step of the purchase process.
But I digress. My time between Saabs and the Corolla “S” made one thing clear: there’s a happy middle ground. Whose name is the Mazda3, 5-door hatchback, in new or slightly used form. Over 160hp from the bigger motor, 6 speeds, and you can finally ditch the Corolla’s lame-o solid rear axle. I know it lacks Saab’s subtle (yet condescending) combination of excellent fit and finish with crappy component quality, but this Mazda is still a looker with a tight suspension. Plus, the Speed3’s turbo mill is available, with enough proper Swedish turbo torque steer to fill an IKEA shopping cart, and then some.
Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to firstname.lastname@example.org, and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder.