Piston Slap: The Sportcombi's Gloomy Vue?

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
piston slap the sportcombi s gloomy vue

Even Google knows our first question!

Keith writes:

Sajeev – I’ve gotta get rid of 1 of my 4 family of cars – the family consists of a 2011 Civic LX (for the kids), 2009 Taurus X (for the wife) – and the two on the chopping block – 2006 Saab 9-5 Sport Combi (with 154,000 miles) verses 2006 Saturn Vue V6 (with 131,000 miles). I enjoy different aspect of each of these cars and I’m torn over which one should go.

Here are the pros and cons of each:

2006 Saab

Pros –

· Premium feel and build quality (real wood dash, heated leather seats, sunroof, etc.)

· Above average acceleration (especially in “Sport” mode)

· Handles the curves well

· Nice sound system

· Station wagon utility

· Makes a good impression

Cons –

· Drinks high octane fuel (19 mpg city/hwy)

· Requires full synthetic oil

· Has some minor interior and exterior age spots

· Dinky side view mirrors (big is beautiful)

· After thought cup holders

· Former “wanker” car (they switched to Audi since Saab’s demise)

· Constant fear of a high dollar repair

2006 Saturn

Pros –

· I LOVE the Honda 3.5 liter V6

· SUV utility (good for runs to the garden center and the dump)

· Good sound system (user installed)

· Rides tall in the saddle

· Beautifully big mirrors

· Decent cup holders and console storage

· Did I mention the 250 hp V6?

Cons –

· Basic interior (cloth seats, hard plastic dashboard and console, no sunroof)

· Noisy at highway speeds

· The brakes SUCK

· Doesn’t impress anyone

Finally the financials –

Saab – Bought it last year for $4900.00 with 133k miles and I’ve got about $3k (including taxes and title) in the car. Present value is about $3900 and dropping fast.

Saturn – Purchased 2 ½ years ago for $7000.00 with 83k miles on the clock. Upkeep has been minimal, about $1k, and the current value is about $5000 and holding steady.

Personally I’m thinking that the Saab needs to go… but I’m not sure.

Sajeev answers:

Personally I’m thinking that the Saab obviously needs to go.

Mostly because I agree with your Pros/Cons.

If the brakes suck on the Saturn, do a brake job with aftermarket aggressive pads (either ceramic or semi metallic) and maybe these rotors are higher quality. We can’t possibly take the undesirable GM fit/finish/public perception problems out of the equation, but let’s be real: cars under $5000 have a tough time impressing most onlookers conditioned to the latest and greatest products. Especially since most folks don’t give a shit about station wagons.

Yes, the Vue lacks the “Euro wagonista” swagger. It will never have Saab grade leather/wood and Saab driving dynamics without imprudent levels of customization. But the odds of needing repairs that’ll be 50% of it’s (superior) value is less likely. Which kinda beats it all.

Off to you, Best and Brightest.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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2 of 70 comments
  • McKeith McKeith on Oct 08, 2014

    We took THE Saab to the shop yesterday - paid $1200 +/- for new brakes, oil change, and misc fluid exchanges. Still needs a brake fluid flush and 2 new tires.

  • Dusterdude Dusterdude on Oct 09, 2014

    Dave M. Couldn't agree more re. your comments on Saab's

  • Statikboy Those tires are the Wrong Size.
  • Mustangfast I had an 06 V6 and loved that car. 230k trouble free miles until I sold it. I remember they were criticized for being too small vs competitors but as a single guy it was the right size for me. I recall the 2.3 didn’t have a reputation for reliability, unlike the V6 and I4. I think it likely didn’t take off due to the manual-only spec, price tag, and power vs the V6 engine and the way it delivered that power. It was always fun to see the difference between these and normal ones, since these were made in Japan whereas all others were flat rock
  • VoGhost Earth is healing.
  • ToolGuy "Having our 4th baby and decided a camper van is a better use of our resources than my tuner."Seller is in the midst of some interesting life choices.Bonus: Here are the individuals responsible for doing the work on this vehicle.
  • MaintenanceCosts Previous owner playing engineer by randomly substituting a bunch of components, then finding out. No thanks.