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Avg. Price Paid:$9,016 - $11,036
Original MSRP: $29,615 - $36,250
MPG: 19 City / 29 Hwy
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2008 Saab 9-3 Wagon Interior

This interior review was written when the 2008 Saab 9-3 Wagon was new.

Though the 9-3 SportCombi's interior is both modern and comfortable, it can't match the material quality of others in its class. Edmunds says they "question Saab's decision to leave the 9-3's interior unchanged during [the 2008] refresh. The cabin is attractive at a glance, particularly with the two-tone leather option, but closer inspection reveals low-quality plastics and inconsistent fit and finish."

Seating

The 2008 Saab 9-3 SportCombi's seating is comfortable. Consumer Guide says there is abundant seating space and "good all-around support." To Edmunds, "headroom is plentiful," especially up front.

It's generally agreed the 9-3 SportCombi rear seats are also comfortable, but don't expect to stretch out. Cars.com notes "backseat headroom and toe space are abundant, but legroom suffers if the front seat is adjusted rearward," while the Orlando Sentinel says "if you are more than 6 feet tall you will be unimpressed by legroom."

Interior Features

The 9-3 SportCombi also has easy-to-use controls with Saab's unique style and placement. One notable touch is placing the ignition on the center console, which the Orlando Sentinel calls "quirky but unobjectionable." Automotive.com writes that some might consider the ignition's placement awkward, "but Saab aficionados would have it no other way."

The Detroit Free Press and others claim that the facility and design of Saab's controls go back to the company's history of making airplanes. "A top gun jet jockey can't afford to waste time processing unnecessary information on the instrument panel. Saab applies the same easy-reader philosophy to its cars, putting the vital gauges -- speed, fuel, tachometer -- in the driver's line of sight, and keeping frequently used controls like fan, temperature and volume within easy reach."

Other reviewers report quality has been sacrificed for quirky inside the 9-3 SportCombi. Consumer Guide writes "not all cabin plastics up to premium-class benchmarks," emphasizing the "cheap," "brittle" feel of the windshield wipers and turn signals -- and USA Today seconds. Although the Detroit News and Newsday acknowledge cupholders aren't a deal-breaker in a car purchase, they do describe Saab's pop-out one as a considerable nuisance. "The front passenger's cupholder is a joke -- a flimsy thing that deploys from the dashboard and can't hold a large cup steady in a moving vehicle. It has no place in an $8,000 car, let alone a $38,000 car. If an automaker is opposed to cupholders in cars (as are many of my readers), it shouldn't offer them. But if it's going to offer them, they should be sturdy and safe," Newsday says.

All 9-3 SportCombis include leather-appointed seats and a leather-trim steering wheel. Also standard is Saab's "night panel" lighting -- a favorite for several reviewers. "One cool feature, encountered on a number of previous Saabs, is the 'night panel,' which at the touch of a button shuts down the nav screen and much of the dashboard lighting to help reduce distracting glare while driving at night," the Detroit News explains. USA Today agrees, "reducing the amount of interior lighting at night lets your eyes see better through the darkness outside."

Stereo and Entertainment

Although not highlighted in reviews, Saab 2.0T buyers receive a 150-watt Premium Audio System with seven speakers, while the Aero SportCombi has a 300-watt audio system with 10 speakers.

Navigation

Consumer Guide finds the 2008 Saab 9-3 SportCombi's navigation system "intuitive and easy to operate," but most disagree. The Detroit News describes it as "next to useless. The screen is too small to furnish much information, the hardware is complicated (to change screens required four separate movements)." The Los Angeles Times also says "the nav system resisted my best efforts to get it to display street names."

Cargo

The 9-3 SportCombi is appreciated for providing plentiful cargo room. USA Today speaks for the majority, noting the cargo area as "generous and cleverly designed. A floor panel lifts, folds in the middle and stands up to create two cargo areas for times you don't have that much to carry and don't want it sliding all around." The Los Angeles Times likes that the cargo area provides some surprises, "including a smaller storage compartment under the load floor. The space behind the rear seats measures a generous 29.7 cubic feet."

The 2008 9-3 SportCombi also provides smaller storage with center console bins, door pockets, and an illuminated glove box with a cooling feature, described as "one of the largest in the class" to Automotive.com and large enough that it "isn't totally filled by the owner's manual as are so many nowadays," Newsday explains.

Review Last Updated: 2/17/09

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