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#13

in 2009 Wagons

Avg. Price Paid: $8,610 - $13,693
Original MSRP: $31,790 - $44,885
MPG: 19 City / 29 Hwy
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2009 Saab 9-3 Wagon Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The 9-3 SportCombi has to a strong powertrain and nimble handling. These qualities and an all-wheel drive system make the SportCombi a reviewer favorite among wagons for performance.

Acceleration and Power

Most describe the 2009 Saab 9-3 SportCombi's 2.0T's engine, a turbocharged four-cylinder with 210 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque, as an adequate performer. However, the general consensus prefers the Aero's 2.8-liter, six-cylinder engine with 250 horsepower. Both the 9-3 SportCombi's trims come standard with an imprecise six-speed manual transmission.

With a manual transmission, the Environmental Protection Agency rates the 2.0T SportCombi at 19 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on highways. The Aero SportCombi with an automatic transmission receives a rating of 15 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on highways, and 16/26 mpg city/highway, with the manual transmission.

  • "[The SportCombi base engine] generates acceptable acceleration." -- Forbes
  • "[On the 2.0T engine,] passing response dulled by brief turbo lag." -- Consumer Guide
  • "[The Aero's V6 is] terrifically smooth and quiet." -- Road and Track
  • "The [V6] engine pumps out 258 lb-ft from 2,000 to 4,500 rpm, which make it a member of the flat torque curve club. Most amazing, however, is that the SportCombi puts that power to the pavement without any torque steer." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The 2009 Saab 9-3 SportCombi is generally regarded as a smooth handler with just enough sportiness to live up to Saab's reputation. The ride and suspension get particular praise, while the steering is seen as a little light.

  • "[Handling is] firm, poised" and "nimble." -- Consumer Guide
  • "[The suspension is] tuned to please both Mrs. Smith when she's carting the kids around and Mr. Smith when he wants to crank the pace up a notch." -- Road and Track
  • "[The brakes are] firm yet progressive, nose dive is minimal, and we didn't detect any ABS vibration or brake fade over several repeated hard stops." -- Edmunds

All-Wheel Drive

The 2009 Saab 9-3 SportCombi is available with Saab's XWD all-wheel drive system. XWD sends most of its power to the front wheels when the vehicle is moving at a steady cruising speed but routes torque to the rear if grip is unsure.

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