2007 Saab 9-3 Performance
This performance review was written when the 2007 Saab 9-3 was new.
A number of reviewers emphasize the Saab 9-3's quality steering and acceleration. Kelley Blue Book calls the 9-3 "solid as a rock, stable at all speeds and sports a sense of newfound athleticism."
Helped by a substantial mechanical package that includes a turbocharged V6 engine for the Aero and a four-cylinder turbocharged engine for the 2.0T, "the 9-3 is no sports sedan such as a BMW, but it comes close to having such a description," reports MSN Autos.
Most reviewers say they enjoy their test drives with the 2007 Saab 9-3, including Cars.com, which finds that with "tight" and "quick" road maneuvers, the 9-3 "holds its own easily against the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series." For Consumer Guide Automotive, the steering was the ticket. The reviewer calls it "nimble" and "precise" but suggests that "some drivers might prefer a heavier feel." For Car and Driver, the 9-3's acceleration was key, with the reviewer calling the engine "smooth, sophisticated, and abundant, thrusting the 9-3 Aero to 60 mph in just 6.4 seconds."
Some reviewers identify flaws. Edmunds notes that the Aero's "ride can be choppy over bumps," and Kelley Blue Book considers the front-wheel-drive system "not as satisfying to drive as similarly-powered rear-wheel drive" vehicles.
Acceleration and Power
Powering the 2007 Saab 9-3's 2.0T trim is a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder turbocharged 210-horsepower engine that comes with a 6-speed manual transmission (and the option for a 5-speed automatic). For the 9-3 Aero sedan, drivers receive a 2.8-liter, 6-cylinder turbocharged 250-horsepower engine, also with 6-speed manual, but with an option for a 6-speed automatic.
There were no complaints from auto writers about the power behind the 2007 Saab 9-3, whether the 2.0T or Aero was tested. Motor Trend is especially impressed with the Aero's engine power, finding that it "flows to the wheels in a forceful, even stream, quite unlike the elastic-cord snap we've come to expect with Saab's Turbo fours as they come on boost."
To use MSN Autos' term, the 2007 Saab 9-3's fuel efficiency is "decent," and other reviewers generally agree. The Environmental Protection Agency rates the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan at 19 miles per gallon (city) and 28 miles per gallon (highway) with a six-speed manual transmission and premium gasoline; 19 miles per gallon (city) and 28 miles per gallon (highway) with a five-speed automatic and premium gasoline; 16 miles per gallon (city) and 26 miles per gallon (highway) with a six-speed manual and regular gasoline; and 15 miles per gallon (city) and 26 miles per gallon (highway) with a six-speed automatic and regular gasoline.
Handling and Braking
Summing up the majority opinion, MSN Autos finds that, "Steering is quick, handling is sure and brakes are strong, with good pedal feel." Similarly, Forbes Autos says, "A sport-tuned suspension and a standard stability control system ensure crisp and secure handling qualities with a relatively calm ride."
Edmunds reports that the updated steering and suspension designs on the 2007 Saab 9-3 have "all but eliminated torque steer," meaning the 9-3 "shines as one of the better handling front-wheel-drive cars on the market." The 9-3 has power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, with a 16:0:1 steering ratio and a 39.0-ft. turning circle.
To stop the 2007 Saab 9-3, drivers can rely on the four-wheel disc anti-lock brake system with power assist that comes standard on all models.