For 2007, the Saab 9-3 receives a restyled interior with new instrument panel design, new trim and chrome details; a six-speed manual transmission replaces the five-speed manual on 2.0T models; XM Satellite Radio is standard on Aero and optional on 2.0T; there’s a Bose stereo system on the Sport Sedan; OnStar is optional; there’s an optional appearance package with 17-inch wheels; and there’s a new Titan Grey Metallic exterior shade.
The 9-3 range includes the Sedan, Convertible and SportCombi wagon; all are available with a base 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder engine, or in Aero trim, a turbocharged 2.8-litre V6. The six-speed manual is standard on all engines; 2.0T models can be optioned to a five-speed automatic, while Aero models option to a six-speed automatic.
Features on the 2.0T include 16-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, automatic dual-zone climate control, heated leather seats, folding rear seat, power driver’s seat, CD player, side and curtain airbags and headlight washers. The SportCombi includes rear spoiler and cargo cover, while the Convertible includes a fully automatic, electrically-operated soft roof.
The Aero trim adds 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, ground effects kit, power sunroof, power passenger seat, leather sport seats, six-CD stereo, XM Satellite Radio and Xenon headlamps.
The 9-3 is a lovely car to pilot, and its well-done interior features very comfortable seats. It’s based on GM’s Epsilon platform, also used on the Opel Vectra and Chevrolet Malibu. Its front-wheel drive configuration means it doesn’t quite measure up to sports sedans from the likes of BMW and Audi, but it’s European flair at domestic prices. The SportCombi combines good looks with practical ability, including a cargo floor that lifts to reveal additional storage in the recessed sub-floor, while the convertible model adds the pleasure of a fold-down roof, and with the increasingly rare option of getting the drop-top in both base and upscale trim.