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Car reviews - Saab - 9-3 - 5-dr wagon range


SportCombi may be a new 9-3 wagon by another name, but it's a Saab right through

6 Feb 2006

YOU'VE got to hand it to Saab. With sales taking a battering last year and the increasing woes of its parent General Motors, the resilient Swedes took the machete to local 9-3 pricing, slicing $8000 of the entry price in an effort to re-invigorate sales. The entry point is now $39,990 for a 2.0-litre 9-3 sedan and that’s where it should be. A lack of model diversity has also been addressed, in part, by the arrival of the 9-3 SportCombi – Saab’s way of calling this model a station wagon to you and me. The stylish wagon looks like a hatch from some angles and a pure wagon from others. It inherits all the solid and respectable attributes of the 9-3 sedan – a crisp chassis, superb seats and interior appointments, and enviable safety credentials. With the entry 9-3 Linear SportCombi kicking off at $45,400, plenty of European wagon buyers should start to give the safe Swedes more than a passing glance.
Model release date: 1 February 2006 to 1 October 2007

Previous model

99 Combi

Released: August 1974
Ended: February 1976
Family Tree: 9-3

The term "Combi" harks back to the venerable 99 Combi of the mid-1970s. It was unveiled in August 1973 but did not go on sale until the following year. It was Saab’s version of a wagon in some respects, with a large hatch, fold-down rear seats and a commodious load area. Saab engineers took the standard sedan version of the two-door 99 and added a slopping rear roofline that incorporated a large hatch. A five-door Combi followed in 1976 and the thinking followed through to the 900. Turbocharged models were also offered. Interestingly, many folk believe the original 99 and first of the 900s between 1979 and 1993 were the last of the real Saabs, before General Motors introduced the new GM-based 900 in 1994.

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