Written by: Sammy Chan
Photography by: Sammy Chan
QUICK BUYER'S NOTES -
April 2006- After having waited nearly 6 long months, I finally took possession of a brand new 2006 Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan from Saab of Thornhill early April. Although the wait had been long, I have had no regrets as this Fusion Blue Saab is really a very very elegant and thoroughly handsome machine.
It's now sitting side-by-side with my 2-year old 2004 Land Rover Freelander in the garage.
Late last year, I had this sudden itch to replace my 17 year old 1989 Hyundai Sonata. Not because it's not running anymore, far from it, my Sonata with just 51,000 km is as new as any 7-8 year old vehicle on the road, its air con is still good and there's no body rust or needing any major mechanical repairs. Back then (last October), I simply felt like owning a new luxury sedan.
Truth is, I did want a BMW, but the looks both exterior and interior of the new 3-Series never tickles my heart. I know it is still the best driving machine one could buy these days, but getting close to 50, I needed more than that, I want comfort, safety and styling.
Before I decided on a Saab 9-3, I had also considered an Acura TSX and the new Lexus IS 250, but I'm kind of tired of Japanese cars. Ever since the Saab 9-3 was restyled as a 4-door in 2003, I have always ranked it as one of my favorites among entry-level luxury sedans, and when I found out that with the 2006 model, not only had Saab kept the 9-3's MSRP at $34,900, they have also made changes to this model's line-up, my shopping dilemma was sealed. Gone are Linear, Arc and Vector models, instead the 2006 Saab 9-3 is now trimmed as 2.0t and Aero.
I'm not done yet, the 2-litre turbocharged engine of 2.0t is now as powerful as the $41,000 2005 Saab 9-3 Arc, that is, capable of 210 horsepower. Admittedly, standard features of the 2006 9-3 2.0t is still at par with the 2005 Linear, but is still lavishly equipped with leather heated seats, power driver's seat and automatic climate control. I was also glad that door grabs are now body-colored and the new Fusion Blue color is also very appealing and irresistable.
I've always liked Saabs, they're special, they're well-engineered, they're so safe and they are the best front-wheel drive handlers around. I opted for one with a 5-speed automatic transmission and added another $1,999 for a Navigational system.