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In Octobers C&D. They had a $35K sport sedan comparison test. This is how they finished.

1. BMW 330I
2. Lexus IS350
3. Infinti G35
4. Acura TL
5. Audi A4 3.2
6. Cadillac CTS 3.6
7. Volvo S60R
8. SAAB 9-3 2.8T

I feel SAAB needed to update the exterior of the SS for 06. The only thing they have done in four model years is paint the door handles. I feel the car needed at least a front end refresh. The car looks dated compared to the other cars in this comparo.
 

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C&D has always had issues with Saab, I couldn't dissagree with you more about a facelift, I think it's the best looking car on the road.

The problem with that list is Saab doesn't have AWD and C&D has problems with FWD cars. Additionally Saab has an identity crissis, they want to play in this relm but can't or won't be cutting edge with the electronics.
 

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Nice to see you're still poking your head in!

I agree. They will probably never get higher than that. Saab has a tradition (I think, I'm not an expert here) of making a product, and then lewtting it sit out there without refreshes or anything for as long as they think they can stand it while working on completely new/different models. Take the 9-5 for example. It's hasn't ben updated in a long time. But, they're still selling.

It's hard for Saab to be competitive because they are not the most nimble manufacturer. They make a good solid product & let that sit out there.

Now that I reread it, that's the 2.8T engine, for 2006. That's even worse. Even when Saab does make an improvement, they're not playing with the big boys.
But then again, I didn't get this car to be in a popular car. I'll take oddball & safe any day of the week.
 

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Tires??

I saw the issue, too. A few of the gripes were real. These include 1. lousy braking which they speculate may not be the norm for a 9-3 (any ideas?), 2. too many small buttons (this is the fault of the ACC and nagivation which is why the Linear is nice...no ACC, MCC with large knobs, just a few buttons for the radio, 3. slippery leather seats hinder driving. (did they say #3?)

Their scoring was crooked because they gave a poor score for ergonomics and dash layout. Looking at the pictures, the 9-3 has the best dash. Some other cars are awful. I like the 9-3 styling but the Acura TL is nice too. Some of the flashy designs are...too flashy.

*****How about the 235/45WR17 tires? Can they be retrofitted to a 9-3? Doing the math, the diameter is virtually the same as the Linear/Arc's standard 215/55-16. However, at 235, the width is greater than the 2005 Aero's 225. If a 235/45-17 is fittable to the 9-3, I want to get them when I move to an area that needs winter tires. In that case, the standard wheels will have winter tires and the new 17" wheels will have summer tires.
 

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These "top" automotive magazines really say the same thing year after year. They always rank these cars and score them. I haven't seen this C&D, but I always find it interesting that they take six cars and ALL the scores end up falling between 89 and 95 out of 100! There's never a 23. It's just testament to the fact that they rely on advertising for most of their revenue. Basically worthless, unless you like the pictures or can't find the wheelbase data on-line.
 

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ctrlz said:
These "top" automotive magazines really say the same thing year after year. They always rank these cars and score them. I haven't seen this C&D, but I always find it interesting that they take six cars and ALL the scores end up falling between 89 and 95 out of 100! There's never a 23. It's just testament to the fact that they rely on advertising for most of their revenue. Basically worthless, unless you like the pictures or can't find the wheelbase data on-line.
Agreed. As a matter of fact, there is an inherent bias against front wheel drive in most publications. I subscribe to many, and I have NEVER seen a fwd vehicle win a sports sedan comparo. Ever. The only other FWDer in this test is the Acura. I am a bit surprised that the S60R, a spectacular car in my book, finished so poorly as well...
 

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finklejag said:
I feel SAAB needed to update the exterior of the SS for 06. The only thing they have done in four model years is paint the door handles. I feel the car needed at least a front end refresh. The car looks dated compared to the other cars in this comparo.
Agree 100%.
 

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Dave 37 said:
I saw the issue, too. A few of the gripes were real. These include 1. lousy braking which they speculate may not be the norm for a 9-3 (any ideas?)....
In 2003, Consumer Reports gave the 9-3 the best braking score in the class. It came standard with Pirelli P Zero Rosso Asimetrico tires, and some claimed it had an unfair advantage because of the tires. In the '05 model year, the Aero stopped coming standard with Pirelli P Zero Rosso Asimetrico tires and switched to Pirelli P6 Four Seasons. The key difference is that one is a summer tire with unreal grip and performance, and the other is an all season tire that won't leave you stranded at the first dusting of snow (no joke) and will give you a few more miles in tread wear. Honestly, I'm not incredibly impressed with the P6 Four Seasons and don't think they do this car justice.

So, I'm not surprised that they had gripes with the braking. I've never thought that brake tests were fair when everyone always has on different tires.
 

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C&D, as with other US car magazines, always get some vehicles that are underequipped or just about to revise, in order to make their favourite win the comparison tests. They can wait for 2.8 turbo Aero in 9-3 and 6-speed stick S-Line in A4 3.2 Quattro, unfortunately, they won't. Look at C&D's questionable subjective ratings, they are always bias to cars that they want to win to win a comparison tests. I have heard these comparison tests are ranked base on advertising revenue. The one with the most revenue wins. If not, its simply impossible an E-Class, A6 and 5-Series would lost to M45, GS430 and RL last time.

Until American car magazines get revenue out of their comparison ranking, I would trust Germany's Autobild and Auto Motor & Sport for performance #s and objective reviews.
 

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Don't forget to look at the sticker prices of these cars. Granted these all seem to be the higher-rung models but the 9-3 doesn't really compete at the same price point as a 330i. A 325i would be more like it. The TL is closer in price to the 330, but a TSX is more akin in size and philosophy to the 9-3. The Lexus ES is probably closer in size to the Caddy and the TL, but the IS is the sport sedan, not the ES.

IMHO, a more appropriate comparo would be a 9-3, Passat, Maxima, TSX, and S60. A five-sedan comparo of FWD lux/near lux vehicles would be nice. No G35 or Legacy GT because of RWD/AWD.

In defense of C&D, these guys test stuff with pretty much no regard to price, daily driving comfort, or 'real life' usefulness. They test the cars with regards to performance, not the quality of the stereo, not the size/shape of the trunk or backseat, not on looks, not on cupholders.

Not everyone can afford the top-tier model, nor does everyone want one. Additionally, not everyone wants a sport suspension. Personally, I think the suspension on my Linear w/ OEM 16" rims is TOO stiff sometimes. I spend more time driving the car for work, the gym, and errands than I do wringing the hell out of it. For the 10-20% of the time I spend driving it like I stole, the Aero would be nice, but the rest of the time the potholes and rough pavement win. With gas the way it is (and the way it seems to be going), I think GM is nuts for dropping the 2.0t. 1 - 3 mpg may not seem like much, but for people that put 20k miles on their car a year, it adds up.

It's funny the complained about the buttons - they slam BMW for having I-Drive and not enough buttons. Face it, if you want a car with heated seats, it needs more buttons. Same goes for automatic dual zone climate control, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereos, navigation systems, telematics, cell phones, garage door openers, map lights, memory seats, 12-way adjustable seats, engine-start buttons, and sunroofs. If you don't want buttons or an I-drive controller, buy a Lotus Elise or a Hyundai Accent.

I haven't driven all of the cars in the comparo, but from what I've read, based solely on performance, the 9-3 probably does deserve last place. Until Saab ponies up an AWD 300hp Viggen, that's where it will stay.
 

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strat81 said:
I haven't driven all of the cars in the comparo, but from what I've read, based solely on performance, the 9-3 probably does deserve last place. Until Saab ponies up an AWD 300hp Viggen, that's where it will stay.
Actually, in a number of performance "rounds" of this test, the Saab is quicker than most of the cars. 0-60 is 6.4 secs, have a look at the rest of the figures here;

http://img391.imageshack.us/my.php?image=00003resize6px.jpg
 

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zykur said:
C&D has always had issues with Saab, I couldn't dissagree with you more about a facelift, I think it's the best looking car on the road.

The problem with that list is Saab doesn't have AWD and C&D has problems with FWD cars. Additionally Saab has an identity crissis, they want to play in this relm but can't or won't be cutting edge with the electronics.
Of the list Audi, Volvo and Saab are all front wheel drive... I think it has more to do with interior quality and teh lack (until recently) of 6 cylinder engines.
 

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Interesting article. It's sad that Saab never fairs well with C/D. Unless you are a Honda or BMW, you're pretty well screwed from the get-go.

The last major comparo they did that included a Saab stated that while still a bit underpowered at the top end, the Saab was the only car aside from BMW that was capable of being accurately shifted as fast or faster than the testers could manage. All the others were buggy. I was surprised that even Audi was bested by Saab in the shifter dept. C/D has often referred to the older 9-3 as having a shifter "like a spoon in a bowl of pudding", and having owned that car, and the A4, I would agree. But regardless of that, the SS still faired only one or two up from the bottom then, with only the Ford Jaguar and some other POS being rated lesser. I still respect C/D, and enjoy their commentary, but their word is not always gospel.

I do agree wholeheartedly about Saab sitting pat and not updating styling. I do like the present look, but they could still do more minor refreshments year to year. Painting the door handles? Jeebus, they should have been doing that on the Aeros ten years ago, as VW did with their upper model versions. Used to get black handles and mirrors with base and mid, and painted with the uppers. Again, it matters not to me, as I buy what I want, not what the press likes today, but it seems odd that Saab tends to ignore some resonable trends (while applying some not so cool trends, like [email protected]$s decontenting of stupid little floor mat buttons).
 

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Aero_adam said:
Of the list Audi, Volvo and Saab are all front wheel drive... I think it has more to do with interior quality and teh lack (until recently) of 6 cylinder engines.
No, the Acura and Saab are the only FWD cars.
 

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finklejag said:
In Octobers C&D. They had a $35K sport sedan comparison test. This is how they finished.

1. BMW 330I
2. Lexus IS350
3. Infinti G35
4. Acura TL
5. Audi A4 3.2
6. Cadillac CTS 3.6
7. Volvo S60R
8. SAAB 9-3 2.8T

I feel SAAB needed to update the exterior of the SS for 06. The only thing they have done in four model years is paint the door handles. I feel the car needed at least a front end refresh. The car looks dated compared to the other cars in this comparo.
I disagree re: exterior styling. Saab is about the only company left that follows a low-key, discreet styling form. Every other car company is going
hi-zoot, chrome this and that, 'flame surfacing', all 'look at ME' styling. I am glad BMW toned down the new 3 compared to the hideous 5 and 7, I hate the new Lexus and the Inifinity doesn't do a thing for me. The TL I liked when it first came out, but now I'm tired of it as I see it everywhere. I don't care for Audi's new nose, but otherwise it's ok. The Caddy style still hasn't grown on me, and I don't like Volvo's 'carved' flanks. I think the Saab is the best looking of any of the cars. I agree about painting the door handles. My brakes are great so I don't know what their test deal was. I like the buttons, when compared to choices like iDrive. I guess I'm old fashioned, but I love my car and nothing else on the market commands enough attention to me that I'd consider buying. The only thing Saab can do is AWD and pump up the power in the V6T but I'm not even interested in that. My car is just fine the way it is (albeit tweaked with BSR and ITG)
 

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AudiSAABfans said:
-I have heard these comparison tests are ranked base on advertising revenue. The one with the most revenue wins.

-If not, its simply impossible an E-Class, A6 and 5-Series would lost to M45, GS430 and RL last time.
-I dont know about you, but ive seen ALOT more saab ads than i have BMW ads on t.v.......theory flawed

-Euro reliablility is WAY DOWN, besides have you ever drove a M45 or a RL, hell i would put my new altima against my old saab on build quality, power, fit and finish, and reliability any day...the altima wins.
 

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rugbybrado said:
-I dont know about you, but ive seen ALOT more saab ads than i have BMW ads on t.v.......theory flawed
I think he was making reference to print media advertising revenue. Car & Driver clearly doesn't care how much is spent by any automaker for television advertising. But you better believe Car & Driver cares how much BMW spends for advertising in Car & Driver. I haven't looked at a Car & Driver in years, so I can't comment on the relative frequency of advertising in comparison to review ratings.
 

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I have driven M35X since dealers don't carry M45, ppl won't buy a CDN$70k Infiniti anyhow here. I am totally unimpressive and felt underwhelming. It doesn't hold a candle to A6 3.2, 530i and E350 in terms of driving feel and interior ergonomics/fit-and-finish.
 

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finklejag said:
In Octobers C&D. They had a $35K sport sedan comparison test. This is how they finished.

1. BMW 330I
2. Lexus IS350
3. Infinti G35
4. Acura TL
5. Audi A4 3.2
6. Cadillac CTS 3.6
7. Volvo S60R
8. SAAB 9-3 2.8T
The point range is smaller than the number of cars in the test. C&D's scoring system cannot discriminate meaningful differences among the cars.

I know from test drives that there are meaningful differences. The TL, G35 and CTS I test drove each had 1 or 2 egregious faults. A transmission that binds up in 1st gear (CTS), a clutch that is nearly impossible to use smoothly (TL) and a clutch that howls like a banshee on high rpm shifts (G35) are things I couldn't live with. C&D might dock them a few points but I scored them zero.

Testing and owning bring different perspectives. What might be an annoyance in a test could be unbearable if you experienced it every day for years. That's why I disqualify first and score the cars that remain; C&D scores all of them and it tends to deduct only a few points when a flaw turns up. The result is a narrow point range that tends to play down faults that would drive you postal if you owned the car.
 
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