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Discussion Starter #1
I just graduated college, and I'm looking to get a daily driver so I can start doing some major work on my C4 Corvette. I want something practical but fun, and I think a wagon checks those boxes best. Here are my specific criteria:

I'm budgeting $8k total, including any up-front repairs and maintenance (I’ll be driving it across the country at the end of the summer, so it must be able to withstand the trip). The purpose of this car is to complement my Corvette, so a few characteristics are important:
• Fairly reliable
• Reasonable cost of ownership
• Able to comfortably seat 4 and haul a decent amount of cargo
• Relatively quiet highway ride

I’m still looking for something sporty though. I’d like to be able to reliably make ~400hp at the crank on my DD without spending a fortune on mods (I would do all the work myself except machining, welding, etc.).
I work on my own cars, so something easy to work on would be a plus.

I'm considering a few different models:
• 2002-2005 Lexus IS300 SportCross
• 2005-2006 Saab 92X Aero
• 2006-2011 Saab 9-3 Aero Sportcombi
• 2003-2009 Subaru Legacy GT

I’m having a hard time narrowing it down, so I’m posting on a few forums to get advice.

I know everyone here is going to be somewhat biased toward the 92x and the 9-3 (as I’m biased toward Corvettes), but I would love to hear your advice.

I was initially all-in for the 92x or Legacy GT because I wanted AWD and think boxers are cool. However, the IS300 went from an afterthought to my number one choice for a few reasons:
• I'm a little wary of headgasket/ring issues with a boxer engine.
• While I love the boxer rumble, I think I want something sounding a little more "refined" than my Corvette.
• I'd like to tinker with my DD eventually, and the 2JZ could support more power a lot more comfortably than the EJ205/EJ250. And it’s just so cool.
• I prefer the look to the 92x or Legacy.

Unfortunately, the posting I was looking at on Craigslist expired before I could contact the seller, and I am having a really hard time finding any others that appeal to me. I’m beginning to reconsider the 92x or Legacy GT, and I’m looking at other options as well.

Obviously, I’m most interested in your thoughts on the two Saabs, but I’m also curious to hear your opinions on the other models I listed or anything else you think would fit well.
Thanks in advance!
 

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Welcome to the Forum!
The only somewhat "true" Saab you've listed is the 9-3 combi, so I would be more biased towards that. Bolt on mods will get you over 300 hp, but not much. The combi's are tough to come by atleast around my parts. 9-5 wagons are much more common and more "saab-like" than the newer 9-3 in my opinion. Closed deck block on the 9-5's (B235) and are usually good for a little over 300 hp before the pistons begin to fail. Now bolting a HX35 to a 9-5, forged pistons and learn to Tune with T7Suite and you can make 400whp easy for not a lot of money.

Welcome again and good luck!
Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Welcome to the Forum!
The only somewhat "true" Saab you've listed is the 9-3 combi, so I would be more biased towards that. Bolt on mods will get you over 300 hp, but not much. The combi's are tough to come by atleast around my parts. 9-5 wagons are much more common and more "saab-like" than the newer 9-3 in my opinion. Closed deck block on the 9-5's (B235) and are usually good for a little over 300 hp before the pistons begin to fail. Now bolting a HX35 to a 9-5, forged pistons and learn to Tune with T7Suite and you can make 400whp easy for not a lot of money.

Welcome again and good luck!
Tom
Thanks, and thanks for the info!

I did most of my research on the 9-3 and the 9-5 a few months ago, so it's not super fresh. I think I ruled out the 9-5 in favor of the 9-3 because I read the 9-3 was a little sportier? On review, I see that the 9-3 weighs about 400lbs less than the 9-5.

Which 9-3 engine were you comparing to? I've read the LP9/B284 was good for 400hp apparently without touching the internals. 400 at the wheels with just a turbo and pistons sounds pretty good though!

I've tuned my Corvette, but tuning a turbo application myself would make me a little nervous.

They're pretty tough to find where I am too. Craigslist in the area only shows a single SportCombi, a 9-3. I really like the quirkiness of Saabs, but I'm afraid the rarity will make it too hard to find one. I haven't checked Autotrader yet, but I suspect it won't have a ton more.

(I had some links in my post for the 9-3 weight, 9-5 weight, and LP9 tuning, but apparently my post count isn't high enough.)

Edit: Oh, any thoughts on the 92x compared to the 9-3 and 9-5?
 
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