2006 Saab 9-3 SportCombi

Previous Vehicle Next Vehicle
Front Passenger Side View

At the Geneva motor show, Saab revealed the third variant of the 9-3 model line, the SportCombi. The name may be strange, but it allows hard-core Saab people who were disappointed by the current 9-3's trunk-back configuration to think of this new model as the 9-3 hatchback they were hoping for, while everybody else will recognize it as a 9-3 wagon. The SportCombi was previewed--very accurately, it turns out--by the Sport Hatch concept first shown at the 2003 Frankfurt auto show. The new wagon goes on sale in October as a 2006 model.

Like its sedan and convertible siblings, the SportCombi will be offered in three trim levels: Linear (base), Arc (midlevel), and Aero (sporty top spec). Aero versions of the SportCombi, and all 9-3s, will have a new, turbocharged, six-cylinder engine for '06. The 2.8-liter V-6 will offer 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, and can be combined with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine is a part of GM's new 24-valve DOHC V-6 engine family, seen also in the Cadillac STS and SRX (as a 3.6-liter), the Cadillac CTS (3.6 and a 2.8, but without the turbo), the Buick LaCrosse (3.6) and some Australian Holdens. The 2.8-liter turbo combo is a Saab exclusive, however, with parts such as the cylinder heads, valves, pistons, and camshafts unique for this application. Saab is predicting a 0-60 mph time of 6.8 seconds for the sedan and 7.0 seconds for the wagon.

Linear and Arc versions of the SportCombi--and the other two 9-3s--will use the 210-hp, 2.0-liter turbo four. Currently, Linear models use a 185-hp version of that engine. In all 9-3s, the front wheels will continue to do the driving, with Saab president Debra Kelly-Ennis admitting only that all-wheel drive for the 9-3 is on her "wish list."

The SportCombi will battle the Volvo V50, Jaguar X-Type, Volkswagen Passat, Audi A4, BMW 3-series, and Mercedes C-class in the burgeoning premium small-wagon market, where its 60 cubic feet of cargo space (25 cubic feet with therear seats in place) is more than some, less than others. The 60/40 split folding rear seat has a standard ski pass-through. Saab is quoting a starting price of the base Linear of "well under $30,000," which we take to mean about $27,500, or a few hundred dollars more than its sedancounterpart.

Passenger Side View

Rear Passenger Side View

Previous Vehicle Next Vehicle

New Car Research

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price


new cars

Read Related Articles