Saab is no longer beholden to General Motors. They have been acquired by Dutch supercar manufacturer Spyker. While it may some time for the benefits of its new company to be fully realized, however, Saab managed to enter a new model of 9-3 into the lineup for 2010. The 9-3 in all of its variations is working within a truly crowed segment. The entry level luxury car market is dominated by German and Japanese models. The Swedish Saab can be overlooked but shouldn’t. The 9-3 offers a spacious and safe automobile with a long time proven track record for safety and reliability. The 9-3 won’t be a class leader among this kind of competition. However, it does offer a great deal of value in a segment where value normally takes a back seat to style and performance.

The base model for the Saab 9-3 is available in its 2.0T incarnation as a front wheel drive sedan powered by a 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder producing 210 HP and shifting that power through either a 6 speed manual or 5 speed automatic transmission.

Bodystyles: Sedan, wagon, convertible
Engines: 2.0L turbocharged I-4
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic, 5-speed automatic
Models: 2.0T, Aero, 9-3X

Due to Saab’s recent sale and financial issues, very little is new for the 2010 model year. The turbocharged V-6 engine has been dropped as Saab works to reduce complexity in its product offerings. A new, crossover-style model called the 9-3X has been added and features more ground clearance and standard AWD.

Thanks to a 2009 update, the 2010 Saab 9-3 is a sharp, aggressive-looking car that remains distinctly Swedish with its unique silhouette and angular nose. The new 9-3X adds protective plastic cladding and a taller stance.

Highlights include power leather seats standard across the Saab 9-3 range, a premium stereo with MP3 connectivity, automatic climate control, a tilting and telescoping wheel and a cooled glove box.

The 2010 Saab 9-3’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is turbocharged to produce 210 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. Five-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions are available on front-drive models, while an optional all-wheel drive system gets a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual. The transmissions are designed for performance but also help return good fuel economy for the segment.

Driver and passenger front and thorax side airbags are standard on the 9-3, along with front and rear head curtain bags. OnStar Automatic Crash Response is also standard, as are Traction Control and Stability Control.

Convertible manual, sedan AWD manual, 9-3X manual: 20 mpg city/29 mpg highway
Convertible automatic, sedan 5-speed automatic, wagon 5-speed automatic, 9-3X 5-speed automatic: 19 mpg city/27 mpg highway
Sedan AWD 6-speed automatic, 9-3X 6-speed automatic: 17 mpg city/27 mpg highway
Sedan FWD manual, wagon FWD manual: 21 mpg city/31 mpg highway
Sedan FWD 5-speed automatic: 19 mpg city/28 mpg highway

  • Aggressive styling
  • Good mileage
  • OnStar standard
  • Nice-sized trunk
  • Soft ride for a sports sedan
  • Dull interior
  • Average build quality

Competent, but needs an update

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