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2007 Saab 9-3

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2007 Saab 9-3 Review

Solid entry-level luxury ride doesn’t match athleticism or opulence of classmates.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2007 Saab 9-3 is a respectable entrant into the entry-level luxury car segment. It serves as a quirky and unique vehicle with lots of features and outstanding safety. It does not have the athletic abilities of the BMW 3 Series, nor can it match some of the competition when it comes to cabin luxury. But for buyers seeking a very safe, feature-filled, well-built, and unique in-class option, the 9-3 fits the bill perfectly.

The Range

Body Styles: sedan, wagon, convertible
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 2.8-liter V-6
Transmissions: six-speed manual, five-speed automatic, six-speed automatic
Models: Saab 9-3 2.0T, Saab 9-3 Aero, Saab 9-3 2.0T Sportcombi, Saab 9-3 Aero Sportcombi, Saab 9-3 2.0T convertible, Saab 9-3 Aero convertible

What's New

For 2007, the Saab 9-3 gets an interior for all models that features a restyled instrument panel and updated trim and chrome details. The options list now includes OnStar and a couple of new wheel designs. Satellite radio becomes standard on the Aero versions and optional on the 2.0T, and a Bose sound system provides an option for all 9-3 sedans.


The 2007 Saab 9-3 sells as a sedan, wagon (called the SportCombi), or convertible. All of these body styles come in 2.0T and Aero trim levels. The 2.0T starts with 16-inch alloy wheels and stability control. The sporty Aero adds a lowered sport suspension, a lower body kit, and 17-inch alloy wheels. Convertibles feature a fully automatic power top.


On the inside, the 2.0T has full leather seating, a 150-watt stereo, an eight-way power driver’s seat, and dual-zone automatic climate control. The Aero then adds bolstered sport seats, chrome instrument surrounds and interior trim, along with an upgraded stereo. Standalone options available for both trims include seat heaters and a navigation system.

The 9-3 resides in a class that offers some rather refined interiors, even for entry-level luxury sedans. In this respect, the 2007 Saab 9-3 lags behind class leaders. That is not to say that the 9-3 has an unpleasant or poorly made cabin, just that the material quality is not on par with the rest of the segment. The interior feels ergonomic and spacious, although the convertible lacks rear-seat legroom.

Performance & Handling

The 2007 Saab 9-3 offers two engine choices. The 2.0T contains a standard two-liter, turbocharged, four-cylinder engine that makes 210 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. Aero versions get a 2.8-liter, turbocharged V-6 that produces 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. All models come with a standard six-speed manual transmission. The 2.0T can be equipped with a five-speed automatic with manual-shift capability, while the Aero can upgrade to a six-speed automatic. While the 9-3 does not lead the class in performance or acceleration, all models should handle traffic situations with ease.

The 9-3 handles well enough, but once again it doesn’t lead the class. In the entry-level luxury sedan segment it competes with the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The 9-3 doesn’t carve up roads but it grips well and maneuvers easily enough. The sporty Aero could have a suspension that offered better sport tuning. Shifting feels fine, but not as swift or precise as some the more athletic in-class offerings.


Safety marks a high point for the 2007 Saab 9-3, thanks to standard features such as anti-lock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, active head restraints, and front-seat side airbags. Standard features for the sedan and SportCombi wagon include full-length side-curtain airbags, while convertibles get a rollover protection system that integrates pop-up roll bars, reinforced A-pillars, and front seat belt pretensioners. NHTSA and IIHS tests performed with the 9-3 2.0T Sport Sedan show outstanding results. In NHTSA tests the 9-3 earns four out of five stars on all tests but one, where it receives five out of five stars. In IIHS tests the 9-3 earns the highest rating of “Good"" on all but one test where it receives the second highest rating of “Acceptable."" Such outstanding crash test scores make the 9-3 a very safe choice for occupant protection.

EPA Fuel Economy

Saab 9-3 Aero: 16/26 mpg city/highway
Saab 9-3 Aero Sportcombi: 16/26 mpg city/highway
Saab 9-3 Aero convertible: 16/26 mpg city/highway
Saab 9-3 2.0T: 19/28 mpg city/highway
Saab 9-3 2.0T Sportcombi: 19/28 mpg city/highway
Saab 9-3 2.0T convertible: 18/27 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Handles well for a front-drive vehicle
  • Powerful and economical engines
  • Passenger room
  • Sedans with class-leading trunk space
  • Crash test scores

You Won't Like

  • Soft suspension on sporty models
  • Doesn’t handle bumps well
  • Mediocre interior for a luxury car
  • Turbo lag on V-6

Sum Up

Solid entry-level luxury ride doesn’t match athleticism or opulence of classmates.

If You Like This Vehicle

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  • Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class
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