No matter how small a company's vehicle lineup might be, it is not unusual to find that at least once in the past, it has sold a convertible as part of its regular offerings. convertibles hold a special mysticism and appeal to car companies and drivers alike. The romantic image associated with putting the top down and going for a carefree drive down a twisting mountain road, or even a simple cruise through a downtown boulevard is an extremely popular one, and this fact is not unknown to the marketing masterminds charged with helping to sell as many cars as possible.
Based in Sweden, Saab's primary competitor for decades was Volvo. Volvo developed a reputation for producing extremely safe but at the same time stodgy-looking automobiles that inspired about as much passion in the hearts of drivers as grey carpeting. Saab on the other hand managed to build a strong performance image that was inextricably tied to its production of jet airplanes, and over time its cars began to bear greater resemblance to the swept-back, aerodynamic designs more often seen in the air than on the road.
This styling differential was in direct contrast to the brick-like sedans built by Volvo. Looking for even more of an edge, Saab decided to build a drop top in the mid-1980s in order to further highlight the differences between its products and those of the competition in the minds of consumers all over the world. In fact, a driving force behind the development of the convertible, built on the 900 platform, was the North American division of Saab's operations. These executives hoped that a topless Saab would help jumpstart sales of the brand in the United States, in addition to allowing the company to enter into the rarefied air of the European sport convertible market.
The vehicle proved to be a success, and it would take Volvo almost 15 years to answer back with a topless vehicle of their own. The Saab compact convertible would become a staple of the company's lineup, and in 2004 the automobile would be completely re-designed, following in the footsteps of the 9-3 sedan and wagon. The newer 9-3 represents the best used convertible available from Saab, an imported sporty drop top that offers both elegance and excellent engineering.
2004 - 2007 Saab 9-3 Convertible
It's not unusual for specialty editions of a vehicle to appear on the streets a little bit later than their standard cousins after undergoing a platform update. In some ways, this delay helps to ensure that the automobiles experience few of the growing pains or kinks associated with the first editions of any new product line. This is because engineers are given the opportunity to incorporate real data gathered from customers and dealers alike regarding aspects of the vehicle which require improvement.
For the first 2 years of production, only one engine was available in the Saab 9-3 Convertible. A 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, turbocharged to produce 210 horsepower pulls double duty underneath the hoods of both the Arc and the Aero editions of the drop top. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard equipment on the Arc, while the Aero gets an extra forward gear. A 5-speed automatic transmission is also an option. In 2006 the Arc trim was renamed 2.0T, and while it kept its power plant the Aero was upgraded to a turbo 2.8-liter V-6 with a 250 horsepower output. Transmission choices remain the same with the addition of a 6-speed automatic.
The interior of the 2004 - 2007 Saab 9-3 convertible is streamlined and performance oriented, heavy on black trim and brushed metal accents. The vehicle's front seats are bolstered well to keep the drive in place during aggressive driving, but the rear accommodations are not nearly as comfortable and should be avoided by adults on all but the shortest of journeys. In addition to the power windows and seats the 9-3 convertible can be upgraded with a louder stereo system, OnStar and a tonneau cover that is matched to the exterior color of the vehicle.
The 2004 - 2007 Saab 9-3 is an excellent used convertible with great power and a level of comfort that is a step above the previous generation of automobile.