1,000 Miles on a Turbo-X

I just passed 1000 miles on my Saab Turbo-X. I’ve been doing a lot of back and forth driving around the Philadelphia metropolitan area. This has given me a great opportunity to break-in my car, learn how to handle it on both freeways and country roads, as well as how to operate the controls. To start off with the car has had no mechanical issues – a good start. The interior and exterior of the car is exactly what I wanted – elegant, but simple and functional. I’m extremely impressed with the quality of the materials and the fit and finish. The paint is amazing. The quality of the ride, including during heavy rain, is excellent. It is a firm ride, but not jarring – I cannot imagine a better sport feel for a sedan. You feel the road, but between the suspension and the seats you get just the right feel. The car gives you the feeling that you are always in control. There’s plenty of power on demand from the engine for passing. Wind noise even at high speeds on the highway is minimal. When you drop in down in gear and hit the gas it just flies. The car has serious power off the line and then is a spirited charger whenever you need it with, as far as I can tell, no lag from the turbo. Turning and handling is precise and really quite amazing in tight turns on the back roads. It puts my old GTI to shame. When the XWD system is active, you don’t really feel it. I went thru an outside banked turn over a one-lane bridge and could feel the outside wheels kicking in for extra duty at about 60 MPH. The assist from the system is very smooth and not “jerky” like most systems.  The same corner in my GTI would max out at about 40 MPH There are a couple of big surprises for me:

  • I complained about shifting in my earlier reviews, but after a few days I have to say now that I was wrong. The shifting in this car is better by far than my previous car. In particular down shifting is very smooth.
  • The navigation system is quite nice. It is vastly superior to the Acura 2007 system my wife has. There’s a split screen view with the radio and the touch screen interface works very nicely. The audio cue voice is a bit hard to hear so you need to crank it if you are driving with all the windows down.
  • The wheels: beautiful – much better than any picture especially after a bit of brake dust gets on them.
  • Braking is smooth and powerful.
  • The car’s sounds are really amazing, but not overpowering. You can hear the engine and exhaust notes inside and outside the car, but they are not obnoxious at all.
  • Gas mileage has averaged about 22 MPG over the 1000 miles. That is really surprising given my mixed driving and a bit of silly driving and stuff.
  • I’ve never had adaptive headlights before – wicked cool!
  • The whole gas tank lid issue has been debunked as newbie ignorance…oops…

Ok – so there must be something bugging me about the car right? True:

  • The nav audio cues are too quiet – or they are not adaptive enough.
  • There’s no foot or floor level air vents as far as I can tell.
  • I wish the sunroof was a little bigger – I like air…thus my problem with nav cues 🙂
  • The pillar between the front and rear windows is quite wide – extra caution is needed for odd angle merges on the passenger side.
  • I need to get my locks reprogrammed so that they auto-lock after the car goes over 7 MPH.
  • The settings menu on the main dash is powerful and you can do a lot to customize your car’s setup., but you really gotta RTFM. 🙂
  • I would prefer it if the air conditioner did not come on automatically…I have to dig into the settings to see if I can change this.

Maybe I’m not Motor Trend or Road & Tack or whatever; I’m a “regular” driver: this car is amazing. It is definitely is the best car I’ve ever driven, much less owned.

14 Comments

  1. berenerchamion (Post author)

    I did figure out how to crank up the audio cues on the nav. Right on the menu system. D’oh!

    Reply
  2. Kroum

    Beren, there certainly are floor/foot vents, it should be one of the buttons integrated into the centre fob.

    Reply
  3. david

    Hi
    I have the turbo x combi – I agree – simply awesome-

    some questions -do your mats have “turbo X” on them? Mine don’t
    did you get the special turbo x key ring? i didn’t get one.

    no spare tire! Just a pump and a can of sealant – is this how yours is?

    Reply
  4. berenerchamion (Post author)

    I’ll have to look for those vents.

    I just got plain mats. I was looking on the net for some better ones from Saab, but the mats they have look junky to me. I had some really nice GTI ones with red lettering, but so far I haven’t found anything like that for a Saab.

    Yes – I have the pump instead of a spare or donut. My dealer explained that a full spare/donut was throwing the weight of the car out of balance or something like that. Sounds strange.

    I also just had a moment to figure out how to change the AC setting so that it is off by default. You can do this easily in the settings menu.

    Reply
  5. 9-5_2000

    A reduced size spare wheel is a zero cost option here in Sweden for the 9-3, and I doubt anyone who notice it will failt to opt for it. Although the repair kit obviously is cheaper, I think the weight is at least part of the explanation, for formal reasons; lower weight may means lower taxes and fuel consumption which may be very important it things are on the limit for some local rule. I guess the dealer is just a bit lazy, as far as I can see there is no restrictions for ordering a the Areo XWD related to the reduced spare wheel (no data on the Turbo X is available).

    You may want to dig into how the car can be customized with a Tech2 unit (that all Saab shops have). As there is basically only one Saab 9-3 version for all markets, any option for any market (as long as it’s software) can be set up on any car. So there are a lot of strange options (most not very useful though) that can be set up (or disabled, if your market has an option you don’t like). Especially true if you have an annoying alert for something you want to remove…

    Reply
  6. Bob

    You have a pump and is there a little white can also there? My VW R32 and the Corvette had that. You are supposed to pour that through the valve stem, and it will seal leaks.

    They sell a green slimy version at Walmart (GoJo was it?) that really worked on my Kubota tractor. Sorry redneck here. I may get the only SAAB in the whole town.

    Anyway, my Turbo X Sedan Navi is coming next week 🙂

    Reply
  7. Bob

    Oh, one more reason why there is no spare is the volume needed to acomodate the Haldex unit, at least that is what the VW dealer told me.

    So i had Haldex1-VWR32, Haldex2-VolvoS60R, NO HALDEX3???, and now Haldex4.

    Where i really appreciate Haldex is when i push 60ies on uphill twisties with a 20 deg gradient and a lot of littered gravel. No other cars could do it IMHO.

    Reply
  8. berenerchamion (Post author)

    That makes more sense than weight balancing, but I still don’t believe this. The space for the wheel/tire looks pretty much just like the 9-3 standard model, but I’ll have to go back and measure.

    Its not a big deal – just a car with no spare should come with run-flat tires not this silly gizmo.

    Reply
  9. Kroum

    I just checked my Turbo X Sedan and I don’t have a spare tire either – just the pump and the sealant. This is odd, as my 2003 9-3 Sedan had the donut.

    But all 2008 Saabs have the tire-pressure monitoring system, but are the X’s tires runflats?

    Hey Beren, did you figure out how to direct air through the floor vents? 🙂

    Reply
  10. berenerchamion (Post author)

    Yeah – I got the floor vents figured out…first step have a double espreso…next step look at the dial…d’oh.

    What’s up with the gas tank door. People said this would lock when the car locks, but that does not happen on mine. Does it happen on yours?

    Reply
  11. Gio

    to get the Nav-Voice louder, just push the volume of the radio a little up when the lady talks… 😉

    Reply
  12. Bob

    Gas cover solenoid is absent, replaced by XM module in the Turbo X.

    Stant Model # 10511 fits perfect. Rockauto $15 shipped.

    OK, the real reason why no spare is that it would have to clear the large brake calipers up front. Steel wheels cannot have much offset or they bend. The well however is deep enough to fit the original wheel.

    Once i get 17″ winter wheels/tires i will just keep one in the trunk well.

    Reply
  13. berenerchamion (Post author)

    Not sure I understand…you mean the gas can cover’s solenoi dwas replaced to make room for the XM radio?

    Ahh…so they would need to include a full size spare with a real wheel. IC…that makes more sense. $500-600 is a lot.

    My only complaint is that without a spare they shoudl equip the car with run-flat tires.

    Reply
  14. Pingback: Driving the Saab Turbo-X » Tarn Aeluin

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