9,000 Miles, a Coat of Wax, and a Turbo-X

Its been 9000 miles and about 5 months since I last mentioned my Turbo-X. I get a lot of questions about my #19 from friends, family, and of course the predictors of doom (those who thought Saab too unreliable to buy from).  So in honor of passing the 9,000 mark here’s an update.

This won’t be a drool festival though, but more of a good, bad, and the…we well there really isn’t an ugly, but you probably get the point. So on to it…

The good:

  1. The driving experience is great with plenty of power. Cornering is just way too fun.
  2. Shifting is smooth although sometimes I get a bit of trouble with 3rd gear when shifting aggressively. The car is smooth well beyond the speed limit (65MPH) here in the states.
  3. Visibility all around the car is really quite excellent. Combined the handling – this car is very easy to drive.
  4. The interior quality is really quite good. I was a bit worried having read a lot of forum posts complaining about all sorts of things. The seats are excellent and are wearing quite well with my 6′ 205lb size.
  5. I recently waxed the car with Meguiar’s Tech Wax 2 and wow the car’s paint really has pop now. I would highly recommend this wax along with the matching wash. I followed the manual’s recommendation to wait 5-6 months after getting the car prior to waxing it. I’ve been washing it every week.
  6. I still think the wheels are really cool. They are also very easy to keep clean.
  7. The nav system is a real surprise. Its really easy to use and has lots of features that are cool: touch screen, nice destination history functions, nice point and go destinations, and switching between radio and nav is very easy.

The bad:

  1. Gas consumption is not that great. I’ve averaged 22.1 MPG over the 9000 miles. I drive a lot on the highway or it would be worse. But its not like I expected 35 MPG.
  2. The tires are already getting worn so I’ll probably only get about 12-15K on them. Perhaps not fair to blame the car for that I guess, but this is my blog 🙂
  3. The car has a tire pressure monitoring system, but it has no way to tell you what the pressure actually is. So the other day the alarms went off. I looked at the tires and everything was ok, but I couldn’t actually see what the pressure was. I suspected the changing of the seasons as the culprit and sure enough 15 miles into the rides all the alarms cleared off.
  4. Daylight sensing on the nav to change the background colors does not seem to work.
  5. Lack of auto-locking at 7 MPH and in their general operation –> the car’s locking systems are funky. You can get your key re-programmed, but the car should work”right” from the get go…using of course the American definition of functionality as “right”. Sorry about sounding “Bush-ie…
  6. There’s an aluminum colored ring around the main dash panel. Its the only piece of bright metal in the car…its gotta go.
  7. There’s no lock for the gas tank lid. The lid has a bracket for this, but there is no actual lock for the lid as far as I can tell. With the car parked and locked I can still open the tank lid. There’s also no internal release – which is only slightly annoying, but just a bit strange. It seems such a common feature on all cars these days. Perhaps a Saab “quirk”. 🙂

The “ugly”:

  1. The sunroof control is a piece of crap. Its going to break off eventually.
  2. The whole deal with not having a spare tire. Getting a flat on the PA turnpike without something else to put on the car is a serious problem.

Since I’ve moved from New Jersey to PA I’ve had to find a new dealer. If you’re looking for a Saab dealer in the Philly area, The Great Britains Saab has been pretty cool so far. I’ve had an oil change and PA state inspection done there and the work has been prompt, well done, and reasonably priced. So far I’ve had no mechanical issues – knock on wood. I think this is pretty remarkable for such a small number of cars of this type being manufactured.

Overall a great car – easily the best I’ve ever driven. if you find one and can get it during this downturn in the  economy then you won’t regret it. I hope to be driving this car for a long time.

7 Comments

  1. shard

    I love the Turbo X but it does have some quirks. I think your list is great because it is a real list of issues that a Turbo X user will face. To comment on some of the bad:

    2. I am assuming your Turbo X came with P-Zero Nero tires? From experience those only last about 20000KM. Great tires but they do wear out really fast.

    3. The TPM is pretty accurate but it does not take into account temperature etc. If it sounds off, you may want to top up the air in your tire anyway since the recommended tire pressure is meant to be measured when the tires are cool.

    5. Mine came with this setting disabled as well. Quick visit to the dealer and they reprogrammed it. Now if only I can get the car to beep when I lock the doors.

    6. If possible get the Hirsch leather instrument panel upgrade. Makes a world of difference.

    Lastly, a question, can you pop the boot from inside the car? I have no way to pop the hood from inside my Turbo X and the dealership told me that it is a design change from Saab.

    Reply
  2. berenerchamion (Post author)

    Hi Shard,

    By boot I guess you mean the engine hood. Yes I can do this with a lever installed on left side of the car (us driver position). There’s also a trunk release on the left front door panel.

    I forgot another “bad” thing…despite what I’ve been told there is no gas lid lock on this car. There is a bracket for it, but there is no actual mechanism. I’ll add that to the list above.

    Reply
  3. Kroum

    The missing gas lid lock is likely a cost-cutting victim – my old 9-3 sedan (MY03) had it. It also had neatly integrated headlamp washer units – not the ones sticking out. Another cost-cutting victim, from what I’ve heard.

    Regardless of its minor flaws, it is a beautiful car. If you’re the romantic type, you could almost say those flaws give it some character. I’ve put 7,000+ km on mine so far and I smile every time I get in.

    A wonderful piece of machinery only 2,000 of us get to appreciate every day. 🙂

    Reply
  4. mparadis

    I recommend any of the Meguiar’s Professional Mirror Glaze products. They act as a “prep” before using a wax. If done by hand (I hate orbital polishers) and correctly, your polish rag will simply slide off the hood of the best looking car in the neighborhood.

    Here is the link –
    http://www.meguiarsdirect.com/category/professional_care

    Hey slacker…..how about a light/slight tire dressing on those dingy looking road huggers? It would make a huge difference!

    MP

    Reply
  5. berenerchamion (Post author)

    ha! nice! Well yeah I thought about that. The tire juice is cool and all, but its a lot of petro-chemical for the few days of cool shine that you get. Especially since my tires are going to be toast in another 5-8K miles.

    Meguiar’s stuff does rock. Orbital’s stink…I use one on my wife’s car (an acura) but not mine 🙂

    I use a super soft microfiber set of cloths. They are absolutely fantastic.

    Reply
  6. Jörgen Trued

    Great to hear about Your experiences with the Turbo X.
    I drive no 119/200 and I agree with You its one of the best performing cars out there.
    Here are some links to PDF documents from a Swedish car magazine on the Turbo X

    http://www.teknikensvarld.se/files/0816-bankalaset-2008.pdf
    http://www.teknikensvarld.se/files/0813_saab_9-3_turbo_x.pdf

    Reply
  7. berenerchamion (Post author)

    Nice pics – but my languages end with French and some Dutch (not as much as I would like). Thanks for the links!

    Hopefully I’ll get to pick back up on my Dutch, but the sudden need to learn Japanese to avoid push-ups form my Karate sensei has derailed my adoption of Dutch. D’oh!

    Reply

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