Saab stands out from crowd
If you have about R150k that you'd like to use to purchase a sedan that doesn't follow the herd, the Saab 9-3 is an interesting bit of kit to consider.
Being a victim of GM's last massive haemorrhage when it was trimming down weight, Saab, the Swedish neighbour of Volvo, had a good gig going.
Very much like Volvo, the development of Saab cars pivoted around luxurious driving coupled with stringent safety features.
There is more on offer though, if you are willing.
First it's the aesthetics, which have always been a central focus for the brand.
The last twitch from Saab here in South Africa was in mid-2008 when it introduced a refreshed look to the 9-3, a mid-size sedan that was pitted against the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4 and Volvo S40 of the day.
The 9-3 also came in more than just the natural booted version and the sleek convertible variant.
In 2008, the company introduced the SportCombi, which at the time was marketed as something out of the ordinary although it was simply a station wagon. The new nose of the year featuring extra shimmer and an evolutionary redesign which made the cars look cheekier than ever.
For, while Saab may have mostly attracted intellectuals who favoured black turtlenecks and slim eyewear, there has always been a fun streak in the cars.
The 9-3 of 2008 didn't disappoint, arriving with the advanced chassis technology the world had come to expect from the brand.
Mostly front-wheel driven, the SportCombi version introduced a four-wheel steering facility that is meant to enhance cornering from a "save my family angle" and an "let me enjoy these bends" perspective - and it worked well.
Engines range from 2.0-litre fours to a range-topping petrol 2.8-litre turbo. Drive is courtesy of manual and automatic gearboxes.
The smaller capacity motors are great if you want it as a regular runner, sipping fuel while exposing you to all of Saab's comfy, safe and green-ish drive experience.
Because of the company's history, many will buy a Saab from an emotional point of view, hoping to have access to an intelligently manufactured classic.
If you are one of these individuals, allow me to steer you towards the top spec variants with the 2.8-litre engine.
Here you can immerse yourself in a rich baritone ambience generated by the engine and exhaust.
To have front row access to this orchestra opt for the convertible 9-3, which also comes with a fancy roof peeling ritual that's only ever been matched by the new Audi R8 Spyder and A5 cabrio.
There are risks in signing for a Saab - there are no more buildings with Saab branding on them to give you peace of mind. But as a long-time GM subsidiary, dealers still have the tooling, spares and care to service your modern classic.
They are likely to be in good condition, considering the profile of the previous owners.
They sell for between R150k and R250k these days.