The 9-3 Viggen was the hottest and fastest 9-3 you could buy in Saab's line-up. It started off with a 2.3-liter high-output turbocharged four-cylinder which pumped out 225hp and 252lb-ft torque. Later it was pumped up to 230hp and 258lb-ft torque. This was one of the last of the Saab vehicles that really did leave a special place in my heart.
On the road: The 9-3 Viggen I was able to get my hands on had a 2.3-liter high-output turbocharged four-cylinder producing 230hp and 258lb-ft torque. All this power was sent through a five-speed manual that was slick shifting at times. The engine felt smooth and urgent when you put your foot down, but often times you'll want to grab the steering wheel with both hands. The front wheels felt like they were searching for traction and the chassis often felt overwhelmed by the amount of power the engine produced. This sent a huge amount of torque steer to the front wheels before the ESP kicked in and helped keep things under control. If the 9-3 Viggen would've been a rear wheel drive car, the torque steer would've been to a minimal. But then again its all part of the charm. It's one of those cars you can just take to a race track and have a hoot with, and drive it home and feel comfortable. The suspension was firm but not overly firm where it left you feeling beat up after driving a few miles on patchy surfaces.
From behind the wheel: Everything in the 9-3 cabin feels logically laid out. All the controls are easy to navigate and everything is within reach of the driver's hand. The instrumental panel and the way its designed has a sort of cockpit feel to it. The ignition switch is tucked away neatly between the front seats as well as the power window switches and power door lock switch. It was one of those designs you either hated or loved. Most people loved it because it really did make Saab different from other cars.
Practicality: One of the best things about the 9-3 Viggen is the amounts of space and practicality it offered. There is plenty of cargo space in the boot, and the rear seats can accommodate two adults and one child, or three kids. The front seats offered plenty of support and visibility all round is very good. Saab has always been known to incorporate practicality in their vehicles, with a splash of sport.
The 9-3 Viggen is a rare find and is worth the look. This is one of the last of the Saab vehicles that really did gain cult status among fans before Saab started chasing BMW and discontinued the iconic hatchback for a more mainstream sedan. One thing for sure though is there is no other car like a Saab, and even if Saab isn't in production anymore. Saab will always be the company that started the turbo craze and the whole left field illogical thinking. Ingenious safety features and some of the best turbo engines you can ever drive. Saab is and will always be a great company.