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Performance (manual gearbox)
Performance (automatic gearbox)
Virtual Adviser's™ opinion
Well, these are two pretty similar cars we have here! It's only details that could potentially make the difference. Considering they both belong to the large family car segment and utilize the same 5-door wagon body style and the front wheel drive system, it all comes up to the specific diesel engine choice they offer. The first one has a FIAT-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 4-cylinder, 8-valves 120hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 5-cylinder, 20-valves 130hp engine designed by Volvo.Safety
Both vehicles got tested by European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), with the SAAB being a slightly better choice apparently. Still, apart from the official crash test results there are other things we need to be aware of. Both vehicles belong to the large family car segment, which is generally a good thing safety-wise, still it doesn't help us solve our dilemma, does it? On the other hand, if we'd like to consider vehicle mass in this context too, which we definitely should, V70 offers a marginal difference of 7% more metal.Reliability
I don't like generalizing things when it comes to reliability, although it does seem that both brands display similar results in faults and breakdowns, all the models observed together. These are the results of an independent reasearch, while our visitors describe reliability of SAAB with an average rating of 4.1, and models under the Volvo badge with 4.5 out of 5. Independent research findings rank 9-3 30% below average, and V70 34% above the first one. We should definitely mention that owners of cars with the same powertrain as 9-3 rank it on average as 4.5, while the one under the competitor's bonnet gets 4.0 out of 5.Performance & Fuel economy
SAAB is a bit more agile, reaching 100km/h in 0.4 seconds less than its competitor. Still, it lacks the power to win the top speed competition, topping at 200 kilometers per hour, exactly the same as the other car does. When it comes to fuel economy the winner has to be 9-3, averaging around 5.7 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (50 mpg), in combined cycle. We can't ignore that 18% difference compared to V70.
Volvo appears just a bit more reliable, although the difference is truly marginal. The most important thing when deciding between any two vehicles should always be safety, both passive and active. In my opinion, everything taken into account, 9-3 offers slightly better overall protection and takes the lead. It all continues in the same direction, with SAAB offering somewhat better performance, just enough to call it quicker. To make things even better, it consumps less fuel! All together, there's not much more to say, in this case I wouldn't even consider anything but SAAB. In any case that's my personal view, built upon all the data available to me. What should decide here though is the way you feel about the two vehicles, and I hope you'll find my guidelines useful in the process. In case you have two minutes to spare I invite you to define your needs, desires and budget and see which car would be chosen by the virtual adviser™, out of 12.000+ vehicles we currently have in our database.