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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 4-door sedan body style and the front wheel drive system, it all comes up to the specific petrol engine choice they offer. The first one has a Volvo-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 5-cylinder, 20-valves 170hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 6-cylinder, 24-valves 250hp engine designed by Opel.Safety
The first thing to look into here would be the results from European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) tests performed on the two cars. Good thing is that both vehicles got tested, 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, 9-3 offers a marginal difference of 4% 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, when all the models are taken into account. These are the official statistics, while our visitors describe reliability of Volvo with an average rating of 4.5, and models under the SAAB badge with 4.1 out of 5. Independent research findings rank S60 as average reliability-wise, and 9-3 is more or less at the same level.Above it all, drivers of cars with the same engine as S60 rank it on average as 5.0 out of 5, exactly the same as the other one.Performance & Fuel economy
SAAB is undoubtly more agile, reaching 100km/h in 2 seconds less than its competitor. In addition to that it accelerates all the way to 250 kilometers per hour, 40km/h more than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy the winner has to be S60, averaging around 9 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (31 mpg), in combined cycle. We can't ignore that 13% difference compared to 9-3.
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 much better overall protection, which launches it ahead of the other contender. It all continues in the same direction, with SAAB being considerably quicker, thus putting more smile on driver's face. It does come at a cost though, and that's the fuel consumption... At the end, as much as I'd like to give you a winner here, it's simply a pure tie if you ask me. 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™, among more than 12.000 different ones in our database.