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Virtual Adviser's™ opinion
Two significantly similar cars, no doubt about that. Still, each one has something different to offer. Having both cars powered by diesel engines and utilizing the 4-door sedan body style within the same 'Large family car' segment, the only major difference here really is their wheel drive configuration (rear for the Lexus and front in the case of the SAAB). The first one has a Toyota-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 4-cylinder, 16-valves 177hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 4-cylinder, 16-valves 180hp engine designed by FIAT.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 same number of safety stars gained in the process. That aside, let's consider some other aspects which affect safety. Both vehicles belong to the large family car segment, which is generally a good thing safety-wise, but that fact doesn't break the tie between the two cars. Furthermore, if we'd like to consider vehicle mass in this context too, which we definitely should, the Japanese car 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 Lexus does have a slight advantage, when all the models are taken into account. These are the results of an independent reasearch, while our visitors describe reliability of Lexus with an average rating of 5.0, and models under the SAAB badge with 4.1 out of 5. The same official information place IS as average reliability-wise, and 9-3 is more or less at the same level.That apart, owners of different cars powered by the same engine as the Japanese car rank it on average as 4.1, while the one under the competitor's bonnet gets 3.7 out of 5.Performance & Fuel economy
SAAB is a bit more agile, reaching 100km/h in 0.4 seconds less than its competitor. In addition to that it accelerates all the way to 225 kilometers per hour, 10km/h more than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy the winner has to be the Swedish car, averaging around 5.3 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (53 mpg), in combined cycle. We can't ignore that 19% difference compared to the Japanese car.
Lexus 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, the Japanese car offers slightly better overall protection and takes the lead. From there things take a different direction, with SAAB offering somewhat better performance, just enough to call it quicker. To make things even better, it consumps less fuel! I believe that, when we take all into account, we have only one winner here - the SAAB. Anyway, that's the most objective conclusion I could've came up with and it's based solely on the information found on this website. Aspects such as design, practicality, brand value and driving experience are there for you to measure them out. 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 thousands of similar, yet so different vehicles.