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Appreciating the Saab 9-3 Viggen

The Saab 9-3 Viggen was a considerable update to its forerunner, the Saab 900, and was introduced in 1998. The vehicles manufacturer admitted to making over 1000 alterations at the time, the most noticeable of which were visual. The most noticeable changes were the new front and back bumpers, grilles, taillights, as well as more comfortable anti-whiplash seats. Modifications to the chassis, on the other hand, increased the overall driving dynamics. The hatchback and coupe versions of the 9-3 were produced until 2002, while the convertible was produced until 2003. In late 2001, the product was reduced to three options including, Aero, Design Edition, and Anniversary. In 2001, the Aero acquired Viggen's body kit and the seats. Amber indicators, Saab-Scania badging, and its three-spoke wheels can be found on older models. The popularity of Saab 9-3 Viggen comes down to its unique capabilities and features.

Engine performance

The Saab 9-3 Viggen is propelled by a B235R light engine. In factory specification, the Viggen had 258 pound-feet of torque and 230 horsepower. That is more than enough torque and power for a front-wheel-drive vehicle by any measure. The ‘R' in B235R indicates that the engine has “High-Output”; as a result, SAAB designers equipped the B235R with a wide range of improvements to boost the engine's performance, efficiency, and resistance. The introduction of SAAB's innovative Trionic7 Management program, as seen in model 9-5, was the very first substantial modification for the Viggen. The closely integrated system allows the technicians to handle boost, ignition, fuel, as well as throttle from a single electrical system, potentially allowing them to assure that each Viggen functioned reliably irrespective of altitude or climate variances. SAABs employ a Trionic7 system starting in the model year 2001.

According to Jalopnik, after the electronic upgrades, they focused on the mechanical systems. The most significant change was the installation of a stronger turbocharger than it would ordinarily be found on a 9-3 Viggen. This was done to make sure that the vehicle never ran out of power, even at heights of 10,000 feet. The exhaust valve is equipped to deal with the turbocharger's boost levels. Its exhaust valves are composed of Nimonic Alloy, a high-nickel content aerospace alloy noted for its heat endurance and more frequently used in the manufacturing of Jet Engine exhaust nozzles, to deal with the turbochargers boost levels.

Unique design

From the dashboard's fasten seatbelt indicator to the turbine-inspired wheels, there's a lot to like about this car. The vehicle's manufacturer wants people to realize that they used to manufacture planes. The passenger cabin receives Viggen's final stylistic touches, including two-tone unique seats, a superb steering wheel, as well as a distinctive dashboard that most people claim resembles a kitchen worktop. However, that is simply a matter of taste!). Lear designed the seats, which offer excellent support in all the appropriate areas and always manage to situate you precisely where you need to be.


Everyone comments on how nice the vehicle's leather interior is. The manufacturer ensured that the inside has no fractures or hard areas. According to a post in Saab Central, the interior may develop the occasional wrinkle, but with good care, the leather can easily survive for an extended period. On short or long rides, the chairs are supportive and comfy, as well as the heated seats that come in handy during winter.

Durability, ownership, and servicing

The Saab 9-3 Viggen community is broad and diverse, and it's a lot of fun to be a part of. There are those willing to share their knowledge in order to help you resolve your difficulty. With the Saab corporate issue, they have actually pulled together in recent years. Some owners of this vehicle get caught up in the emotional roller coaster of news reports about the company's ups and downs. Most people will remark that servicing any European vehicle is pricey. This is correct, but it does not have to be the case. My belief is that if you take care of your Saab, it will not cause you any problems. Follow the servicing schedule and you will be fine. Obtain a reputable Saab dealer to service and advice more on how to take care of the vehicle. If you reside in the city, you can find several mechanics who specialize in Saab vehicles, as well as Saab wreckers who are more than willing to supply you with original parts.


Since this car was first debuted in 1998, it received 5-star ANCAP ratings. It has passenger and front airbags, along with side impact airbags installed in the seats. Families may indeed be curious to learn that car seats have ISOFIX points, which, while not extensively used.


Let's face it, the vehicle is from the year 2001. It comes with a four-speaker radio system with a CD player that is standard on all 9-3s. Those front-row speaker grills are vacant. Only when you upgrade to Aero spec would you get a six-speaker system, that is incredible. According to Car Advice, there is a tape at the front and the six stackers in the back of the Aero. You'll also see RDS and TP details, which means radio station names will appear. The Saab Information Display (SID) trip computer just on 9-3 shows time and date, fuel data, engine warnings, and radio details. They have a frequent issue of missing pixels owing to rusted contacts, and you'll notice they're more active during summer. While not technologically advanced, most 9-3s come with a "trippy" cupholder that pulls out between the stereo and the SID. Drivers electronic memory seats but also passenger electric seats are available on Aero variants.

Final thoughts

This vehicle is a great deal of fun and good value for money, as well as being quite functional and possibly becoming a future classic. As a result, it can suit someone with a young family or an aficionado. It has its flaws, but what car of this era doesn't? You could get a Commodore or a Corolla, but would they be as great all-round compared to a Saab 9-3 Viggen?

Benjamin Smith

Written by Benjamin Smith

Benjamin Smith is one of the managing editors of Moneyinc. Ben's been focusing on the auto and motorcycle sector since 2005. He's written over 1000 articles in the space and continues to learn about it each day. His favorite car is "any Bugatti" and he's a die hard Harley Davidson fan.

Read more posts by Benjamin Smith

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