SEE A DESIGN OVERVIEW OF THE SAAB 9-3:
The Saab 9-3 convertible is great fun when you've got the top down, but even when you don't, this car has a lot to offer.
Its comfort, convenience and safety features make it an all-out great piece of driving machinery.
If the air is a little too chilly for you to enjoy having the top down, then make use of the dual-zone automatic climate control, multi-function car computer, heated sideview mirrors, high-pressure headlamp washers and 150-watt AM/FM sound system with XM Satellite radio.
Add to that its power window and door locks, cruise control and wide angle side view mirror, and you've got quite a package.
Saab, a General Motors brand, prides itself on its heritage as an aircraft company.
That heritage is in evidence in the 9-3's design, which is sharp and aerodynamic.
The test-drive model had a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that was a screamer.
It made 210 horsepower and 221 pounds-feet of torque.
Gas mileage is rated at 18 mpg city, 24 highway.
The six-speed automatic transmission shifted precisely.
The convertible roof is operated at the touch of a button, opening and closing in only about 20 seconds.
For even more convenience, the steering wheel, which is leather wrapped, is adjustable and has audio-system control buttons.
There is an eight-way control mechanism on the driver's seat and a 12-volt system on the center armrest.
There is a fair amount of storage space in the trunk when the roof is up; when it's down, not so much.
The rear seating area isn't all that big, but you wouldn't expect it to be.
Some of the options on the test model included rear parking assist, fog lamps and heated front seats.
The Bose Centerpoint surround sound system seems perfectly acoustically tuned for this car -- you can crank some serious bass in this joint.
For safety's sake, there is electronic stability control, active rollover protection, side-impact airbags, active head restraints on the front seats, traction control and anti-lock brakes.
The 9-3 has a five-year/100,000-mile power train warranty that features courtesy transportation and roadside assistance and free scheduled maintenance for three years/36,000 miles.
The sticker price was $46,425.
2009 SAAB 9-3
Engine: 16-valve turbo 4-cylinder 2.0 liter
Torque: 221 pounds-feet
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Gas mileage: 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway