1984 SAAB 900 GLS 5-door 2.0 litre twin carb from UK and Ireland
A part of the 80's we do want to hold on to - a practical and quality car with retro styling
Nothing has gone wrong.
Obviously routine items have been replaced and it's had a couple of exhaust systems during its 16 year life, but I can't think of anything that has actually gone wrong.
Some people think it looks very dated (well it is over 16 years old!). I wouldn't say dated; retro maybe and with plenty of style - the 900 is a classic shape.
The first thing that strikes you as you get in is just how easy it is to do so. Seats are at an ideal height and there's no wide sills or narrow door openings to get in the way.
Turn the centrally mounted (in-between the seats) key (makes sense for security) and the Triumph design based engine fires into life with its characteristic Saab mellow whine/wail.
On the road it certainly doesn't feel a low slung driving position, but that gives it a commanding view of the road with excellent visibility (out of the front) with the wrap-around windscreen and all the controls and dials easy to read.
Looking in the rear view mirror or reversing isn't as good as many smaller modern cars, but once you're used to it it's okay.
Ergonomics are superb, with all the controls falling easy to hand and high up so you don't have to take your eyes off the road for too long. All the controls have a really nice action and the standard of materials is excellent and there isn't a flimsy fitting in sight.
One might expect a 16 year old car to be rattly and noisy, but the body feels very stiff and there's no shuddering over bumps as with some older car's and not a rattle or a squeak from the trim. There's a bit more wind noise than with some newer cars but this is inevitable without their flusher, more aerodynamic window and door fittings.
There's a real feel-good factor that so many other (new and old) cars lack. It feels special to drive, it's distinctive and most people recognise the classic Saab shape. Despite this, in functional terms, one really could use it as one's every day transport. Modern cars don't really offer any major advances in essential equipment for hassle free motoring. Okay it doesn't have all the labour saving devices like electric windows, but not all cars sold today do!
It has a lot of features which made it superior to other cars back in 1984. Central locking, power steering, heated seats, headlamp washers, 5-speed gearbox, side impact bars, pollen filter to name just a few that were relatively rare features of cars in the mid 1980s.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 17th January, 2001