1997 SAAB 900 Talladega XS 2.3 from UK and Ireland
If you like quirky, you'll like the 900
Engine coolant hose split.
Rear brake bulb failed.
Dash rheostat switch failed.
Driver's door kickplate cover came loose.
Cd autochanger would periodically jump track for no reason.
Mine was a black one with 16" alloys and fully colour coded, I really like the shape of these old Saabs, it's a very classic shape and seems to be a lot more timeless than stuff like Mondeos and Vectras from the same era.
Plus points first -- Very torquey engine, nice and quiet at a cruise with very little wind noise, good kickdown response in sport mode from the auto box.
Handling is reasonable and grip good from the 205 width tyres I had, brakes are fantastic and very reassuring.
Mine had a really good info display that came in very handy when it informed me of a "low coolant level" warning and made a loud bonging noise that frightened me half to death! If it hadn't been for this I probably wouldn't have realised and possibly overheated the engine.
The trip computer was also very accurate with the mpg readout, I don't always trust these things, especially on older cars, but this was about as spot on as you'd need, for the record I averaged anywhere from 28-30mpg on average, which I think is OK.
The cruise control was very easy to use and a lot better laid out than on some other cars I've owned.
Final big plus point for me was a really big boot with a low loading sill, with plenty of space for my 35 kilo boxer dog!
Number one negative I think had to be the steering feel and the fact the steering wheel had reach but not rake adjustment, I sit low and always felt like the steering wheel was too high, I'd far rather have tilt adjust than reach adjust and can't understand why so many manufacturers fitted only reach on this era of car, of course, now they've all got reach and rake.
The steering is very lacking in feel and it's hard to tell what the front wheels are up to sometimes.
The ride was a bit too firm for my liking and it did struggle on bumpy country roads sometimes, not surprising really bearing in mind it's a Cavalier based chassis. My dads got an 02-reg 9-3 and they improved the ride quite a lot when they changed to the 9-3 in '98.
Another niggly point was that in economy mode the auto could be a bit too reluctant to change down a gear, and it was necessary to use sport mode more than I would've liked to in everyday driving.
Packaging wise, although the boot is big, rear seat legroom leaves a bit to be desired and the cabin's definitely too narrow, another hang up from its Cavalier underpinnings I guess.
Overall though I've got fond memories of this car, it felt like it'd go on forever and I'd happily have another, or a 9-3, maybe a Turbo next time!
Replaced by an X-reg Omega, which I've got to say, mainly feels lightyears ahead on most counts, although I do miss that Saab-ness!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 29th November, 2008