What a lovely car to drive! It handled incredibly well the twists and turns of our West Coast and Marlborough Sounds roads. We traveled over 1000 trouble free kilometres and loved every minute of it.
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Classy and refined cruising, with effortless press on from the turbo when required. Lap up the sunshine, cosseted in tan leather comfortably seating 4 adults, and experience our stunning scenery from a whole new open air perspective. And should the evening air start to chill, merely engage the power soft top, flick on the heater built for Scandinavian winters and pipe your media player sounds through the concert quality CD stereo to restore that sense of well being.
Features and Specification
- 2.0 litre Turbocharged
- Manual 5 speed transmission
- Passenger & driver airbags
Ride = Comfort
- Heated Leather Seats
- Air Conditioning
- 4 Window Power Button
- Power Soft Top
- Glass Heated Rear Window
- CD Player with Digital Media Player input
- Seats 4
- Note: Rear seat passengers should be under 6 foot!
- Luggage Space = Good
- Boot space roof up = 100 x 70 x 41 (cm LWH)
- Boot space roof down = 100 x 70 x 32 (cm LWH)
- Also significant storage space on rear seats
- (An average large suitcase is 78 x 50 x 32)
- (An average small cabin case is 54 x 37 x 20)
What a pleasure to drive a classic Saab convertible in the South Island of New Zealand, covered 2,000 trouble free kilometres in seven days with two passengers, having the soft top down and experiencing the sights into Milford sound was just incredible, you see the whole landscape, not just a view from the window !
We had a great experience with rent a classic, car was great, warm and helpful reception and did everything to make our trip a success; even drove us back to Christchurch after returning the car. I would thoroughly recommend rent a classic.
My mother in law said it was the most fun she’d had in years!
Well, if you want a bit of fun touring around don’t hire a standard car, try a classic.
What a brilliant drive – just one day of typical downpour over Arthurs Pass, (stayed totally dry!). Exceeded my high expectations – only way to see the South Island. Return after 25 years – still empty, curving, beautiful roads….
A wonderful 2 week trip around the South Island – the car was a joy – perfect for the open roads of NZ! Mountains were higher, valleys deeper, skies bluer – all because of the wonderful Saab convertible. Stephen was fantastic to deal with – kind and thoughtful!
Perfect roof down weather and very hard to wipe the smile off our faces. The Saab’s a beaut.
1999 Saab 9-3 SE Convertible (4 seater manual)
“Of all the cars I’ve ever owned or run, the Saab fights for top billing”
James May, Car Magazine, Jan 97.
What's she like to drive?
From just $85 per day or less, measured, mellow and smooth, but deceptively sharp and punchy when called upon, somewhat akin to Nat King Cole with a good ruby port. Not brash but solidly understated, this car is the epitome of sophisticated European cool. Very easy to drive, the light pressure turbo isn’t snatchy or ‘all or nothing’ but can effortlessly dispatch long mountain climbs or long trucks with equal consummate ease, and gives responsive, confident cornering. The roof is electric and there’s even a button to lower all 4 windows at once to maximise the open air experience. It turns every outing into an event – as Seinfield said, “black Saabs rule” in convertible car hire!
What do I need to get used to?
Heads turning wherever you go with the top down, or when you put the electric roof into action to raise or lower it?! If you haven’t driven a convertible before, the occasional ‘scuttle shake’ over significant bumps at low speeds can make things very briefly feel a bit more wobbly than expected, but this settles down hugely at normal speeds and the handling is deceptively sharp. You’ll need to take a bit extra care reversing as the rear view is more limited than a normal car with the roof up, (all the more reason to keep it down then…). Saabs have the quirky ignition key near the gearstick that you can’t remove unless in reverse, but you’ll soon suss that. It’s a manual transmission for a real driving experience, but unlike our MG you do get some help on the dials themselves to translate miles per hour into kilometers per hour for NZ roads. New Zealand is ideal convertible weather but the sun is surprisingly strong – between November and March, a hat and sunblock are essential top down accessories.
What about safety and reliability?
Saabs like their Swedish counterparts are renowned for their approach to safety, coming with front airbags, ABS and innovative features like anti whiplash head restraints and the Night Panel, that dims all dials except the speedometer to minimise distractions. In all the days above hired out our Saab 9-3 Convertible has had just one failure to proceed due to a split fan belt. Otherwise it has done many thousands of kilometers of trouble free motoring and in the unlikely event of issues you have full roadside assistance included in your hire charge. She’s regularly serviced and has to pass the Certificate of Fitness (CoF) test required for rental cars every 6 months.
What condition is she in?
Very good. We only acquire cars that we’re sure have been very well looked after inside and out and this Saab 9-3 Convertible is no exception. The climate control system has been overhauled to keep your body cool on those hot summer days, it’s had a recent new clutch for smoother gear changes, and everything electrical is in full working order right down to the heated front seats, (not that we think you’ll have a need for those). The mohair roof with heated glass rear window keeps you snug and dry even in the rare serious New Zealand deluges, (we can personally vouch for that).
How much luggage can fit?
That depends on how much you like to have the roof down and how many you’re sharing the fun with! If 4 are travelling you’ll all need to pack very light. With the roof up, around 2 large and 2 medium soft holdalls can fit fine in the boot. With the roof down however, it does cut down on space to a degree. A group of 3 people have done a weeks touring fine in the car though. Please refer to the Seating & Luggage tab above for exact dimensions. However if the rear seats are not occupied, you can belt in additional luggage into those. We always recommend bringing multiple soft bags to maximise flexibility, as many hard suitcases just won’t fit.
And the best driving tracks from the same year as the car would be?
Well actually, someone enjoyed the RentAClassic Saab convertible experience so much, they featured it in their own song….and it cameo guest stars with Dr Ashley Bloomfield our much lauded Director General of Health – so it has to be “Made in New Zealand” by Analise Tremlow. Get into the summer vibe vid below, and download it from iTunes and help raise funds for the Tourettes Society.
Check out the rest of our classic best road trip driving tracks here and put RentAClassic on your play list…
How fast will she go Mister?
Easily as fast as the legal road limits allow……but of course, you can have a lot of turbocharged fun getting there….
How would a certain Mr Clarkson describe it?
“For girls and architects……”
And the RentAClassic description for the Saab 9-3 Convertible?
“…and for gentlemen who aren’t architects, but secure enough in their manhood to be seen in a mohair hoodie, convertible or otherwise…. “
What's important to you?
Different strokes for different folks….
Do you want sensible things like comfort, luggage space, affordability (OK….)….
or more indulgent stuff like luxury, handling and powwwwerrrrr (yeah)?!
We think all our cars are totally brilliant, but here’s how this Saab compares to our other cars on some key rental criteria.
Satellite Navigation Hire
Far superior to most phone apps, with HD dashcam option to record your epic drive! $15/25 per 24 hours.
Portable Speaker Hire
Beam your perfect cruising soundtracks to our best in class UE Roll Bluetooth speaker! $15 per 24 hours.
Pack a picnic
Hire a picnic hamper with settings for 2 or 4, (minus food & drink), plus rug. $30 for 24 hours.