Here's just a little note on the whole 5-speed vs. automatic issue going on here: Saab has contacted me and is trying to locate a 5-speed in my area to switch. My review will continue with items that are not performance oriented for the time being, but I will say the car is a hoot to drive even with the auto. Now to return you to the regularly-scheduled day 2 of the review where we will tackle the interior.
There really is not much difference between the Saab and the Subaru as far as the inside is
concerned. The number of standard features on the Aero is about equal to the WRX with automatic climate control and air
filter, power windows, locks and mirrors, 6-CD stereo with 6-speakers (I miss XM!), cruise and metallic finish
Some surprising things missing from the Saab include steering wheel controls, power seats and leather. These things aren?t necessary to become comfortable in a vehicle, just thing we?ve gotten used to in cars that approach this price range.
The two-tone fabric seats and door panels give a nice visual touch to the interior, but are already looking hard to keep clean. The floor mats are thick textile, which though a small thing, was something I noticed immediately. Saab says that extra sound-deadening material was added to quiet things down a little. It?s not loud inside, I particularly like to hear the turbo spool-up. The stereo does an adequate job tuning out any other noises, though I did experience more static than normal with the glass-mounted antenna. My dad?s 1979 Trans Am had one of those in the front windshield and I?m not sure the technology has progressed enough. If it had satellite radio, I wouldn?t care about radio reception. All the dials have a good, solid feel to them.
The MOMO steering wheel is meaty, I only wish there was a telescopic feature to help better position to my driving stance. There is a tilt that helps. The driver and passenger seats also include airbags for side impact crashes and active head restraints to help lessen whiplash. The front seats can be height adjusted in only two positions, low and a little lower, and can be moved fore and aft. That?s it. The seats hug you to help with G-forces. I?ll take an extended drive tomorrow and report on the long-term comfort on day 3. The Cold Weather Package adds the welcomed butt-warmers, outside mirror heaters and a defroster for the front windshield wipers.
Rear seats folded easily (60/40) and the wagon helps with the overall Saab look and adds utility to a smaller car. There is a package shade that can be removed and stored under the floor by the spare tire. There are also four cargo hooks that help keep things from sliding around back there.
I really wish there was more differentiation with the Subaru inside, but in all, it isn?t a bad looking or working interior. It can be a little sparse in the luxury area for a $30,000 car, but functional. I don?t feel like I?m in a cheap interior, but I don?t feel pampered either; middle of the road.