SAAB Reviews

Flashback Review: “Consumer Guide” – 1984 Saab 900

Saab 900 Review: Best Buy

Established in 1967, “Consumer Guide” is one of the longest-running auto-review operations in teh US. Their first online in 1995, they were also one of the first car-test organizations to hit the web. Cars evaluated by “Consumer Guide” are provided by manufacturers and a test car typically spends two weeks in their care, during which it is driven an average of 500 miles.

Among other cars, magazine editors tested the classic Saab 900 in the distant 1984. In that time, in USA, The Saab 900 – w/design & styling made it one of those “polarizing” cars either you “loved” (as we did) or “hated”, no “in-between”.

Interesting, they even “stirred” the “political” pot as they were said to be the darlings of International “Liberals”, but Conservatives loved them too, as well as “middle-of-the-roaders” – International “car nuts” all. That isn’t “injecting”, that’s sharing widely known, believe or not.

Here’s a few excerpts from the magazine where you can see how the editors think about our super Saab, putting it in the category The Best buy.

Saab 900 Review by  “Consumer Guide”

Front drive Swedish intermediate is tested here in base form, which we group with mid-side cars. High-line Saab 900S and Turbo models are grouped with Premium sedans because of their loftier proce and equipment levels.

The 1984 Saabs have a redesigned grille and front bumper extensions, plus a new alternator driven by two belts, revised emmisions control system that is supposed to improve cold-start driveability, and a cutout switch for the air conditioner during wide-open acceleration.

1984 Saab 900S
1984 Saab 900


A 2.0-liter engine in a 2700-pund sedan doesn’t promise much, but the base 900 has adequate acceleration and supprising gas mileage with the 5/speed manual. It’s a very smooth, free-revving engine that yielded over 29 mpg in a 700-mile highway trip. Saab’s power steering transmits a good amount of road feel and requires a firm turning effort.

Body roll and understeer are well menaged and the 900 feel very agile for its size, plus it has fine traction in rain and snow. Workign the forward gears on the 5/speed was no problem, but we have trouble engaging reverse at times.

Saab 900 dashboard


High-back front seats are comfortable and relaxing over a long journey, despite lacking lateral support. The dashboard conveniently groups controls close by and the instruments are large and clearly marked for easy reading…


Uprighr seats prove to be comfotable on long rides and the interior has enough room for four adults to sit without squeezing, even for those in the rear when the front seats are pushed back.

Saab 900 Rear door


Despite having narrow doorways, the upright styling and hight-set seats allow easy access for passengers. With the fold-down rear cargo room on the 900 nearly rivals that of small station wagons. Saab mount its engine longitudinally with the front of the engine facing the rear of the car.

Sounds improbable, but the fluid checks are well marked, the oil filter is easily reached, and there’s a minimal amount of emmisions plumbing, so service points are in the open…

Readers’ Choice

And here’s what magazine readers said about this fantastic car:

“It was a fun car to drive that handled the roads, dry and snowy, quite well. It was easy to get around and park in Stockholm and nearby cities. The only problem I had was going back to the counter when I first got the car and asking where the key went.”

“I had an ’84 900 Turbo Sedan. It was a good car, fun to drive, I drove it coast to coast and back one time with no problems and that was around ’96. I have an ’87 900 Turbo convertible now that is awaiting some restoration before I resume drivingit. These are not cars for everyne. You have to be prepared to mess with them and it pays to know about the cars by doing some study.”

“M. COrbin: “It was not a turbo but our ’84 900 was my favorite car ever. And it was ten years old when we got it. On the road for twenty years and 350k miles. In the end the body was going but the engine was maintained and perfectly sound. I miss Saab.”

MIke Sheachen: “Yes indeed the Saab 900 – with its’ polarizing “love it or hate it” design & styling – was not only burdened with association with the selfish self-centered “me generation” (which, unlike fads & words such as “yuppie”, is not limited to a time passed as indeed such people continue reproducing & dominating), but it was indeed associated w/their “make others pay for it” Liberalism, like an exclusive property of theirs, to the point of being stereotyped as such. HOWEVER! There are a few exceptions such as I who love the Saab 900, and I am as nothing is “free” everybody pays, Constitutionally Conservative as can be, the complete opposite of the stereotype. – So much for stereotypes!”