1989 Saab 9000

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chicagotribune.com
Saab has become more civilized.

First there was the 9000 in 1986, a car that broke with the theory thatif it carries the Saab nameplate it has to be misshapen, unruly and very ugly. The 9000 also located the ignition key in the steering column and not onthe floor by the driver as in its 900 series models.

For the most part, we`ve always felt that anyone who could becomeattached to a Saab had to march to the beat of a different drummer. Based onlooks alone, Saabs were best hidden, not paraded in public. Performance wasmediocre.

But for 1989 Saab brings out the 9000 CD turbo 4-door sedan, and it`stime to recognize that the Swedish automaker is no longer a misfit. The 9000CD turbo borrows much the same rounded body lines and 20th Century styling as the 9000 hatchback. While the CD is built on the same 105.2-inch wheelbase as the hatchback, it`s 6.5 inches longer.

The 9000 CD is powered by a 16-valve, fuel-injected, 2-liter, 4-cylinderengine. Thanks to the turbocharger, that little engine develops a hefty 160h.p., same as the 3.3-liter V-6 at GM.

The turbo goes to work with a shrill whistle and a hefty kick. Eventhough our test car was equipped with optional automatic ($695) there`s noreason to doubt the top 135 m.p.h. speedometer reading.

The EPA rating is 22 m.p.g. city and 28 m.p.g. highway with the standard5-speed manual, 19/26 with 4-speed automatic with overdrive.

Four-wheel disc brakes with antilock as standard bring you back down from speed without trouble. Still, we`d settle for the same power but without thewhistle from a non-boosted multivalve V-6, which doesn`t require the care and maintenance of a turbo.

The suspension features MacPherson struts and an antiroll bar up frontand a self-leveling system plus separate shocks, coil springs and an antiroll bar in the rear. The power steering has progressive assist, meaning thetighter the maneuver, the greater the assist.

The suspension system means you can play with the FWD sedan as if it were a coupe. Nice package.

Standard equipment includes electric windows, remote-control heatedoutside mirrors, heated seats, central locking, air conditioning, tripcomputer, AM-FM stereo with cassette and eight speakers, and electricallyoperated sliding glass moonroof with tilt-up feature and sunshade.

Base price is $31,995 with leather interior, $30,895 with velour. Only3,600 9000 CD turbos will be allotted to the U.S. for 1989.



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