Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0

The entry level 2.0 litre feels a bit underpowered, yet still manages to get to 60 mph in just over 10 seconds. The 2.3 is usefully quicker and good value, although the Turbo is faster still, but only just. Torquey 2.2-litre turbo-diesel – Saab’s first – is refined and as quick as 2.0i 16-valve petrol unit; pick of the pack are the 185 bhp 2.0T Turbo or even more potent HOT; Viggen is awesome but quite a handful.

The old 900 is based on the Vauxhall Cavalier, but the Swedes gave the chassis a thorough reworking to give the 9-3 fine motorway cruising ability. Lacks the sporting edge of rivals like new 3-Series and Alfa 156; steering and gear-change are precise; handling and ride are much improved over previous 900. Only the turbo’s power can briefly catch both driver and car out.