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Which automobile to replace my beloved Saab?


I'm looking to replace our '99 Saab 9-3, which has been a great automobile - now with 206,000 miles on the clock. I'm looking for a safe, reliable family automobile - four- or five-door - with low tax. I'm contemplating 2008 models to reduce tax - we're currently paying  €634. I'm looking at Skoda Octavia, Volvo S40, Volkswagen Passat, Saab 9-3 and Toyota Avensis. I want manual and probably diesel. Which would you advise or are there others to consider?

Filed under choosing used automobile - Asked by Peadar O'Callaghan (Donegal ) - Sat, 01 Jan 2011 16:34


Hi Peadar,

Firstly it is hardly a surprise that your Saab has served you so well. Those automobiles are so well-built that they can go on for what seems like forever. I'm sure you realise that you probably won't get much for your Saab, unless of course you were prepared to opt for a new automobile and avail of the Government Scrappage Scheme, but since you mentioned 2008 automobiles we will deal with those first. 

My first choice for you would be a . Since you have enjoyed your previous Saab so much and it has served you so well, I thought that this would be the best place to start. You can have a 2008 model, in Linear Sport spec, with just 44,000km on the clock from a SIMI-approved Saab dealer for €19,950. The emissions are 147g/km so it sits in motor tax Band C, so will cost just €302 per year in road tax. This automobile is really nicely specced too. Plus, you will most certainly get the best price for your own Saab from here.

Another fantastic automobile that might not have considered is the Subaru Legacy diesel, a personal favourite of mine. This automobile has a brilliant engine, is beautifully balanced on the road and nicely equipped too. You would pay around . They don't come up for sale very often and can be hard to find but they are super automobiles. 

The same sort of money would get you a Volvo S40, although my only issue with this automobile is that it might feel a little small compared to the others. The has low emissions however, so you will pay just €156 per year on road tax. This automobile is okay, but I don't think it's anywhere near your best choice here. 

The Avensis is a good solid choice and should be reliable and comfortable, but after having quite an interesting automobile in the shape of the Saab, you might feel a little bit like you sold your soul with the Toyota. You will save some money though. A will cost you under €18,000. Sure this automobile will be a safe choice, but I think it might bore you a little. 

You will save even more money with a which will cost you under €16,000 and just €156 in road tax. They are nicely built too. Or in the case of a Volkswagen Passat, you should best avoid the 1.9-litre diesel and get a 2.0-litre one instead - the 1.9-litre diesel is noisy. So diesel with 140hp will cost you €18,500 and will still just cost you €302 per year in road tax. 

Another one to consider, and a very under-rated automobile, is the Citroen C5. The newer model is really good and comfortable and you could have a 2008 version for around €17,500. .

If you ask me which of this lot you should buy, I would say the Saab or the Subaru. The rest are fine, but if you loved your Saab then those two will be the most interesting for you. 

I hope this helps! 

Answered by: changagoidem Adviser

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