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Originally posted by MarkA:
[Yet...

The plastics in this area are incredibly cheap, flimsy and poor quality.. I've seen the same in top of the range 9-5 aeros and 9-3 viggens.. you do not see plastics of this quality in Audis/Mercs/BMWs..[/b]
Sorry, but I'm going to fight that. Find a Merc C-class (current model, before the facelift that's about to hit the market - I gather they 'upgraded' the interior for the occasion), look at the inside door handles and tell me that that particular piece wouldn't attract some major flak from observers if it were bolted to a Daewoo Nubira. It's that dire. Oh, and the optional leather upholstery on the Classic model is/was only leather on the central part of the seat facings. Not only the seatbacks, but also the complete side 'bolsters' (they're not really bolstered, but I don't know a better word to cover that area) are vinyl. On a 40,000 euro Merc, for crying out loud!

Yes, the areas shown on the pictures aren't pretty, but sadly they're symptomatic for current car models, even the 'higher end' ones. VW has been an exception so far - but they have problems on their own. The Golf IV might have had the classiest interior with the highest perceived quality - but it was also the most expensive and least reliable in the class.

As profitability of car manufacturers has been on a downward slope for years, product lifecycles got shortened from 6-8 years to four, maybe five; geovernments imposed ever-stricter safety and emissions standards and customers decided they wanted every creature comfort under the sun now without paying the premium, automotive industry suppliers - who are in competition as fiercely as car manufacturers themselves and mostly rely on the business they get from same for almost 100% - have been faced with cost cuttings that were partly in double digit percentage territory every year. As the margins weren't that great to begin with, it's easy to see something has had to give, and it's obvious that savings will preferably be made in areas that won't be that noticeable to the car buying public unless and util they're living with the cars on a day-to-day basis... So your BMW's dashboard facia still looks very nice, solid and upmarket - only when you start to look at the lower dashboard, the center console area between seats (in this respect, maybe it wasn't so smast of Saab to put the keyhole back there to begin with ) et cetera, you begin to notice the things that Mark has caught with his photo lense.

I've been in and out a couple of hundred new cars for a living for the past five years or so, and it does strike me somewhat how cheap and tacky cars - even expensive ones - seem to be put together these days. Lift the bonnet on your metallic green 3-series and find the entire engine bay is in khaki/green primer. Not very impressive, huh? But I'm a car nut and a technical editor with some insight into the car indsutry, suppliers, production methods et al, where the average consumer isn't. So does it matter? Apparently not, otherwise we would have been given the option of nicely built, tactile, but 'sparsely' equipped cars by the car industry. The only place you find cars like that is within the stratosphere of handbuilt exotics, e.g. Donkervoort, Spyker, Aston Martin (to some extent).
 

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So does this mean we have put this discussion to bed then ?????

Cheers to all involved it has been eerrrmmmm......interesting and highly entertaining !!!!!!
Regards Jim.
 

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I've come to this thread a bit late and I know some of you would prefer to see it put to bed, but just indulge me for a moment on the subject of the "legendary" Saab interior finish & materials.

We've covered 9-5s and 9-3s, they're not perfect but actually, they're all right by me.

I have limited experience of 9000s so I won't comment.

But, does anyone, anywhere have a C900 where the glove box shuts properly and lines up flush with the rest of the dash? I thought not.

Does anyone have a 99 that hasn't had a saggy roof lining or the C-pillar trim disintegrate from exposure to sunlight? I doubt it. And what about the window winder knob on 2/3 door models coming off in your hand?

Does anyone have a 96 where the rear seat top hasn't also degraded in the sun (apart, obviously, from those who have always kept theirs covered). Not a chance.

A stroker where the manual washer pump "syringe" in the dash hasn't leaked all over the carpet at some point? I think I've made my point.

So let's not kid ourselves that the interiors of old Saabs are the best. They're generally better than the average of their time, but no more.
 

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I have never sat in a Subaru, but believe you guys when you say they're pants inside - certainly the interior of the 9-2x looks hideous - the 9-7x is a much better effort. I have owned 9 Saabs, and think it fair to say (old and battered '74 96 apart, as it was 22 years old when I bought it) that subsequent models have been progressively worse in terms of interior trim. i.e. my first, a 9000 was better than the gm900 coupe I replaced it with, and that was better than my Aero 9-3, which is in turn better than Sybil's new 9-3ss convertible. Still, when friends (esp female) get in my Aero, they say wow, this is classy!

Sat in a BM* X5 a while ago, and I have to say its interior was light years better, not to say mightily impressive. If Saab really want to compete with BM, they simply have to improve their interior quality for the European market.
 

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Subaru's are ok inside infact they are exactly as one would expect...functional. I do however believe, as a 'point and blast' car, they are very capable and fun machines. If Saab and Subaru could bring the best qualities of both ranges together; that would be an incredible piece of kit.
 
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