Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2006 10:30:42 -0400
From: Fred W <Malt_Houndnospamm-me-not*>
Subject: Re: 9000 CS vs. Aero...what's the difference?

Jon R. Pickens wrote: > Agreed... I test-drove a very nice 2000 9-3 convertible yesterday. I > really liked it a lot. I didn't think I would as I was never fond of > the looks of the smaller 900's & 9-3's. But the newer convertibles > look very nice. > Make sure you take that convertible for a long test drive before you buy it. Pay attention to a couple of things: Cowl shake. This is where the chassis of the car flexes as you go over bumps, etc. especially while cornering. It is a problem with the convertibles due to the lack of roof structure. Can't be fixed. Is the car a standard transmission? If so, feel how sloppy the shifting mechanism is? It's the way it is designed. Also, pay attention to how the engine responds when you let off the gas to shift. There is programming in the fly-by-wire throttle control that delays the release of the throttle plate (for emmissions reasons). These two things make it very cumbersome to drive in any sort of a spirited manner. If the car is an automatic you would probably never notice. The delay could be fixed with a reprogrammed ECU, but I could not find one. The shifters are sloppy (and long throw) even with new bushings in place Also, make sure you really jump on the accelerator from a stop (or slow speed) a few times. See what happens if you accelerate witha little samd or bad traction. Pay attention to how the steering jerks around as the tires reach their limit of traction. This is called torque steer. It's inherent in the design of these cars and can't be eliminated. You should also know that the power top mechanisms are known to be troublesome and very expensive to repair. Plus the convertibles tend to command top price because they come fully loaded with options. I know all of this because I bought a 2000 9-3SE convertible a few years back (used). I fixed it up a bit over the winter (not rag-top weather in New England) and then sold the thing off as fast as I could once I got a chance to really drive the car harder. The above factors really took all the fun out of driving it. Do yourself a favor and see if you can find a nice 9-3SS in your price range and give that car a test drive. They first released the SS in 2003, so they may be above what you are looking to spend. All of the above "issues" are resolved with that redesign (sport sedan). They really do drive a *lot* better than the earlier 900's and 9-3's. Sometimes I forget that I'm driving a FWD car when I'm riding in mine... -- -Fred W

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