Astute readers may remember the enthusiastic post written in early August detailing my search for the perfect Saab 9-3 Convertible– which turned out to be a 2006 9-3 Aero “20th Anniversary” edition in excellent condition, with just over 27,000 miles on it. Equipped with a 250 HP turbocharged 2.8 liter V6 and six-speed manual transmission, the car’s unique interior and exterior color schemes, limited-edition provenance and its attentive seller made this the right car for me.
Reading my bio, you will see that I’m Autosavant’s Swedish car guy. I’m a habitual Saab owner, having had at least one Saab in the fleet since 1996, and for several of those years there were two of them.
If you have read my “Saab Awakening” article, you’ll know that one of the first cars I ever lusted after was a Saab convertible, back in the late 1980s; I’ve had a special place in my heart for Saab convertibles ever since. I was able to review a 2008 Saab 9-3 Aero cabrio for Autosavant, and after seeing the 2012 Independence Edition 9-3 Cabrio at the Geneva Auto Show in 2011, I ordered one for myself. While I eventually got my deposit back from the dealer after Saab halted production, I didn’t get my convertible, but I have kept my eyes open for the right one ever since.
Back in the early 1980s, Nissan and Toyota began producing American-sized cars, vehicles that were meant to compete with contemporary domestic vehicles in terms of size and interior content. To that end, vehicles like the Toyota Cressida and Datsun/Nissan Maxima reached our shores, with spacious interiors and h, somewhat more modern dashboard layout, and cushy upholstery meant to elevate those manufacturers’ offerings beyond the “econobox” mold of former products, and onto the shopping lists of Americans looking for a competent, comfortable family sedan. The optimistic imitation of American tastes found in the large Japanese sedans from that era has a distinct feel, that of an ersatz, 7/8 scale near-luxury sedan that pre-dates the current “perforated-leather-and-driving-dynamics” definition of that term. It seems to me that the English language is missing a word to describe cars like that, with that feel and ambience of the early ‘80s Cressida and Maxima – which is really a shame, because that word would be the one I would use in my description of the 2013 Nissan Sentra SV.
It has been far too long since I took a great drive, let alone wrote about one. With a few spare hours after work on a business trip to the Boulder, Colorado area, I set off earlier this week on a drive for which I had done minimal research. The scenery far surpassed my expectations, though the trip was slower than I had expected due to speed limits.
Prior to my departure, I had quickly scoured Google Maps for curvy, mountainous roads near Boulder, and found plenty. I decided to head up Baseline Road from its intersection with US-36, which led me to Flagstaff Road. Boulder (elevation 5430 feet) sits in a high valley flanked by tall mountains, and almost immediately from its intersection with US-36, the route began climbing steeply. Shortly thereafter, Flagstaff Road began, with incredible vistas around every (incredibly-sharp) corner. Flagstaff Road is posted 20 MPH, and it’s not possible to go much faster due to vehicle and bike traffic, combined with narrow lanes and shoulders (often with precipitous drops off the downhill side).
At the 2012 New York Auto Show, Subaru introduced its EyeSight driver assistance system, which integrates adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking, and vehicle lane departure warning. The system uses a pair of CCD (charge-coupled device) cameras mounted at the top of the windshield inside the car, adjacent to the rearview mirror. According to Subaru press information, the EyeSight system processes stereo images to identify the vehicles traveling in front, as well as obstacles, traffic lanes and other items. The video information is relayed to the EyeSight computer, which is also networked with the car’s braking system and electronic throttle control. Below speeds of approximately 19mph, EyeSight is capable of detecting pedestrians in the vehicle’s path and can activate in order to mitigate or even avoid the collision. Under certain circumstances, Eyesight is able to bring the car to a complete stop, thus avoiding a collision.