The 2009 Saab 9-3 scores mixed ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but it's been a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for several years running. In NHTSA testing, the 9-3 sedan scores four out of five stars across the board, with the exception of side impact protection for the driver, where it scores the top five of five stars.
MyRide.com notes the 9-3's "crash-resistant structure and features" that help it garner IIHS Top Safety Pick status. Edmunds explains that this award is "based on its 'Good' ratings (the highest possible) in the agency's frontal-offset crash, side-impact crash and head-restraint effectiveness tests."
"A long list of standard safety equipment includes seat-mounted side-impact airbags, side curtain airbags, Active Head Restraints, traction control, and an electronic stability system with all-disc antilock brakes and electronic brake-force distribution," reports Cars.com. Moving up a level, Aero models are equipped with slightly larger disc brakes for greater stopping ability to match their sportier driving abilities.