Edmunds and the new Saab 9-5

Whilst I’m pondering what to write for my own first up review of the 9-3 Convertible, Peter S has just alerted me to the fact that Edmunds have just published their ‘first drive’ review of the new 9-5. (Thanks Peter)

The verdict?

Better than than the previous model, seemingly by some distance. However, it still lacks some punch compared to its classmates.

The headline reads pretty well though: 9-5 out of 10. Click that link to read the full review, but here’s a few snippets:

Over a Thousand Changes

Although numerous, the changes really come down to an exterior face-lift, a worked-over chassis, a new control layout, 10 extra horsepower and a price cut of about $2,000. Additionally, the wagon is now called the SportCombi just like the new 9-3 wagon, and the familiar Linear, Arc and Aero trim levels are gone in favor of a single model offered in sedan and wagon body styles.

This single model is a blend of last year’s midlevel Arc and sporty Aero models, which means it’s fully equipped with leather upholstery, eight-way power front seats with driver memory, seat heaters in all five positions, a 240-watt Harman Kardon audio system with an in-dash CD changer and satellite radio…..

….Inside, designers replaced the 9-5’s clunky array of climate and audio buttons with a slick new set of metallic-trimmed dials and buttons from the GM parts bin. Normally, we’d be skeptical about a Saab sharing its center stack controls with the Chevrolet HHR, but the new pieces integrate nicely into the 9-5’s cockpit and greatly improve its ergonomics…..

….Its innocuous expression gone, the 9-5 needed more of a performance edge as well, so engineers went to work on the standard suspension to tighten up the car’s traditionally soft handling. Fifteen-percent stiffer shocks are fitted at all four corners, and all 9-5s get the thicker stabilizer bars previously exclusive to the Aero trim level…..

….driving the 2006 Saab 9-5 is a remarkably familiar experience. We sampled a sedan and a pair of SportCombi wagons, all equipped with the sport suspension, and they felt like traditional Saabs through and through, which is both good and bad.

Unlike most premium cars, the 9-5 hasn’t put on the pounds over the years. As a result, it feels refreshingly lightweight and nimble when you’re pushing through tight corners. Plus, the car’s fully ventilated disc brakes feel strong with a reassuring pedal feel…..

….This refresh has certainly improved the 9-5. It looks, rides and handles better than before. But the improvements don’t go far enough to get the 9-5 up to speed with its competition.

If you’re in the mood for looking at the 9-5, there’s heaps of pictures, including interior pictures, here. In addition, every tiny bit of information you could want from Saab about the new 9-5 is here.

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5 Comments

  1. SAAB’s in trouble when they have to dive into GM’s parts bin to “improve its ergonomics”! One of SAAB’s core values USED to be ergonomics.

  2. I dunno…if it was me maybe more beer and then how bout driving the new E85 engine and the diesel. The world is waiting to hear about these new technologies and all we get from these nosepickers is the same ole. Swade-looks like torque-steer is the new quirky.

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