Saab 9-5 Review


This is a British road test of the new 2006 Saab 9-5, but with a slight tilt. We hear a fair bit about the 260hp 9-5 in the US and the Biopower 9-5 in Sweden etc etc. What we don’t hear much about is the 9-5 diesel in the UK. This could even be the first time I’ve read a review on it (cue the British sales guy to add a comment about how it’s a new addition to the lineup and why don’t I do my research).

Anyway, back to the story.

This paragraph here should be enough to get all you US customers that are hankering for a diesel all riled up:

So, distinctive, strong, well built, roomy, refined, comfortable and different. But the biggest reason to buy the Saab 9-5 is the addition of the new 1.9-litre four-cylinder direct-injection common-rail turbo-charged diesel engine.


It’s a British review and so it seems quite natural that they’d love it. And they do. The styling is seen as quite bold, albeit in a love it or hate it kind of way, but the quality and refinement of the car seems to shine through.

Who am I to argue with my new-found respect for the 9-5, learned the hard way on the track last weekend?

Other highlights:

The interior is large — a true and comfortable five-seater. It looks very up-market and is clearly a quality product…..

…..The installation of this engine is superb. It is very quiet — even at tickover — and very responsive…..

…..the 43mpg returned by my 5-speed test car for day in, day out driving on motorways, stuck in traffic and for short journeys was decidedly impressive…..

…..Why wouldn’t you buy one? Its looks — although, paradoxically, they are as much a reason to buy. And it is not quite as sharp in some
ways as similar-sized rival German brands. However, overall it’s roomy, refined with excellent safety and good equipment levels. Definitely one for the discerning driver. And very capable.

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  1. Hello,
    I know that some people think the Diesel is the solution for “all” proplems connected to road transport and peace making. But we should never forget that the state of art of this kind of engine is more pollutive than similar performing patrol engines. Every one who has enyoyed London´s air know that I am writing about. So please, before you advocate the Diesel-Saab have a breeze of London air! Furthermore, it would be nice to demand in connection with advocating Diesel-Saabs that the manufacturer should improve the purification of waste gases at least to the degree where modern patrol engine are nowadays.

  2. Michael makes a valid point about particulant output from diesels. Every day I get choked driving behind brand new (notably Ford and VW) diesels spewing out clouds of crap as the driveers sprint away from the traffic lights grand prix. But there is another aspect to this 1.9 litre Fiat engined Saab 95.

    Its slow! 150bhp is not much, and the torque is a one hot wonder in its peaky delivery curve.

    Previously the UK market saw the 3.0litre and 2.2 litre Saab diesels (ex GM).

    My mate broke the auto box on his 95 3.o litre V6 diesel- Saab paid for a replacement – seems the 3litre diesel had too much torque for the autobox.

    And why did Saab replace the 2.2 diesel engine option in the 95? It was old, noisy, and polluting. Yet it had a rattley oomph. This new Fiat sourced 1.9 diesel may be cleaner and quieter but it is not quick- other UK road tests have pointed this out.Fill the car with people and bags and the performance suffers.

    Also, a key Saab attribute over the years has been the 50-70mph overtaking times – real on-road safety and true turbo stuff. But the diesel runs out off puff- it hits you with a massive concentrated band of torque that whisks you away, and then catches out you by simply evapourating its torque delivery off the graph in one dump. The power comes in, blasts full reheat, and then its gone- not good if you are still on the wrong side of the road – even worse in an auto.

    So, Swade, the diesel is good, but it can be very frustrating. And there is now way that the driving epxerience equates to the 99/900 Turbo or Vigeen; best rememebr that folks…

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