9-5 gets a bagging

The 9-5 has been a hit in Sweden because of the Biopower option, allowing Swedes to take avantage of cheaper fuel prices, congestion charges etc. It also provides a decent power boost.

The 9-5 should be going better in the USA, where it’s offered in one spec only, equivalent to an Aero model elsewhere in the world.

This road test, from Australian publication Autospeed, reviews the 9-5 in it’s base model, the Linear – and they don’t give it too much credit. I mentioned the Swedish and American markets because in these cases, the 9-5 provides a point of difference and/or top level trim. Here in Australia, in it’s base level form, Autospeed find it quite difficult to justify the car’s $60,000 (on the road) price tag.

The Saab 9.5 is the car that time has caught up with.

Once upon a time, Saabs had clear advantages over many other cars. They had front-wheel drive….turbocharging…..low-drag aerodynamics…..sophisticated engine management……an easy, long-legged gait……packaging that gave interior room belying the exterior dimensions……dynamic and passive safety……ergonomic, driver-centred controls and instruments……decoration always took second place to practicality. And they often had a touch of luxury…

Trouble is, now all those traits are shared by many much cheaper cars. Other manufacturers have caught up and moved ahead while Saab – especially with the 9.5 – has soldiered on with the same recipe. That doesn’t make the 9.5 a bad car, but it does mean you can get all that the Saab offers in many other cars.

I’ve argued several times that the 9-5 is indeed a very decent car, but there’s not enough differnetiation between it and the 9-3. If fact, one could argue that the lack of development on the 9-5 has necessitated holding the 9-3 back from what it could be. The 9-5 is the flagship after all.

We’ve seen and heard the rumours about the upcoming 9-5 and best case scenario it could be with as soon as late 2007 as a MY2008 car. I have a feeling it’ll be a year after that and one Djup Strupe I’ve corresponded with said that there’s some very cool stuff going on, “cooler than the Aero-X”

With reviews like this – be they harsh or not – I hope he was speaking of the new 9-5 and I hope it’s sooner rather than later.

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3 Comments

  1. … and the road handling and stability of the 9-5 let alone the power of its engine vs economy. I’d like to have a good session with these jurnos in a room with Swade, PT, Jeff B and ctm. We’ll set all records straight !!!

  2. The comment about the car’s looks was spot on, I regret to say and my guess is for this reason alone the car is not selling well in the USA. Had the new improvements to the drivetrain/suspension been added to the 05 9-5 I am sure this car would be selling better. I reckon Saab/GM realises this and has chosen not to mess with the 9-3’s face for 2007. Must say though I actually like the 07 9-3s interior after origininally loathing it. Its simple much like the classic 900s!

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