Redesigning the 9-5 was a divisive move by Saab. That much is a given. Some like the new look and some don’t. Personally, whilst I still prefer the classy aggression of the 05 model, I’ve become much fonder of the Dame Edna 9-5 as time has progressed.
Our host at About.com, Aaron Gold, isn’t so forgiving, but then he had to have something to complain about and he had no complaints whatsoever about the way the 2007 Saab 9-5 drove.
Aaron was a participant in the 60th Anniversary event in San Diego in early February 2007. He got to spend a day driving Saabs, both old and new. This review concerns the 60th Anniversary Edition of the 2007 Saab 9-5 Sedan.
A few salient points from the review:
Saab was years ahead of the industry in applying technologies like turbochargers and front-wheel-drive, and to this day their cars have an air of individualism that adds greatly to their appeal.
GM would do well to write that in big bold letters at wherever-it-is that Saabs are designed nowadays.
….for 2007 Saab ups the ante with a longer warranty and an appealing 60th Anniversary option package. But that doesn’t change the fact that the basic 9-5 design is still in its ninth year. How’s it holding up? Better than I expected, that’s for sure.
That’s because something that’s well designed, properly conceived and engineered will stand the test of time. The 9-5 is holding up well because it’s a fine car.
When I drove the BioPower version in January my first thought was how good it was to be back driving a new version of an old friend. The fact that it’s nine years since the first model just means they’ve got the bugs ironed out.
Make no mistake. This is one heck of a good car, people.
….the 9-5’s interior … needed rescue, and here Saab really came through. Gone are the Clinton-era steering wheel with its oversize airbag enclosure and zillion-button controls. Today you’ll find a new dash with a svelte three-spoke steering wheel, three-dial climate controls and a touch-screen stereo/navigation system (overpriced at $2,945) that’s almost too simple, with just a handful of buttons and a big black plastic surround that contrasts with the wood trim around it.
Each to their own. I think a mild re-style of the old dash would have been more Saaby. Bring the top vent into line with the centre section and incorporate the hazard button and all of a sudden it looks more streamlined. Employ some better color coding as per the new layout. OK, replace the steering wheel if you must, but there’s nothing wrong with the old one.
It’s just the buttons on the old style are very intuitive and easy to use and if you want to play on your jets heritage then the old unit has it all over the new one. Just my 0.02c.
Comparative old (left) and new (right) dashboards below….
But it’s here that our digressions end.
This is a very well appointed car that drives like a dream. I know it, and Aaron was reminded of it in San Diego….
….Materials are top-notch….
….remarkably comfy front seats….
….The sedan has a nice-sized trunk, but the wagon’s cargo bay is really impressive — it’s so big you could rent it out as office space…..
….I’ve always liked this engine; it pulls like a V6 and gets great gas mileage….
….The 9-5’s automatic does such a nice job of managing the turbo engine’s power and promptly serving up lower gears when acceleration is needed that I think it’s the way to go. That said, the gentle clutch and well-chosen gear ratios mean that those who do buy the stick-shift won’t regret it when they get stuck in stop-and-go traffic….
And the bottom line:
I went into this test drive regarding the 9-5 as the elder statesmen of European cars…..the 9-5 can still hustle with the best of ’em, and that’s what really counts.