Out and about in the Saab 9-5 Vector Griffin

Hi all,

My name is Arndt, born in 1973 in Oldenburg in Lower Saxony and since 2003 living in Solna, Sweden. I have been interested in cars for many years, and increasingly since the move to Sweden for the two major Swedish brands. The interest is probably in the family - my father wanted to buy a Saab 90 in the early 9000s, but then it became an Audi 100. My brother drove a red Saab 1986 between 1988 and 99, which was something special: summer tires in the frosty Winter, automatic seat heating, wipers for the headlights, who had that?

Saab 9-5 TID Griffin. Image: Andt Mitwer
Saab 9-5 TID Griffin. Image: Andt Mitwer

I only bought my first car in France when I was 27, a Citroen Saxo. Back in the south of France and as a single, I would never have thought of buying a big and expensive car like a Saab. A few years later (and moved to Sweden) the question of buying a car came up again. Then with a wife and dog (but still without a child) and with the saxo, which was becoming more and more fragile - why not buy a Swedish “lifestyle suit”? Volvo V50 1.6 DRIVe or Saab 9-3 TiD were the candidates.

That was in 2009, when Saab was already on sale and the closure of the company shortly after the US financial crisis seemed not unlikely. Back then, the 9-3 was clearly the nicer car for me. Not only that - also the other Saab models. You still see them a lot in Sweden, but I had the pleasure particularly often, since we have a Saab workshop just around the corner, where nice cars often park in front of the house.

Still, beauty is not everything - after comparing the offers, it was clear that we would choose the Volvo. Five years tax exemption as “Miljöbil” (environmental car with CO2 emissions less than 120 g / km), lower consumption, more car for the money. With comparable equipment, the Saab would have cost SEK 50.000 more than the Volvo. The Volvo still had a few things Saab didn't have: start / stop system, compass in the interior mirror, keyless entry, forgot something else? The future prospects of Saab did not matter to me, because Volvo was also for sale by Ford at that time and was subsequently sold to Geely, with unclear prospects at the time. Today Volvo is in brilliant shape and Saab's legacy is being further developed by NEVS.

I followed closely the events surrounding the sale by General Motors (Koenigsegg, then Spyker) - an interesting chapter in Swedish economic history and I can still remember many media reports. Today it can be said that it was clear that Victor Muller would fail. He misjudged a lot of things, but under certain conditions the company could have done it. In any case, we should be grateful to him for what he has tried and achieved. In my opinion, the 9-5 II is one of the most beautiful limousines ever. These great cars would never have been built without Spyker.

Three years ago I thought about buying a 9-3 station wagon and read advertisements for a while. But no purchase ... This year we decided to sell the Citroen - a good opportunity to buy a Saab afterwards? The Volvo V50 let us down in the cold winter - the engine went out after very cold nights. I later found out that it was due to the clogged fuel filter, but we still thought about selling the Volvo. So I started thinking about Saab again. Or maybe keep the Volvo? In that case, it makes more sense to buy the larger 9-5 station wagon.

Numerous offers in Sweden, and a lot of car for the money. So I started reading ads and buying guides again. At Blocket in Sweden, 5-10 ads appear every day for 9-5, but they are often no longer in good condition. Utility vehicles for price-conscious families that are worn out after 6-10 years. Test drive a 2.3t with manual transmission, the circuit was spongy and the engine was exhausted. A little later I saw the advertisement for KNT180, a TiD Griffin with automatic and approx. 100.000 km. The test drive was a completely different experience - the automatic fit perfectly with the car and it drove like a new car - almost looked like it. It had to be and we bought it from a dealer in Uppsala.

The 9-5 (especially after the facelift) may not be the favorite car of many Saab fans, but it doesn't bother me. He is probably the Saab that offers the most for the money today and I like the design very much, especially as a Vector Griffin in certain colors. As I once read, the facelift was intended to anticipate the design of the next 9-5. Whether that is true or not - the car definitely looks distinctive, especially in the Griffin version with matt chrome strips.

Saab has built many striking cars in its history. It is worth keeping this story - the cars that are still in good condition should be preserved. It is good that Saab Parts / Orio is in good hands (the company belongs to the Swedish state), so that new parts are still there for a long time. Hopefully the Saabs will be among the “vintage cars” that will still be seen on the streets for many years to come - when most other people float reasonably (if not on public transport) with self-driving cars, or in anonymous ones Carsharing vehicles are increasing, as can be seen more and more in Stockholm.

Then some people will remember that there was a small brand from Sweden from which these chic cars came. Saab - this is rare and it is special, not only because of the design. Even if the quality of the cars was not always in line with the standard - but that's also the case with other small brands (Aston Martin, Lotus) and is one of them, isn't it? You can't have everything in life, and the Saab people had to make a lot of compromises and couldn't always do what they wanted to do. But the result is still impressive.

So, get in and "move your mind"!

Best wishes from Sweden, Arndt

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19 thoughts on "Out and about in the Saab 9-5 Vector Griffin"

  • With a competent workshop around the corner things certainly look different.

    By the way: The problem with the gasoline pump would have been quite solvable: A SAAB base in Germany has a test of a used 9-3 installed when I was passing through. This worked perfectly. Back in Switzerland, I then ordered a new one, but even after several exchanges and after changing the whole tank (presumably Orio wanted to clear the warehouse) did not come to work. (I had already written enough about that above).

    As a consequence, I would have gone to the junkyard and get me a used pump and can put a second for safety aside or in the trunk.

    And that is where the youngtimer story begins …… ..I don't want a vehicle that was tinkered together from old parts and kept running with great difficulty, but one for everyday use.

  • Yes, that may be. I do not want to negate the qualities of the 9-5 in any way. These are undisputed.
    I myself “held the bar” for a long time and even bought a new vehicle when it was foreseeable that it would be difficult. I still liked the vehicle. You couldn't see the kilometers in any way. It is definitely a long-term vehicle.

    I have been to the SAAB several times abroad in various workshops. There are indeed big differences, passion for the brand and competence is in some places quite present and felt.

    A fan with enough time and patience would have the vehicle with security and a manageable effort again in the state. It just turned out to be too much for me.

    I can not drive 800 km every time when something is going on with the everyday vehicle and that is sorted out and solved several times until the problem is solved. And the indifference of Orio (I am a fair sportsman and have communicated in writing and in writing several times, it is not just a matter of grumbling), the back and forth between Orio and the base with cost for me without solving the problem and the utter Lack of perspective for the brand has brought the barrel to an overflowing. By the way, after updates for the sat nav I asked for years at Orio and at the SAAB base there was nothing at that time officially.

    I have a busy job and do not want to spend years worrying about a bankruptcy brand and its consequences.

  • One can certainly not expect that Orio will keep a large number of spare parts in stock for models as old as the 900. Maybe the German “premium manufacturers” are still doing that for their cars from the 70s / 80s, no idea. But even in Sweden you hardly see any Saab 900 anymore, even older ones are even rarer. Now and then still 9000, but of course the newer 9-3 and 9-5 very often. For all these cars (and in general for old cars) a site like bildelsbasen.se makes sense, where many / all junk yards / car scrapers in Sweden offer their parts. I don't know if there is something like that in other countries.

  • Thanks for the comment, interesting! Let's see what experiences we can still have with the car. At least we have one of the oldest Saab workshops in Sweden around the corner, and some experts work there. Your GPS commentary is also interesting. I would have bought the car with a built-in navigation system, but I prefer the CD changer (would hardly have used the navigation system anyway). Wg everyday vehicle - I think it's possible (hopefully the fuel pump thing is an isolated case, and the TiD will have another one too), but over time you will certainly have to invest more time and money to make these cars nice and ready to drive hold.

  • Yes, there is experience. Our “chrome glasses” 2,3t (gasoline engine) from 2010 with just 80 tkm runs like on the first day and consumes around eight liters per 100 km. However, we drive little in the city. I am happy to confirm that the engine and the 5-speed automatic work well together. In contrast to the 9-3 SC born in 2007, which we had before; he kept switching back and forth, which made him seem nervous. The processing of the 9-5 is perhaps not quite as good as that of our 2001 9-3 Coupé (176 tkm). Nothing rattles there, with the 9-5 we rarely hear anything from the driver's door. Still, it is an excellent touring car. It is to receive a new cavity preservation and comprehensive corrosion protection in the autumn of this year so that it stays as it is.

  • Sad thing, a competent workshop would have fixed the problem well. Actually, the 9-5 is a sturdy vehicle for eternity
    Incidentally, updates for the NAVI would have been in the bay, working for little money and without complaint.

  • Thank you for reporting in unvarnished truth about the problems that have arisen. The older a Saab gets, the sooner it becomes an object for self-propelled wrenches, which take used spare parts from the junkyard. For the old models like Saab 96 there is nothing at all anyway, for the classical 900 probably not much.

  • I had an 86 series 9000, which I sold with around 300 km, then a 000-9 SC in LPT version from 5 and a fully equipped 1999-9 Aero SC with chrome glasses in blue with beige , two-tone sports seats and sunroof from 5. Both 2007-9 with automat. None of them had any technical problems.

    The 9-5 born in 99 was stagged with Stage 1, I sold it with 255 km because I wanted the Aero that had traction control and a worlds better chassis, brakes and seats. The Aero's seats in particular are still the best I've ever had.

    The Aero was a top vehicle. I also used it to pull a caravan over the mountains, which was sold last December as the first hand vehicle with a complete service booklet with 1 km and replaced by a new car. It wasn't the vehicle.

    Unfortunately, after several attempts, fair correspondence and far too much time, Orio was not able to let me install a working gasoline pump and get the associated fuel gauge to sound. In case of complaints Orio's answer was to contact the SAAB base, which sold Skoda today and lost the SAAB connoisseurs, they shrugged their shoulders at the base and said nothing came from Orio. That is probably the case that in case of problems with the gasoline pump the whole tank is replaced and that the fuel gauge works because of problems with the potentiometer on the pump after the weather. This could also be due to the change of supplier after the bankruptcy of SAAB. The reason I do not care about today.

    After I then stopped along with caravans on the highway without gasoline, I had to accept that SAAB in use as an everyday vehicle is over, have made the Gebastel an end and pulled the plug. That was the end of my many years of SAAB history. Although Orio is owned by the Swedish government, it may be necessary to learn there that profitable business can only be achieved with the real fulfillment of customer needs. The regular newsletters are no help either, as the SAAB is now gone. As far as I know he is now in Romania or elsewhere in the East. I'm not a collector and I do not need 2. Family but simply would have needed a reliable vehicle for everyday business.

    In terms of quality, the dashboard of the Aero with chrome glasses actually left a very cheap impression that did not match the price or the otherwise good quality of the vehicle. The year 99 was clearly better. Only the rear axle rattled and crunched. I had this checked several times, but everything was solid. The vehicle test was also passed without any problems with 260 km.

    Mechanically there was nothing to complain about, not even the consumption, which was between 7.5L on long journeys and 8.5L. On the contrary, as far as I know, this model was the first in which the problem with the annoying oil sludge was solved and a service interval display was installed. In practice, intervals of just under 30 km have emerged. The engine and transmission both ran perfectly.

    Annoying and incomprehensible, however, was that you have built in the chrome glasses to 2010 a sat nav, for which there were no mid-2010 card updates more. It has just been noticed that the chrome glasses are an 2. Facelift of an already outdated basic construction of the 90-ern is. Anyone who touches or replaces the navigation system will subsequently have problems with the vehicle's BUS system. Investment protection and care of existing customers looks different.

    Conclusion: As a youngtimer, hobby or as a SAAB fan with several vehicles and the willingness to invest some time always, as an everyday vehicle, I would not touch it.

  • Thanks for the comment! I like to meet, if I am there. Send me a mail, thearndt at hotmail.com

  • Gluckwunsch to Sweden for 9-5 Griffin, Arndt!
    We have almost the same (dark blue metallic, beige leather, black piano lacquer trim - a dream!), Only TiD with manual transmission. After 230.000 km everything is still tip-top, after the maintenance it stands there like a new car. And we'll drive it as long as we can. The chrome glasses discussion is annoying, the quality experiences vary from person to person, the main thing is that you are now a member of the Saab fan base!
    We are in 4 weeks in Sweden, whether we will meet?

  • Yeah, strangely, no one complains about the chrome on the 9-5 II.

  • I would recommend to anyone. But at that time he had new summer tires and just tried to drive in the freezing winter, which was possibly not allowed then. Traction was good. In any case compared to the VW Beetle he had before

  • Didn't hear any specifics about such quality problems after the facelift. But I once read that the throttle valve problem with the TiD no longer occurred in the last years. You can certainly buy an older 9-5, but then you have other problems, precisely because of the older age, fewer vehicles with xenon, useless cassette deck (I like the CD changer very much), oil sludge with the gasoline engines ...

  • A few weeks ago I asked my Saab dealer about young chrome glasses because I want to switch from my 2005 9-5 (before the facelift). There I was strongly advised not to buy it (“Just keep your old one!”), As the last few years of production of the chrome glasses are suffering from massive quality problems (chassis / axles / interior materials, etc.). Are there any experiences?

  • So I can only endorse the purchase of the 9-5 chro glasses and the motor with automatic fits perfectly to the dream. We also had the engine in our first 9-3 convertible together with the automatic. Conclusion: no failures and many nice trips with an “average real consumption” (always full and then the rule of three) of 6,66l. As always, the better is the enemy of the good. Our current Aero TTID convertible (also with AT) only takes 6,32l / 100km. Well, I'm not a speeder and I drive a lot of long distances. City dwellers / city drivers certainly consume more.

    Now in June it finally got me. I have now enlarged the “Aeroflotte” with 2006 combination chrome glasses. Is a Beziner with automatic and can be kept safely below 9,5l / 100km with my route and driving profile. Long-term values ​​are not yet available to me. I still have to do a little bit of work on my 9-5, but the first 4km were very, very pleasant. If I remember correctly, the current 9-5 is my 23rd or 24th car (many brands were also the so-called premium brands) and as an overall conclusion I can say that I have made the most pleasant and nicest trips with the SAABs and hopefully will continue to do so for a long time.

  • Nice post, nice car!
    My son and girlfriend bought chrome glasses two weeks ago.
    Black and inside light beige. Looks great. The nice thing is that you rarely see the chrome bars.

  • .. went to me too, I was really scared when I saw the chrome glasses for the first time. At that time I thought an aging diva with too much rouge, now I think she's good!

    ... but why do you drive a 99 with summer tires in winter?

  • Yes, the chrome glasses. It was and is much disputed. When I saw her for the first time, I was downright horrified and repulsed ...

    But it was not long before I realized how fresh and forward-looking the design is and took great pleasure in the facelift. It has given the 9-5 a new standing and appearance that still looks pretty modern and at the same time standalone. Really SAAB!

    I think it's beautiful!

  • Great Saab story, thank you!

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