Saab 9-5 - spoiled for choice?

From time to time I see comments and articles on topics like "Saab 9-5 before / after the facelift," General Motors politics, or general "nostalgic thoughts" - "everything was better in the old days". As so often in life, a balanced approach is worthwhile.

Saab 9-5 chrome frame
Saab 9-5 chrome frame

Why is the topic interesting? Like me in mine first blog article wrote, the 9-5 station wagon is probably the Saab, which today offers the most car for the money (if you want to have a large station wagon, otherwise the 9-3 is also a good choice). Add to this the large selection of used vehicles, at least in Sweden - which should also have a positive impact on spare parts availability. Almost every car "gives up" someday - then you either have to invest more than the market value to keep it ready to drive (if that's still possible) or you can dump it and buy something - maybe an 9-5?

Back to the balanced view and the question of which 9-5 you should buy then - a model of before or after the 2006 facelift? The innovations and changes brought by this facelift (such as the improved suspension) are certainly familiar to most readers. On the subject here just a short reference to an interesting article from the Swedish car magazine "Teknikens Värld", where inter alia, differences in the suspension tuning between gasoline (Aero) and diesel are described ( In this blog entry I just want to bring a few comments and general thoughts that might be important in your purchase decision.

The advantage of a more modern saab

When buying a used car, of course, the age is important. Even if one finds a "pre-2006" specimen with low mileage and in good condition - material ages and that's why I prefer to drive a 2009-built vehicle than one built in 1999 (apart from my wife buying one so old Cars would not have agreed anyway - most people just do not live alone and not every partner is interested in cars). There are also other aspects that can influence the purchase decision. Some of them can be dismissed as details - but also things that Saab has gradually omitted (see blog article the other day).All the nice little things") Are often just details.

  • The engine: One reads more frequently about the throttle problems with the 1.9 TiD. However, I also heard that FIAT improved the quality at the end of the construction period (which certainly applies to the Griffin models). The same is true for the "oil sludge" problem with the petrol engines - in early models, it occurred (under certain conditions), then apparently no longer. Apparently the rule "the newer the engine, the better" - at least our 9-5 TiD had so far (if the workshop bills of the previous owner are complete) no problems.
  • The diesel selection: If you want to buy a 9-5 with diesel engine, then obviously the 1.9 TiD is the best choice. The 3.0 V6 TiD is generally discouraged, and the 2.2 TiD is apparently too weak and has poor emissions. I can confirm from my own experience that the 9-5 with the 1.9 diesel and automatic drives fantastic - in the Alps, on the highway and in the city. Whereby you should avoid the latter, since the consumption is then too high - even if the difference city-country is not so extreme as in the gasoline, where the factory specification with automatic 15 over X / 100 km.
  • The headlights: I do not want to drive a car without xenon lights (which is already outdated in the age of LED and laser light). Most 9 5s from 2006 are included, but many (or most) instances of 2006 do not.
  • Controls in the center console: The radio / ACC panel from 2006 I like better because of the clear layout and the fact that no cassette deck is more there. These two aspects certainly have to do with each other - the fewer buttons and slots, the more elegant the design can be (the new Volvos do not even have a CD player). But as always, you never learn - there were also the older models without cassette, as this Orio spare shows ( Added to this is the useful AUX feature, which was only available from 2006 ex factory. Older models can apparently be retrofitted "unofficially" - but I prefer to avoid retrofitting, since I want the car in its original state. The GPS navigation was also renewed, although I would prefer a vehicle without GPS. The navigation system was outdated even then, and I want the CD changer in front and not in the luggage compartment.
  • The design: Some of the comments on my last article suggest that the "chrome goggles" (or rather the "Cartier look"?) Does not look so bad. Unique and unmistakable - yes. Nice? I think by now. It pays to take a look at the entire headlamp unit in peace (see photo) - is not this a design masterpiece? Here you can compare the look of the headlights in itself:
  • GM Savings Org: Nobody denies that Saab was forced to cut by GM. But was that really that dramatic? What percentage of production and purchasing costs have been saved? Certainly not much by omitting details such as some small lights or the tank unlocking from the driver's seat. Real wood in the dashboard? I do not want to have wood decor in the car, not real and no faux. Does the plastic look high quality? No, not always, but it does not stand out either. The leather quality, I can already imagine savings of a few hundred euros - I would rather have a car with fabric cover anyway, but the generally better equipped Vector / Aero models just have mostly leather. Thinner than before the facelift, OK - that means gentle care and regular care are even more important than previous model years or previous Saab models.

Maybe these thoughts are interesting for some - I'm happy about comments. I hope I see many of you at the "Saab Car Museum Festival" by 9. - 11.6. 2017 in Trollhattan!

34 thoughts on "Saab 9-5 - spoiled for choice?"

  • Why should the 4 automatic transmission be worse than the 5 gear? At least to my knowledge, the latter was susceptible to defects. Missing side airbags: the first model years still did very well in the side impact test. Side airbags also make later seat replacement much more difficult ...

  • Correctly!
    ESP was only available from 2002 (facelift model level 1) and the side airbags were available only from chrome glasses.
    There is still a disadvantage compared to the first models
    From facelift model 1 there were only plastic headlights instead of glass headlights and from the beginning 13 controllers were available in the chrome glasses over 53.
    As far as sutomatics are concerned, you are definitely right ... sorry for this false statement.

    Greetings from the Baltic Sea

  • Error in 1. Point with the automatic: According to Swedish and English Wikipedia.

  • Thanks for the interesting comment! A few more answers:
    - The automatic has apparently been quite changed; according to German and English Wikipedia article was to 2001 a four-speed automatic, only from 2002 there was the five-speed automatic (another reason for me to avoid the early vintages), but apparently not for the first time for the diesel.
    - Well, the chrome border - I think she looks in matte with the Griffin model significantly better. This matte design should have been used 2006.
    - What I did not mention in my article is the safety equipment. According to Swedish Wikipedia, there were only from 2002 ESP for the 9-5, but only as an optional extra (from 2006 standard) - for me very important. Northern Swedish roads turn into snow-covered ice rinks in winter. Then you can drive well with studded tires (Dubbäck in Swedish). If you do not have one then at least you need ESP. In Germany, the ESP was apparently standard, but not available for diesel versions ( According to the wiki article there were also improved airbags from 2002.
    - What can I conclude - will buy a model of before 2006 and on certain features (as well as the aforementioned xenon headlights) value, must look carefully what is inside.

  • So I would also have to contribute to the topic, if you have the opportunity you should also be very careful where the car comes from, as the last 9-5 preferably came from Holland / Belgium or Italy.
    You could then almost confidently almost all pack in the press, since these have only been driven and not really been maintained.
    Otherwise was and is the chrome glasses one of the best vehicles I had (Audi A6, Mercedes E-class could forget because confused, because just money-killing machines.
    Otherwise, the savings were clearly visible in the insulation and on the dashboard or notice.
    Who can should prefer to cloth seats (more robust) and the automatic transmission (which incidentally has not been changed since the first 9 5 97 in the year).
    The manual transmission was in new condition ne unreasonable and was getting worse with the age.
    Also, I was one of the people who initially said what the chrome trim on the headlights should, today I find this timeless and beautiful.
    To compare the 9-3 wagon of the first generation with the 9-5 prohibits itself, because there the bad quality or the processing was the worst possible that existed until now at Saab (gave already before the first delivery the instruction various door handles, Kats, Lambda probes, headlights, etc. to exchange), it was better from the middle of 2005 or with the new facelift from the end of 2007, then dorte the so-called XP1 model quality was used (just the chrome glasses or various caddies, Holdens, etc.).
    As far as the 1.9 TID is concerned, it was certainly the case that swirl flaps, alternators, dual mass flywheel and clutches were broken, but whoever had to drive an 2.5TDI (camshafts, injection pump, timing belt, multitronic etc.) out of the VAG concert knows what it can cost Goods made in Germany to drive.
    I do not mean to say that it's cheap to drive a 9-5 with the said diesel, but it's at least manageable over other vehicles, in my opinion.
    However, there is a shortage for me, the Navi ....
    Rather than resort to the normal radio, the Dephi delivered this part is not at all and why there was no Harman / Kardon system as in 9-3 knows only GM.
    All in all, I cry my chrome glasses but then good, sometime then it was just over and I would give a very clear buy recommendation for all models from facelift 1 (2002) or from 2006 and if diesel then the 1.9 TID instead of 3.0 TID (hardly more power ... seen from the PS and the follow-up OH weia ...)

    Greetings from the Baltic Sea

  • You see, the topic remains controversial

  • Well, do not mind if you want to dress his chrome glasses absolutely beautiful. Who can directly compare MY99 and MY06 will mostly come to a different result.

  • Above all, the two-tone sports seats in the Aero were the black inserts made of cheap synthetic leather. These inserts are not breathable and will break over time. A clear deception of the customer who ordered full leather sports seats and paid dearly. For years before, I had the feeling of receiving "honest" vehicles from SAAB. The seat was after> 300'000 km for the first time in a SAAB something sat through and would have to be reupholstered. Again, obviously the last cents were squeezed out. Unworthy of a vehicle in this price range.
    Something is clouding the trust in a brand, if one comes over time with point by point. There are clearly home-made problems have been passed on to the customer.

    The seating comfort was still great and one of the main reasons why I drove every SAAB long. Today I drive another brand with ventilated comfort seats with massage function and el. Adjustability in all imaginable directions. This has its advantages, in pure comfort on long-haul SAAB seats are among the best I have ever driven.

  • Too bad that the Saab B engines do not react.

  • why not? There are also situations in which the dashboard has to be removed anyway. The question is, if the insulating materials are separately interchangeable and if they are compatible, then you could just install the old ones (if they are still available). Interesting story.

  • it was all about profit from the model. It was originally planned to reach the profit zone after 9 years or so, and then they made it to 8. Or something like that.

    The remarkable thing about it is how long it actually takes for such a car to really make money, even though it started with an existing platform.

  • Xenons: a difference like er day and night!

    The contrast is better with a higher color temperature. I find the factor more important than simply brighter. Hot OSRAM XENARC COOL BLUE D1S INTENSE

  • I look the same way with the leather; would not buy a new car with leather trim. The used one is different - if you want one with good equipment, then most of the leather seats. Thanks also for the tapedeck info!

  • Interesting info. But what can you do - nobody will let the dashboard be removed and (which?) Install insulation material ... .according to the ADAC test, the car is too loud, but it does not catch our eye and does not interfere. Where modern cars are certainly quieter.

  • Hm, when should these profits have been made? Just read the DN article again, so there was only two years since 1988, where profit was made, namely 1994 and 1995. The austerity games apparently started only after GM has taken over the remaining 50% of Saab Cars? Article here (timeline at the end):

  • Sure, that could be expensive and such expenses I could explain to my wife only with the reference that this car is more of a hobby than a means of transportation

  • I do not have the comparison to the Aero, but the TiD drives in my view very well. But, whenever I switch to the Volvo V50, I feel the difference - the Volvo is almost like a go-kart compared to the Saab. The steering wheel turns easier, the car moves just more agile. Simply different, not necessarily better.

  • Sounds good, have fun and a good trip!

  • Yes, that's the way to say it. Similar to the front of the 9-3, which looks more aggressive, or "sportier" after the facelift, depending on your point of view

  • Better a little more interpretation. Bypass has every modern combustion engine with the modern te. The exhaust gas goes through the goose engine after the explosion who is gone. The engine also produces oil manure and water. The engine should eat the same. Nothing should get blown up. It all attacks the oil badly for everything turbo and intercooler Shell and Esso know that and have reacted. A stationary Caterpillat crane does not have the problem.

  • The Anne seats a new word for me. Many Americans are still sitting in you at home. The 9000 aero in imola red is a dream car

  • Good contributions. What I found was that the duo turbo ttid was much better. And the oil sludge was a huge problem. What I know about it came with the electric throttle and trionic. Early 1999 and my viggen with B235R With many modifications until 2006. with a hole in the short block like volvo. Interesting to know, the problem is often over. Today the many snakes and keepers are over. Only a compact part above maintenance free. market leader Mann-Hummel. The problem also had many other brands such as BMW. But my hobby is still reading the patent steps.

  • I drive a 9k year 97 with Annysitzen- that's ne other world. Compared to the 95 he is sitting. Seating comfort is no better than the 9000er.
    And he does not rattle. Unlike the 95er. If I have the choice, I always drive the 9000er. The interior feeling IS crazy!

  • regarding radio in the pre-facelift: the mentioned part without cassette is the "smallest" variant of the different audio systems in the 9-5 ... the bigger ones have again a tapedeck ...
    Regarding light: the xenons in the pre-facelift are not really a screamer, I have myself in mine and sometimes think "in 9k my wife is out the front brighter" ... maybe I should reinsetzen the above-mentioned better burner?
    and @turboseize: I can not quite understand your problems with the 2003er. Mine is the same year of construction and I feel very comfortable with it. Nothing worthy of scuffing or tattered. For a 13 year old car with over 300tkm I still find it very well preserved. And leather is overrated anyway!

  • The leather was saved continuously. Already the transition from 9k to an early 9-5 shows the regression. Nevertheless, there are brilliant seats with extreme long-distance comfort until the end. Other manufacturers take extra charge (..and deliver for rich extra price good leather).
    The car to the saddler alone is not. Also on insulating materials was saved from 2006. A glance at an expanded dashboard shows it. There is also need for action.

  • Is the leather of the chrome glasses STILL lousy than before? Is that possible? I find my 2003er seats already hard on the border of unreasonableness. (Mind you: the leather on it, the seating comfort itself and the long-distance fitness of the seats is great.)

    "From the outside" I like the chrome glasses pretty well - and she always did that, I did not have to drink nice, um, nice to wait or get used to it.
    If 9-5, then you would have to take either the steep Schnauzer or just the chrome glasses for aesthetic reasons. And actually you would then have to retrofit the small interior details that were rationalized away over time. And give the car to the saddler to hide the plastic leather and GM bacon plastic. That may be more expensive than the car, but if you had the money and the alternative would be a new car, why not?

    What else should you drive?

  • Sparorgie: Have read somewhere that the savings Saab the profit zone significantly (it was over a year?) Reach earlier than originally planned. So it must have been saved a lot.

  • Incidentally, I found the xenon light on my better than the H4 light on the 9-3 (with blue lamps) when I replaced it with Osram Intense Blue or the hot burners.

  • However, the question arises about the durability of the 1.9 TiD. I have it with manual gearbox, which has proven well in the previous Saab 9-3 2.2 TiD. But the car is now approaching 250000 km and I can not keep up with the replacement.

    The swirl flaps have been exchanged a while ago. By the way, there is a robust replacement from measurement for the broken rod bearings. At about 230000 one of the mounting screws on the exhaust manifold has broken, and the turbo was already worn, and various hoses have also been replaced. Wheel bearings, a valve in the cooling system, dual-mass flywheel, clutch, alternator, a drive shaft, auxiliary landing gear book and engine mounts were or will come in the next few days, without any guarantee that the car will run again drone-free and usefully quiet. And I had a "check engine" event of unclear cause on Saturday. Bets are accepted if it is the injection pump.

    For the 9-3 2.2 TiD I had up to 340000 km wheel bearings, 2x coolant pump and injection pump. (the turbo did not need full power anymore, but it was not catastrophically demolished)

    Fan of the heater should also be replaced, but this has nothing to do with the engine.

  • I can only agree with design.
    The 95 as of 06 was a long way ahead in terms of design. Smiled at the beginning. And today? 10 years after its appearance, it looks fresh in the streetscape, unlike other 10 years old cars. Unmistakably Scandinavian. The lights are super proportioned. From every direction. The cockpit is still super ergonomic today. The door handles are a disaster inside. The leather seats compared to the "old" 95 very bad. It does not smell like leather either.
    The Aero suspension is a force. I now have a 95 1.9 tid deer and the suspension is very bad. Despite identical tires. Get a clear buy recommendation from me!
    Alone because of the low rust.

  • We drive a 9-5 Aero estate, model 2007. It's the best 9 5er we've ever driven: just g ...! Before that we had the same model, but year 2000: a real carrot and the reason why we have regretted the sale of our 9000 CSE 2,3 tu for years. Only thanks to our "chrome glasses" we have once again made peace with the 9-5er. And she is allowed to grow old with us.

  • Good arguments for the chrome glasses! Is just the agony of choice. The chrome glasses are the cooler car, the first series more for the heart. Difficult, difficult ...

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