Were the times better in the past? From an automotive perspective, they were more diverse. Angular delusion in the form of an SUV was still far away, but individuality was possible. It got really colorful in the early 90s when Citroën XM and Peugeot 605 were in top form. Saab opposed them with the 9000 CD. Can you compare these three very different characters at all?
I still remember the premiere in 89 at the IAA and at the local Citroën agency. My Saab time was still ahead of me, the CX Turbo was a reality. The XM polarized. Not only in comparison with Saab, but also the traditional Citroën clientele. It was a car from the future, with a pronounced wedge shape, as Saab later adopted in the 9000 CS, toned down. Future elements continued in the interior, which made the ease of use suffer. But that didn't matter, the XM was a car on a mission. And everything else wasn't that important.
In direct comparison, the Peugeot 605 came across as arbitrary. Saab calls him bland, you can also say conservative. Its design is pleasing, but also meaningless. In any case, the PSA Group managed the feat of creating two completely different characters on one basis. It is doubtful whether both brands competed in the upper middle class. If you drove a 605, the Citroën was too much the car of tomorrow. Or the day after tomorrow.
As always, the Spotlight editors are very fair with their competitors' models. In many disciplines, the two French and the Swedish contribution are on the same level. Better operation in the Saab, high comfort in the Citroën and in the Peugeot thanks to hydropneumatics or a conventional but electronically controlled suspension. The XM is easier to load due to its tailgate, the editorial team unfortunately omits the second rear window in the Citroën. It prevented interior passengers from being bothered by draft winches when the flap was open. So much love for comfort was normal for the brand with the double angle.
The weaknesses of the Gallic competitors are clearly defined. Saab scores with the strong turbo. The Europa V6, which can also be found at Volvo, cannot do anything about it despite the 3 liter displacement. The Saab engine has more torque and is more efficient with fuels. The four-cylinder engines were not well received. Without charging, they are weak in draft and do not fit into the higher vehicle class. Surely correctly observed and still valid today. The XM has now become a lover, the 605 has more or less disappeared, but the base engines remain unpopular. That only changed a year after the comparison test. A 2 liter turbo with an initial 141 HP was from now on the golden mean in the engine range and accompanied the French models until the end of production.
At the end of the comparison, Saab sees the 9000 CD Turbo in front and rates it as the more modern car. If you take the engine technology and the core competencies such as safety and ergonomics, then this really applies. In general, however, it is noticeable how close the vehicles are in many disciplines, even if they are three very distinctive characters.
Common to all is the long construction period. The Saab 1998 first departed in 9000 and the 605 a year later. The XM held out until 2000. While Saab launched another commercial success with the 9-5, the French with the 607 and C6 in Germany could never go back to their big days in the 90s.