Saab 9-5 2006 review
July 8, 2006
$4,950 - $7,260
Speculation continues over the company's longterm future, but in the meantime it's business as usual.
For the flagship 9-5 model this means a makeover and in the case of the SportEstate wagon the deletion of the Vector model.
Just entry level Linear and top of the range Aero remain.
Our test car is the Linear wagon priced from $62,400.
- 2.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine delivers 136kW of power at 5500rpm and 280Nm of torque from a low 1800rpm, with drive through the front wheels.
- Saab uses the same 2.3-litre engine for Linear, Vector and Aero models, turning up the turbo boost for each application. Guess there's nothing to stop Linear owners doing the same thing to achieve the same results.
- The engine is hooked up to a five-speed sequential auto that allows the driver to change gears manually, using steering wheel mounted thumb buttons. There's also a sport mode in full auto.
- Performance is generally adequate but the car exhibits some annoying traits. Driven sedately it's reasonably smooth, but frequent application of the accelerator generates some confusion between the turbocharger and trans- mission.
- As a result turbo boost tends to cut in and out and the transmission continually realigns itself accordingly, with real on again off again performance.
- Push down hard on the accelerator and there are two pauses, one for the turbo to kick-in and then a second one for the transmission to change down. 0-100km/h takes 9.5 seconds and top speed is 225km/h.
- Saab reckons it has adjusted all major suspension components to improve ride and handling. It has been too long since we last drove the car to really comment.
- We thought the previous model looked pretty good. The stylists have to justify their existence, but the new rounded, swept back headlights give the car an "interesting" look.
- Inside the styling is trademark Saab with the ignition still located between the front seats. But it's starting to look a little dated compared to the new crop of Volvos from the same country.
- 9-5 gets a five-star safety rating, with front and side airbags plus active head restraints standard. ABS, traction and stability control are also fitted.
- A Night Panel switch is fitted which blanks out all instrument lighting except for the speedo at night, presumably to avoid distrac- tion and eye strain.
- Fuel economy is rated at 10.0 litres/100km for the auto and the car will run on either standard or premium unleaded. We got about 12.2 litres/100km during testing from the 75-litre tank.
- Although it has heated door mirrors the driver's mirror of our test car took an inordinate amount of time to to clear.
- Standard equipment includes leather, heated front seats, climate air, rain-sensing wipers and 16in alloys.
VERDICT: A mixed bag. Lots to like but has some annoying traits. Will struggle at the price in view of the competition. For instance VW's V6 all-wheel drive Passat wagon is better equipped and cheaper.
$4,950 - $7,260