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Saab 9-5 Sedan



  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    But I gave up on Edmunds editorial staff long ago. Like someone said, they tend to be youngish (20s & 30s), west coast biased, and prefer either the status symbols or the serious performance cars. BMW and Audi are both so they'll always be preferred in the minds of the editors because that's the cars they would own if they could afford them (or do own and are naturally biased anyway).

    I've read quite a few Edmunds road tests and have not liked the writing style and personality of a single review, regardless of car. Too much attitude covering up too little talent.
  • dskidski Posts: 414
    It would be nice to get a proper review here but Idon't see a need to get that upset. It doesn't appear many people use the reviews here to make buying decisions.

    Someone pointed out the recent Road & Track sedan comparisons. This is a better source for a proper review. Saab didn't come in First and that's probably accurate. They did finish above (in order from last to 5th place) Lincoln LS, Jag X-Type 3.0, Volvo S60 T5, Caddy CTS, Mercedes C320 Sport, Acura 3.2 TL Type S and Audi A4 3.0 Quattro.

    The Lexus IS 300, BMW 330i and Infinite G35 won out over the Saab but note the scoring, it was very close. The G35 is a great design but if it weren't for the aggressive pricing, it would not have come in first place. Price is a huge factor as well it should be.

    Also note some of the scoring. Saab came in second on interior styling to Audi and just barely second on Interior Egonomics. The Edmunds review was critical in this area. Saab also came in a close second on Engine rating and scored close to the top in many other specific areas.

    The Road & Track review is much more detailed and in depth. It was conducted by a panel of various people who understand cars. Saab came in fourth which is reasonable. Edmund's probably only had the car to test for an hour or two.

    What I do find a little odd is the grouping of cars in the RT review. The 9-5 is more closely compared to car like the 5-Series, E-Class and A6. In that test, the 9-5's price would probably do for it what price did for Infiniti. The 9-3 is more closely matched to the 3-Series, C-Class and A4 BUT.... we have to wait for next years 9-3 if Saab wants to do well in that comparison(and it WILL). The Current 9-3 won't fair well right now I'm afraid.

  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    If you want the editors to read your comments, your best bet is to access the Help link at the top (or bottom) of this page and use the Feedback options. The editors may or may not follow this individual discussion.

    jracine, what category would you like to see added to this discussion? I assure you that this is exactly the right place to discuss that review.

    Let me know if I can add something to the categories, though.

    Sedans Host
  • dmherolddmherold Posts: 1
    I'm a current 9-5 Sedan leasee, my contract is up in two weeks and I have been trying to get a 2002 9-5 Aero wagon, 5 spd, no premium package now for 2 months. . my dealer (S. FLA) said there were only a handful in the country, I couldn't order it, and no other dealers are willing to trade. . . I'm stuck. I really want the aero wagon and cannot find any help. . suggestions please? OUt of state dealer? Auction? I hope someone out there can assist. . . David
  • dskidski Posts: 414
    How willing are you to travel for this? I'd start by checking some of the Largest Dealers in the country. They will have fairly large inventories with more choices. I used to know some of the top dealers but I couldn't really tell you who they are now. I forget the Dealers name in Denver, he's always near the top. My dealer is always near the Top Also and has three locations, Just Saab in Cincinnati. They have a very large inventory. I'd also think Atlanta would be a good place to start given your location.

    Perhapse you should forgo relying on the dealer locating this car and start calling around yourself. Dealers really prefer to sell off their own inventory and may not be very motivated to help much. Link up with one of the internet Yellow Pages and start calling around. It'd be worth it for this car. I'd be curious to know if your dealer was telling the truth about only a hand full of them available in the country. For a 5-Speed, they are probably right but it's really is the best configuration for this car IMO. If inventory is low, you may have to go with a second or third choice on color. I'm also wondering if you can locate by calling Saab USA direct in Atlanta or from their Web Site.

    Good luck
  • theremintheremin Posts: 26
    There are dealers I know of in so. Calif--one in particular--that have pretty decent inventories. The biggest is Saab of Santa Ana (714) 542-7060; also Saab of Santa Monica (310) 453-4282 and Saab of Sherman Oaks (818) 981-2000. Good luck.
  • theremintheremin Posts: 26
    I wanted to chime in on the response to the recent Edmunds review of the Aero. I'll start by saying that I am coming to the end of my lease on an Audi A6 and am basically deciding between getting another one or going for an Aero. I really like the Audi and have never owned a Saab--but I do have a real fondness, almost fascination for them. I think the review is mostly annoying and ill-conceived, although there are a few things that I agree with--I'll elaborate and make a few comparisons. Any input to help me decide is appreciated. (My impressions of the Aero are based on 2 test drives--total of about 12 minutes of driving--so far.)

    --I was really impressed with the aero engine, I couldn't believe it was a 4 cyl. It never seemed to labor and it's a rocket with only the tiniest hint of turbo lag--hardly worth mentioning.

    --Torque steer? Virtually none as far as I could tell, and I gunned it from a dead stop into a turn a few times. The handling was razor sharp, I don't know what the reviewer was talking about.

    --Seat? I must say I think Audi has the best seats around. The lumbar support alone, which you can adjust automatically in & out AND up& down is tremendous. I'm 5'9" 170lbs and I actually wish the Saab seats were a little
    wider; and I wish there was a better lumbar support, and that you didn't have to crank it by hand. The Saab seats are good, but not the best IMO.

    --I'm afraid I have to agree with the review on the steering wheel: I DO wish it telescoped further out. When I have the seat adjusted to what feels like the ideal position for me, the steering wheel doesn't quite come close enough--I have to reach just slightly (and again, I'm 5'9").

    --The smell--Saabs have the best smelling interiors! I don't know what's in that leather, but it's unique and really pleasing to the senses.

    --Cupholders--I really like the cupholder that pops out of the dash (again, don't know what reviewer was thinking), but the 2nd cupholder is virtually useless. The storage bin is small enough without having that ridiculous cupholder taking up space--an inconveniant and somewhat dangerous space at that. I wish they could find a way to fit a 2nd pop-out holder in the dash somewhere.

    --Cheap plastic? Not compared with most cars. The fit & finish of the Saab interior is very nice for the most part, though again IMO Audi is unmatched in this department--everything feels solid, tight and smooth.

    --No home link button--This surprises me alot. Many cheaper cars have this, and it's pretty unacceptable to not have one on a 40k car.

    --I know the no-one-touch-up for the windows is supposed to be a 'safety' feature, but I do find it inconveniant and wish Saab could do like Audi and make the windows one-touch-up with the safety feature that automatically prevents them from closing on a hand etc.

    --I like the way the Aero looks. It's looks upscale and muscular at the same time without being 'trendy' or bland. (I like it in the cosmic blue best, I think).

    --I wish Saab had an all-wheel drive option--I've discovered that I like it alot in the A6, though the Aero does handle twists and curves in a groove as far as I can tell. (I understand all wheel drive may be coming down the line for Saab).

    In sum, an Audi A6 2.7Turbo stickers for around 2-3K more than the Aero. I really like the A6 2.8 quattro that I've had for 3 years (the better free scheduled maintenence-4yrs/50K miles is certainly an incentive), and the amenities are a notch higher in the Audi, but part of me really likes the Aero and WANTS to want one. It is fun to drive, it's safe and there is something indefinably...uplifting about the way a Saab feels when you're driving it. I'm leaning toward getting another A6 (if I can get an affordable deal), but if anybody out there has any input to sway me, bring it on! Thanks.
  • siwatkinssiwatkins Posts: 6
    Hi - in the cold light of day etc... You bring out some good points, and some fair criticisms. That is what the original review should have done. It seemed like that Erin had a real chip on her shoulder about the Saab - it was strange to see.

    If I can pick up on a couple of your comments. Steering wheel telescoping - I can see no practical engineering or cost reason why it couldn't be made longer, but wonder if there is a safety factor here (Saab being so safety conscious etc)

    Handling - A quick look at Edmund's own site shows that over the 600ft slalom, the Saab was faster than ANY of 10 cars tested in a luxury Sedan comparison. So much for the comments on ESP and understeer. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the handling on the 02 models, though I grant that the 99 I owned suffered too much body roll.

    Torque Steer - Absolutely right - imperceptible in the Auto version, and virtually imperceptible in the manual. How one of the reviewer's found the "wheel to be wrenched" out of his hand, gawd only knows.

    Seats - Each to their own I guess :-) Incidentally, the UK Aero comes with Electrically adjustable Front Seats as standard.

    - Home-Link button? Not sure what this is - presumably some US must-have convenience feature :-) If it is a switch to open your Garage Door remotely, you could always purchase an accessory switch from Saab, and mount it, perfectly integrated, in one of the thoughtfully provided switch blanks on the Dashboard :-)

    I think your summary is quite balanced and fair, showing only a little Audi bias :-) From a Saab owner's perspective, I think there is probably little in it between the two cars. In the UK, where the Saab is much cheaper than the Audi (in the same trim), there is no contest - the Saab will win every time. What you may want to check up on when making your decision, is the difference between the sticker price of the Audi vs the Saab. I suspect you can make quite a saving. That might clinch it for you, or at least help in your decision making, in which I wish you all the best.

    Simon Watkins
    Saab 9-5 2002 Aero HOT. Steel Grey, 5spd Auto.
  • tlivactlivac Posts: 11
    I'm in the market for a 9-5 wagon, either Arc or Linear, and want to know if I can get a better deal in another state. I live in Westchester County NY about 20 miles from NYC so my guess is that I see the highest prices possible in my area.

    Also, what is the best deal I can expect for a lease with 15k on either car?
  • dskidski Posts: 414
    The Front seat come Electronicaly Adusted here in the US as Standard also. "Theremin" was referring to the Electronic Lumbar Adjustments in the Audi. Saab doesn't offer that.

    Home link is a feature that provides you with a few bottons that allow you to remotely activate various things such as a Garage Door opener and Lights etc. in your home (anything you can plug into an electrical outlet). It uses FM Radio waves (X-10 Brand) technology to turn things on and off remotely. It is available for about $100US in the catalog but many mid level cars sold in the US have this feature as standard equipment. It's also available a Radio Shack for a fraction of the Saab Catalog Cost but neither are as nicely installed as the Factory Units are in cars like Audi or Nissan.

    I do agree with most of "theremon's" comparisons to the A6. The A6 does have great seats. The A4 seats are a different story -- very short seat bottom. The one touch close features for windows and Sunroof on the Audi are Great. However, Audi's Maintenence program may seem better but those programs ARE NOT FREE. They are reflected in the Sticker Price. Saab could charge a higher price and offer more "Free" services as well or.. Audi could reduce their pricing and offer fewer "Free" services.

    I've had a couple Audi's over the years and have LOVED them. For the money and fun factor, I like my last three Saab's just as well though. An A8 would be nice someday though and a TT Coupe would be welcome in my garage. As soon as I can justify spending the money for a Toy, I'll have one.

  • bigdaddycoatsbigdaddycoats Posts: 1,058
    If you are willing to travel, try Saab of Troy in Michigan. They were #1 in sales last year (in the U.S.). They have a large inventory
  • redirectorredirector Posts: 27
    A couple of other points for your consideration.

    Dealer Experience:
    I have owned a 1998 Audi A4, always coveted the A6, but when I finally had the $$$ to afford one, I was disillusioned by the Audi dealership, particularly the service dept and even the repeat-Audi purchase experience. So I shopped around, and had excellent pre and post-sale expriences with Saab, and in addition to the vehicle comparison, the Dealer experience was important to me. Saab also has a free 3 yr scheduled maintenance program. Of course all markets are different, so that's entirely subjective and locally influenced.

    The latest iihs tests are out (, and the 2002 Saab 9-5 is a Best Pick. The 2002 Audi A6 tested a category grade lower, Average. Saab wins all the European tests, too. So this might be a "best in category" for Saab vs the competition. Saab also has OnStar now, not sure whether Audi has rolled this out yet...

    Audi interiors are the class of the industry. BUT, Saab has a good standard interior and you can add some nice touches. I took the liberty of adding some accessories from the Saab catalog -- wood steering wheel, door pulls, shifter, cellphone holder. These I negotiated as part of the overall package at a significant discount to aftermarket costs.

    Both the A6 and the 9-5 are really excellent executive-class transports, and if you are considering the Aero vs the 2.7t, you are in for a hell of a ride either way!

    Good luck with your choices, and thank you for "calibrating" the Edmunds review. Not that I should be surprised...

    2002 9-5 Arc
  • theremintheremin Posts: 26
    Thanks for your input and giving me more food for thought r.e. the Aero vs the A6. I have a question which probably seems pretty strange, but it's a very important consideration for me--if you guys or anyone else out there have an idea about this I'd appreciate it.
    --When a CD is playing on the Saab's Harmon-Karden system (a very good stock system, by the way), the display simply says "play". When you hit fast forward or reverse, THEN the elapsed playing time (i.e. 2:37 etc) appears, but only until you let go of the button at which point the time disappears and "play" re-appears. Very often when I'm in the car I'm listening to things for professional reasons and I need to be able to see the playing time on a CD WHILE it's playing. This is pretty much an imperative for me and could even be a deal-breaking problem. Is there any way the display can be programmed or re-wired so that the playing time is constantly visible (rather than just seeing "play")? Obviously the elapsed playing time is in there, I just need to SEE it without having to constantly push a button and interrupt the sound. Odd question I know, but any thoughts? Thanks.

    p.s. I'll be test-driving the Aero a few more times in the near future, so I'll be dropping in with more impressions, comparisons, questions etc.

  • dskidski Posts: 414
    Wow.. now there's something that no one outside of your profession would think of. I couldn't even have told you how to access the Elapsed Play time. It's simply not something I'd really ever need to know but I understand if it's something that Helps your work.. you need it.

    If the Saab were here now I'd be happy to get the manual out and see if there is a way.. Sorry. If you don't get an answer by this evening, I'll get the book and check it out for you.

  • redirectorredirector Posts: 27
    It may be one of those user-definable, programmable settings that can be adjusted using the dealer programming tools (where you can also change, if you want, how the security system operates, the settings for the A/C, etc). Not sure, but maybe.

    Might be worth a trip to the Service Technicians, rather than a sales rep (but a good sales rep will dig for it).
  • bmwjoebmwjoe Posts: 136
    Tell the dealer that it is a deal breaker. Ask them to show you a car with the display indicationg the play time. If is can be done, they will do it to make the deal.

    Drive Safe,

  • wishnhigh1wishnhigh1 Posts: 363
    There is always the option of aftermarket stereos...and you can get a mighty fine CD unit for the price of a premium stereo option.

    Unless you like to keep a car stock, I feel this will always be the better option. Unless you have that lexus Mark Levinson system:)
  • theremintheremin Posts: 26
    I appreciate the responses to my question about the CD elapsed time display--haven't gotten an answer yet, I'm going to try & ask a dealer later today. The aftermarket solution might not be possible with the Saab--it's what I did with my Audi A6 (I don't like Bose at all) and I currently have an incredible sounding system made up of various components (Eclipse, Alpine, JL Audio and MB Quartz) which can all be removed when my lease is up. It would be very difficult to remove and replace the entire Saab dash audio panel--and it wouldn't look very good. Also, these components that I bought for the Audi probably won't fit the Saab and I can't afford to buy any more aftermarket stuff right now. The Harmon Kardan stock system is good enough for me--except for the time display problem. Hmm--maybe I should try to contact Harmon Kardan and ask them. Well...if anyone finds anything else out, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

  • darandalldarandall Posts: 57
    Remember to change the amplifier start volume when you test the car. With the radio off, hold down the weather band button. Turn the radio on. Start volume of 9 will show. Turn the volume knob up to 22, then release the weather band button. Turn the radio off for at least 10 seconds, then enjoy the system. You'll be amazed. You won't want the time to elapse ever!!
  • dskidski Posts: 414
    I'm skeptical about that start volume subject. I tried it in my last 9-5 and the only thing that changed was that the radio would always be too loud when we started the car.

    I don't beleive any other variables changed. I do know that you need to turn the "loud" feature on to full enjoy music though.

  • tonygenotonygeno Posts: 4
    I've got a 9-5 wagon with 60k miles. The car will be 2 years old on June 30. I took it in today for the 60,000 mile service to a new dealer (I moved 55 miles and my original dealer is now too far away). The new dealer said my head gasket is blown and needs to be replaced to the tune of $1250. I had the car in the shop (at the old dealer) two months for a blown electronic brain (SAAB picked up 1/2 the cost of the repair), and he said he noticed no blown head gasket at that time when I called him today. The new dealer said it's been leaking for a while. How can I find out if the new dealer is trying to soak me? How does a car blow a head gasket at 60K miles. It's a lease and I'm thinking I should just turn it in. I've got 1 year left on the lease and 15,000 (out of an original 75000) left on the lease.
  • dskidski Posts: 414
    I'm not sure why it would go at 60K but I don't believe turning it in early will help. I have to believe that if the Gasket is Blown, the lease company will get you for the cost.

    Is yours the V6?

  • tonygenotonygeno Posts: 4
    It's a 4. Saab is the lease company and I've spoken with them. They say that they do an exterior inspection and test drive. No mechanical inspection at all. The car runs fine and shows no symptoms of a blown head gasket- no overheating, no loss of power, no water in the oil or oil in the water. I brought the car into an independent shop today and they say they can find no evidence at all that the head gasket is blown. I think the dealer is trying to scam me. Must be slow for his service department and what better way to make a weeks worth of work than replacing a head gasket. I am starting to wonder.
  • siwatkinssiwatkins Posts: 6
    Sounds like a), you need to find another Saab dealer, and b), for you to contact Saab customer service about this issue.

    If the car is only 2 years old, and the dealer is being honest (which from what you've presented, they aren't), you should press for some kind of assistance from Saab. That mileage/age is low for a H/G failure.

    Can you not try another Saab main dealer (perhaps your original one). If they are scamming you, then Saab need to know.

  • bretfrazbretfraz Posts: 2,021
    That's quite a bold scam to attempt. It's not like trying to convince someone their shocks are bad or they need a fuel injection service. Those are easy scams.

    But a new head gasket??? Even a high school auto shop student knows there are lots of obvious ways to check for that problem. If the story is true then I think it took alot of ballz to suggest that service.

    If they put it in writing then you might have something against them to use at Saab USA. Since you didn't fall for it you'll be hard pressed to prove you were harmed but I think Saab USA needs to know that one of their dealers is trying to stick it to people.

    I'd expect this from something like a Chevy dealer. I have a friend who has an old Suburban that had a bad miss. He just moved out of state and took it to the nearest Chevy dealer in his new town. They gave him an estimate for over $1400 to fix the truck. He arranged a meeting with the service mgr and the tech who wrote the estimate. Over $1000 of the work was parts replacements that weren't needed or so-called preventive maintenance ("well, since your truck is so old we think these repairs are a good idea..."). All the truck needed was new plug wires, cap-rotor-condensor, and fresh plugs. Along with a few other parts the *real* total was about $300.

    If it smells like BS, it is. You did good by getting a second opinion. What's next is up to you.
  • tonygenotonygeno Posts: 4
    I took the car yesterday to the original dealer I purchased the car from. He says he can find no evidence of a blown head gasket. Saab, in the meantime, says they'll cover the repair 100%. I talked to the dealer who claims the head gasket is blown. He asked that I bring the car in and they'll show me where the problem lies (although yesterday he did say they could have made a huge mistake). I did tell him it was at another dealer who can't see any blown head gasket and that it leads me to believe they are being less than honest. We shall see.
  • dan_patdan_pat Posts: 2
    I just picked up my new 9-5 linear - (black/ charcoal interior) automatic – premium package. ( June 27, 2002 )

    The Audi A4 fell off my list as it is small - and feels cheap. I would never buy a car in 2002 without Telematics on it - and if you want Onstar in an Audi - better be prepared to drop 5K on options !!! Build your own Audi. ? .. hmmm it should say : build your own - pay MSRP and wait 4 months.

    If you live in New Haven CT, you will also experience the uglyliest Audi dealer I have ever seen in my life. It's located in Wallingford CT with 5 brands crammed into a shack like warehouse building.. The sad Audi rings are spray painted on metal mesh and is falling off the building....... very very funny. Oh yes the sales team - well lets just say you will hop on a time machine and vist the 1970's.... in my opinion these people could also be selling knives... siding....vacuums .. it makes no difference....... :) and I have never been on a test drive where I was explaining how a car works. ! - this guy was a senior sales guy...:))

    OK - moving along - dumping Audi off the list - I gave the 9-5 Linear a test drive and loved it. The first dealer in Connecticut quoted me 34K – and initially would not get me the above color combo. I called dealer #2 up the road and immediately got a quote of 31.5 K ( less tax and documents ) plus the color combo I wanted (he had to bring it in from Hartford). The first dealer obviously did not tell me about the rebate and wanted to take advantage of me so I did not mind driving 30 miles to dealer #2. I’m sure I could have got dealer #2 down even more ( 30k even ) however I think I got a decent price on this regardless. Bewarned that CarsDirect quoted me 34K.... so even this highly rated online source is cashing on in this hidden deal...

    The best part of the purchase was being pre financed via PeopleFirst.Com . I walked into the dealer and the salesperson gave me absolutely zero attitude ( – no the undercoating - no extended warranty chat – just the keys waiting and polished 9-5 with 35 miles on it. I wrote the amount in the preapproved check- signed some other forms and I was out the door in 30 minutes.

    Things I love about this car:

    - Despite being a four cylinder I love the speed and handling.

    - Quality – Quality - Quality - the doors shut like a vault – and it feels like 40K car. ( I can not say this about the many A4’s I test drove )

    - Premium Stereo rocks

    - Love the room in this car – the A4 was like a little box compared to this

    - Onstar is great – can’t believe you would buy a car with out it.

    - Great traction - it was pouring last night and this car handles very well on slippery surfaces

    - Not having to use premium gas will save me mondo.

    Not too happy:

    - the 3-year maintenance seems a bit thin - should be 4 to match warranty and include a few more bells and whistles

    - I may look at replacing the wood dash to Aluminum and give the car a bit more of an edge (has anyone done this yet)

    Global Saab suggestions

    - Get a new website - the current US one sucks and almost turned me away from this great car.

    - XM satellite radio should be an option in all 2002 Saabs – a total no brainier. A further perk could be a free XM Saab channel if one doesn’t want to spend the 10 bucks a month.

    Overall I’m very happy - I feel I have purchased something unique - well built – with good value. I hope the A4 owners enjoy the 37K Jetta :)
  • tonygenotonygeno Posts: 4
    Well, I took the car back to the diagnosing dealer yesterday. He showed me where the leak was and indeed it is slightly leaking oil. He said the problem is that it's leaking onto the belt which could cause problems and is why he is recommending a fix. I asked point blank "So, do I have a blown head gasket" and he admitted that no, that's not what I have. I have a slight leak that could get worse sooner rather than later and probably should be taken care of sooner. So, since Saab has agreed to pay for the work and they have agreed to loan me a car, I'm going to do it.
  • dskidski Posts: 414
    Happy to see you've discovered the finer points of the 9-5. Good choice as you've discovered. Keep up with that Black. I got Steel grey and love it. I've also grown to like the wood dash.

    Couple notes: Although the 3year maintenance may seem thin, you have to remember it is NOT really free. They could increase the time and coverage but ultimately the cost shows up in the purchase price. You got a Great price. The savings is better in your pocket now rather than paying for 5 years of wiper blades up front.

    XM would be nice. Saab is putting it in the new upcoming 9-3 which appears to be an AMAZING car from what I've seen so far. I've already seen the full brochure and we may actually be regreting not waiting for it. It is much better equipped and will leap frog over the competition finally in it's Class.

    I loved your idea of a Saab Channel on the XM radio. I have not experienced XM yet. Are Manufacturers creating their own channels?

    I also love the On-Star system. I do wish they would offer a more competitive package and ability to use a Portible phone like BMW does with their hands free system though. I keep bugging On Star about this one when I get surveys. I only want one phone and one phone number for my Cell Service. Help me out with that one guys. It can already be done but On Star has licensing rights to the equipment so they could squash us from connecting a portible phone and by-passing their service.

    Enjoy the new ride.
  • stan18stan18 Posts: 8
    In case anybody cares, the pictures Edmunds shows under their 2002 9-5 section are actually MY 2001. I don't know what's going on because they used to show MY '02, but now just the '01 pics as '02. First the wretched 9-5 review (see the July Road&Track for a nice counterpoint), and now the wrong pictures. Does somebody at Edmunds have a beef with Saab?

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