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Saab 9-5 Wagon



  • I need a little advice regarding the value of the Tracs system provided with the 6 cylinder versus the 4 cylinder without. Also, are there any other issues to be aware of between the two besides the 30 horsepwer? thanks!
  • gozartgozart Posts: 9
    I found the sound system to be adequate and on par with the rest of the vehicle. Presumably you have toyed with the fader to send more sound to the rear speakers. Am I correct that the only upgrade you can put on the stereo is the CD changer?

    Respectifully, if the sound system is the major sticking point, then I think you may be missing the point about what's great in the car. Others might disagree, but we found sufficient difference in the designs and features between the 9-5 and X70 to be convinced long before we turned on the radio.
  • Our local dealer called me this afternoon to let me know they had a wagon in. I mean it literally just showed up, they hadn't even gotten it off the truck yet. It won't be prepped until tomorrow for me to drive, but my husband and I went to take a look at it tonight. SHARP! Unfortunately it's a 4-cyl so it doesn't have the trac control (which I want if I can't get my RX300). This one is white. We've had a white car before and I got tired of it, but I don't think I'd get tired of this one. However, it has the gray/black interior. Can we say *hot* in the summer? My husband was suitably impressed. He likes it, though he'd prefer a stick. I can't wait to see what it drives like.
  • bassoonbassoon Posts: 7
    I need to order a car soon and I am down to the saab versus the audi a6. to the people who just got the saab wagon - did you get the v4 or v6. I really like the idea of traction control if I cannot get the quattro drive. Also, did you find the steering wheel feels like you are driving a truck?
  • goohousegoohouse Posts: 10
    ckamml: Regarding your questions on pricing, I suppose this is a function of the local competition, but when I bought my 9-5 wagon recently, two separate dealers in the Boston region were selling at invoice. I have also noted that the online price quotes you refer to have dropped over the past few months: I have seen quotes from them with approx. $1000 over invoice as recently as May, but note that they are now selling at invoice. With the 2000's coming soon, they should be dealing on the 99's. The people at SAAB are saying to expect about a 3% price increase for the 2000's.

    basson: I purchased the 4 cylinder 9-5 wagon (the v-6 is currently unavailable). Initially I was disappointed that there was no traction control available, But I've come through the worst two winters on record in Boston (93-4 and 95-6) with old SAAB 900's with no problems. In Boston, it would be my preference to get a FWD over AWD. A recent Car and Driver comparison test of AWD versus snow tires essentially showed that AWD only had an advantage with regard to acceleration and hill climbing. Two wheel drive with snow tires was better with regard to lateral acceleration grip and braking (the extra weight of an AWD system represents a disadvantage in here).
  • MiroMiro Posts: 15
    just to get things straight:
    the 4 cyl is an inline 4
    the 6 cyl is a v-6
  • After reading this thread and the Volvo v70's, i ventured to the showrooms yesterday, 90% committed to the 9-5 wagon. I happened to have the rear passenger windows down. At about 25mph, we experienced a serious air buffeting (pulsing) that was probably about 105db. We also noticed what seemed to be a doubling of the interior air pressure. It was quite painful, but disappeared when the window was closed. We tried it on open roads and next to Jersey barriors, same result. Perhaps it is unique to the car I drove, but I can't believe that. A car with this technology should not cause pain when driven. How did this happen with their much touted aircraft engineers?

    Any similar experiences? I'm buying the Volvo!
  • gozartgozart Posts: 9
    Nice to see more comments, pro and con, on the Saabs.

    4 Cyl. I would guess most people reflexively prefer the V-6, 3.0 L...and it just may be a better option. But (1) they weren't available (2) we couldn't/didn't want to wait until September when the sales guy told us they'd be in and (3) I wasn't able to ascertain if the delay is due to manufacturing/component problems they had to solve or mere supply/demand problems. That said, the 4 cyl 2.3 L. is a proven engine in Saabs, if a little underpowered. I'm learning to love it and that little growl it makes. With the no-lag turbo, it has proven more than adequate to power the car and it offered excellent freeway acceleration (read "afterburners") when I was dodging the *$^&$##%* pebbles trickling off the bed of the landscaping company truck 4 car lengths ahead.

    Grey Leather. Just another perspective on color choice. Our car is garaged morning noon and night, so heat retention wasn't a concern. DIRT is, and our beige leather Infiniti never seems to come clean to our satisfaction.

    Steering. We read a couple of reviews that had knocks on the steering. No complaints as yet.

    Buffeting. Interesting observation. Will check out tonight. It's a steamy summer in DC and that means cranking that auto climate control down to 64 and Recirc, baby!
  • gozartgozart Posts: 9
    Is it just me, or does the fabric upholstery on Saabs not hold up well. I stuck my head in a new 9-3 with the beige fabric interior and I wasn't impressed.

    When pondering our interior options on the 9-5 wagon, I was noted the poor condition of the fabric upholstery on a couple of older 900s in for service at the dealership. The paint on some of those older Saabs was in poor shape too (topside surfaces were oxidized).

    Is this a unique Saab problem? Or are the owners of these older 900s just Slaabs?

    Does anyone have any experience to share?
  • snaabsnaab Posts: 74
    Haa. S(l)AABS!
  • ckamm1ckamm1 Posts: 2
    spencer1: We had the same experience when my son put down a rear window with no other windows open.
    Interesting to hear that someone else had the same experience. It was a very loud, throbbing bass that hurt the ears worse than any subwoofer I've heard. Won't put me off from buying the car, but certainly curious that such a flaw made it through engineering.
  • gozartgozart Posts: 9
    We too experienced the air buffeting, which I would characterize as severe at freeway speeds. Given Saab's claim of aircraft inspired design, I would also characterize this little flaw as "severly disappointing". On the other hand, what aircraft flies around with the canopy or any windows open? Nevertheless, I expect more from Saab.

    Like CKamm, we won't be deterred. In fact, we can't be, since we already own. One of the reasons we missed this little feature in the test drive was the incredible heat wave going on this summer. So we had the excellent AC cranked down for the durations of our test drives. We'll develop a work around. And all the while, we'll take advantage of the superior climate control built into the car.

    To judge this car on this minor shortcoming alone would be to shortchange the overall benefit. Did anyone notice the triple sealed doors and the lack of wind noise while cruising? In fact, by the same standard (i.e. miscellaneous design flaws here and there), many other cars should never even make it off the design floors. I stack our Saab 9-5 Wagon against any competing American, European or Japanese wagon. New buyers considering Saabs ought to perform this buffeting test, determine their tolerance, and perform the same test on the other wagons during test drives. I'd like to know the results.

    I hope that Saab marketing reps monitor these boards. And I hope they convey our severe disappointment to the guys in Sweden at this little design flaw. (That, and positioning on the control stalks...they can't been seen behind the steering wheel spokes!. And why don't they illuminate the stalks and steering wheel controls in the first place?) Fixes anyone?

    Fire Away! For if we don't disclose these little things, we can't expect them to improve.
  • gclugclu Posts: 23
    Am I to assume that these episodes occured with only one rear window open? If thats the case, its been my experience that this occurs to some degree on many cars/trucks due to the aerodynamics of that particular vehicle. And when it does occur, it is typically when the window is open to a certain amount -- usually I notice this with the sunroof open part way. In any event, the buffeting resolves with opening another window.

    I would agree with Glennn though, that I wouldn't hold this "design flaw" against the Saab -- its still on our short list for the next family vehicle.

    Just my 0.02

  • I have the same problem on the sedan.

    Opening the sunroof relieves the noise quite a bit.
  • raaraa Posts: 1
    This was in response to another Saab station wagon conference that got redirected here.
    I also test drove the Audi station wagon. I thought it was a marvelous car EXCEPT it was underpowered. I would never consider buying it because of this one flaw. If they came out with a V-8 version...
  • wcfwcf Posts: 21
    Is anyone aware of aftermarket anti-roll bars for the Saab that are stiffer than stock? I know I can equip the car with Koni shocks, but I would like a thicker pair of anti-roll bars to quell the understeer and reduce the roll.
  • dblotdblot Posts: 5
    I've been following this topic for the last several weeks as we shopped for a new car. After a lot of test drives of various models at various price ranges, we came to the conclusion that the Saab wagon was quite a value for the money, even though it is definitely not an inexpensive car. Picked ours up this past weekend. I know a lot of dealers are low on inventory of these cars because we talked to a fair number of dealers as we tried to find the color we wanted (Frost gray). But for the dealers that do have inventory, we were eventually able to get all of them to agree to sell the car at invoice. I even had one dealer call me back today to see if we had bought one over the weekend because they were prepared to make further price concessions.

    It seems to be an opportune time to buy one since every dealer I talked to is expecting Saab to increase the prices on these cars 3% next year and to make some standard features like the sunroof options on the 2000 models. I got the same info when I called Saab to ask about pricing for the 2000's. I'm sure that as the month draws to a close there will be even better deals available on these cars. And next month the deals will probably get even better. But we were afraid to wait that long, since for this price, we decided we really did want a particular color. For those not so choosy, I hope you can get an even better deal than we did. In the meantime, my wife absolutely loves driving the car!!
  • allynvallynv Posts: 2

    Congratulations on your new 9-5. I had a similar experience in terms of dealer competition for my business. I live in NY and have been a BMW owner for about 10 years. I decided to by my car at Garden City Saab. They were competitive on price, but seemed to offer personalized service at the level that I was used to at BMW.

    Like you, I love the 9-5 Wagon. I bought the 4Cylndr and still can't believe the acceleration in Sport Mode. My highway mileage has been good. Around town has been fairly poor. Hopefully, it is due to the break in of the engine. What octane gas have you used? The manual says 87, but recommends 90. Where I live, the choices are 87, 89, 93, 94. My only gripe about the car.... the tires transmit a fair amount of road noise into the car, especially on bumpy roads.

    Best of luck with your car!
  • dblotdblot Posts: 5

    We just filled the car today. I told my wife the manual recommended 90 octane, but she used 93 since she thought the car needed at least 90. I happened to talk to our dealer today and they said 89 was what they recommended. Good thing given the price of 93 octane gas these days. As far as mileage, I haven't paid much attention to it yet. Thought we'd let the engine break in a bit.
  • gozartgozart Posts: 9
    Congratulations to both of you! I am glad you've joined the club. Just had our 1000 mile service. The car is great. The dealer disappointed us with the loaner (we expected something much better/safer than a Ford Escort, but that's another story).

    We took the car on a road trip from DC to NY and were AMAZED at the cargo capacity with the seats down. And the car handled well fully loaded. No complaints on the road.

    For the record, we're using 92 or 93. I can't bring myself to put "lower grade" juice in the tank.
  • wgreenewgreene Posts: 1
    Does anyone have any updates on selling prices for 1999 9-5 Wagons...what seems to be reasonable sale price...invoice, invoice less X, invoice plus X?

    Any news on the 2000's retail prices and changes?
  • We are considering the 9-5 wagon. We love the car and are ready to buy it. The only problem is the dealer is telling me that it has a towing capacity of only 2000 lbs. We have an 18 ft. boat and with the trailer and a full tank of gas the weight is about 2750 lbs (which is relative light). The trailer alone is 510 lbs. Considering the weight of the car and the low end torque, the 2000 lb limit sounds low. Has anyone had any experience towing anything of comparable weight? This is the only thing keeping me from making the deal.
  • goohousegoohouse Posts: 10
    Regarding prices for the 1999 wagon, it seems clear that in most markets the current price is at (or possibly just below) invoice. A friend who is planning on an IDS (European delivery) purchase has been in contact with SAAB's IDS person in Atlanta, and has seen at least the IDS prices for the 2000 model, and they are about 1% higher than the 1999 prices. He did say that the premium (Harmon Kardon)sound system becomes an option, offered as part of a premium package that includes leather and memory seats. He also says that Traction control is available on both 4 and 6 cylinder models (unclear if it is standard or optional on the 4). Given the apparent improvements on the soon to arrive 2000's, any dealer with inventory on 1999's should be willing to deal. Good luck. I love my 9-5 wagon (6 weeks old, 87 octane, 29.5 mpg loaded on a recent 300 mile highway trip).
  • wcfwcf Posts: 21
    From what I've been able to gather, the 2000 base prices will be the same, but the leather package will now have memory seats (for the former price of the ventilated seats option). The ventilated option is additional money. I've heard that the leather seat option will include leather on the doors where the fabric was before. The alloy wheels are 10 spoke now. Overall, people who wanted ventilated seats will see a boost in price, but otherwise prices will hold. Disclaimer: all this is verbal, I haven't seen a price sheet yet.
  • dblotdblot Posts: 5
    The Kelly Blue Book web site (sorry Edmunds) has 2000 prices (www.kbb.com). From what I can tell, it looks like a comparably equipped 2000 is about $1500 more than a 1999 model, based on comparing dealer invoice prices. That includes automatic transmission and the leather package, since that's how most of the '99s seemed to come. Some of the paint jobs now cost an extra $300. It doesn't appear that you get much more than the memory front seat for that extra money.
  • wcfwcf Posts: 21
    In regard to the towing question, it is my understanding you were quoted the sedan's towing capacity of 2000 lbs. The wagon is able to tow either 3000 or 3500 lbs on the U.S. spec version. I can't find the U.S. brochure, but the german spec brochure for the wagon (called combi) can tow 1800 kg which works out to about 4000 lbs because the german version has a stiffer suspension than the U.S. version.
  • hc3hc3 Posts: 5
    We're in the market for a wagon and have narrowed it down to the Saab 9-5 and the Volvo V70 GLT. We really like the Saab but have heard too many horror stories about reliability and cost of maintenance. Can anyone shed any light on their experiences with Saab reliability?
  • I don't think reliability is an issue.

    Like any car maker, the possibility of lemons is omnipresent. And certainly there are people in the world who, having bought a lemon, will have an ax to grind forevermore, proclaiming to the world that "Car Maker A is the worst auto maker bar none." Some guy even has a web site somewhere trashing Saab for the horrible injustice his 900 has been. Gosh, I think by that measure the American car manufacturers would have lots to answer for. I'll bet there are more Saabs (and in fairness, Volvos) out there running strong at 100K plus miles than many other makes. How many American cars manufactured between, say 1973 and 1989 are still on the road? As a percenatage of the total cars manufactured, I'm willing to bet the Swedes are ahead of most everyone but the Japanese. Maintenance, however, is another issue on which I have no basis for comment, except that if Saab wants to grow its market share, it ought to make maintaining its cars less expensive.
  • My husband and I have owned 3 Saabs in our
    lifetime together and they are dream cars. The
    Saabs have been through a rigorous beating with our family and have outlasted Fords, Buicks and
    chevys owned by other family members who put their
    cars through similar paces. I am now in the market for a wagon, and thought I would abandon Saab to go to a Subaru or Saturn, when to my
    surprise...Saab came up with this wagon!! I am
    delighted. As for service and the expense; I am
    no expert, however, we have had our Saabs serviced in 4 different stations, located in 3 different states (we moved a couple of times!)and
    I think that the conclusion that I must draw from the variance in price, would be that the cost of service is highly dependent upon region and the owner of the dealership.
    Overall...we have been extremely satisfied with our Saabs, and with the quality-to-cost ratio of
    service that we have received.
  • I'm a new 9-5 Wagon owner - shopped several dealers and tried Autobytel and Carpoint - got the best deal at local dealer - Saab of Framingham (MA). I test drove the 4 cyl auto and couldn't believe it was really a 4! Bought the 4 cyl manual w/ leather - dealer threw in heated seats to get me in the color my wife wanted - I learned the hard way over 10 years that color is important to her! Did a lease since I drive about 12,000 miles per year - now, it's not looking so good since I'm driving more due to love affair with car!
  • hc3hc3 Posts: 5
    Your responses are great and we appreciate them.
  • Any thoughts or suggestions on roof rack setup? I need to accommodate skis and thought about the Thule box - $395 seems like a lot to me, however. I'm also interested in anyone's experience with snow tires and whether they are necessary
  • mrjmrj Posts: 21
    I am getting close to making a decision on a new wagon to replace an aging and annoying minivan. I love the SAAB 9-5 (1st choice for the moment) and I'll go through the usual V-70 and Audi A6 comparisons. Here is the problem. My wife is 5'0" tall and doesn't feel comfortable (i.e. pedal reach and distance from steering wheel)in some cars (like my 93 Audi 100). Since she will be the primary driver, she needs to be comfortable. Anybody out there driving the SAAB/Volvo/Audi wagons that can comment on driving positions for shorter folk?
  • ....every reason to like the Saab. Wife is 5'3" and enjoys the 8 way seats AND 2-way steering wheel (it telescopes).
  • I test drove the V-6 last week and saw little difference in the performace between the 4 and the V6. I did find that the noise level of the V6 was higher. Has anyone else found the V6 a rougher engine?
  • There have been earlier comments regarding the quality of tires and the need for a more firmer suspension. Has anyone replaced the OEM brand and with what type. How do you feel about the ride now.
  • wcfwcf Posts: 21
    I have ordered my Saab wagon, but won't pick it up in Sweden until late October. Abbott Racing has a set of Koni shocks that they say will make an enormous positive difference in the car. It costs $1000 for the shocks. Before I do a plus one or plus two upgrade on tires/wheels, I want to evaluate the improvement from the shocks alone.

  • Donnee-

    I've read contradicting reviews on the V-6. Some loved it. Others thought it was rough. Can't recall where or which, but they were among the 15 or so we found all over the Net from professional, published car reviewers prior to buying the car.

    My curiousity is in our 4. The engine seems to growl when accelerating up a hill or under acceleration at speed. Now, pick-up isn't a problem...this car zooms. It just sounds like the engine is working kind of hard to do the job, which doesn't seem so out of the realm for a 4 cyl 2.3, no matter how much the turbo boosts the HP and torque.

    Anyway, whenever I feel like there's not enough GO in the 9-5, I rationalize the growl with the following: Some people claim that Saabs are underpowered. On the contrary, considering the circumstances of operating cars in Sweden, where environmental mandates are no doubt strict and gas costs a fortune, Saabs aren't underpowered... they're just not OVERpowered like so many other cars. The curves representing fuel economy, emissions, HP and torque all seem to intersect at Saab's proven 2.3.

    Face it, the 9-5 isn't designed for the Autobahn. It's designed to haul you back and forth safely, with a large margin for error. It results from a sober, but nevertheless well conceived Scandinavian utilitarian design philosophy.

    Am I an apologist for Saab? Maybe. Maybe not. Read my ticked off post #10: Is Manby Listening? in the "Who owns a Saab" board elswhere on the site.

    Now I'm curious about the 2.0 in the 9-3. How does that do?

    Whenever I saw Infiniti G20's, I used to laugh and think to myself, "What's the point?" The G20 is to Infiniti what the Cimarron was to Cadillac. And then I see Audi A4 zooming around with 1.8 liter engines. I don't care about turbo and gear ratios, I'm just not going to believe that this car performs with four adults plus luggage on a return trip from the airport. 1.8 liters? C'mon. Then again, I've never driven one. I'd like to know if I'm wrong.

  • wcfwcf Posts: 21
    As one who lives in Germany, I can promise you the Saab 9-5 isn't found in the slow lane over here. I was passed by a 9-5 wagon going at least 130 mph (I was going 110 mph at the time). Admittedly, the U.S. spec car has a softer suspension, but when I test drove the US version wagon at 120 mph (in Germany, I had no complaints about its autoban behavior. I was bothered by its leaning on curvy roads though.

    Incidently, the wagon (known over here as the combi in Germany and estate in UK) will come in an Aero version in Europe. Edmunds is claiming it will be available in the U.S. as well, but I don't see confirmation of that on Saab's website.
  • Anyone think saab will be offering any factory rebates or incentives in the next month? We love the 9-5 wagon but feel it is the end of year. The local dealers have many on the lot in most colors and options. Thanks for any information.
  • The 2.3 4 cyl. does growl a little bit, but it really makes the car fly. I cracked the 100 mph barrier yesterday and the car was solid - no complaints, no bobbing or lurching, and not much body lean. I think this car would be right at home on the autobahn( I also like the daytime running lights because people actually see you coming and surprisingly get out of the way!)
  • FYI: Saab's Swedish site has photos
    of the Aero wagon and engine details.
    Go to: www.saabsverige.com, then
    click 9-5 Kombi, then Prestanda, then
    Motorer. Alas, still no news on
    the USA site.
  • wcfwcf Posts: 21
    I am being told that Saab will wait a year and see how the Aero Wagon does in Europe before they make a decision about the U.S. market. A pity.
  • I'm a newbie at the internet, so sorry if this is in the wrong format somehow.
    I drive a Volvo 850 and am 5'6". I don't have a height problem but I do have small feet and had to have the gas pedal adjusted so that I could keep my heel on the ground in the correct position while pressing on the gas. Bit of an odd problem to haved, but fixable. I recently test drove the 9-5 wagon and had no problems. That will be my next car.
  • lrklrk Posts: 1
    Way back in posting #96, Garv said that after considerable research, he decided on Saab 9-5 wagon over Volvo XC. If you are still out there Garv, are you still willing to elaborate on how you made your decision? Safety a big concern for our family... Thanks
  • SAAB USA finally provided Robert Bowden with a car. Se his excellent review oview of the 9-5 wagon @ http://www.thecarplace.com/nucar1.htm.
    Also see what a real car review is like. Edmunds take note, the subjective esoteric crap you turn out as "journalism" lacks substance and research. try to lose the cuteness and stick to an objective review.
  • Sorry, I'm not GARV, but after reading your post (#152) I followed the link in post #153, where issues of safety are extensively discussed. I suggest you read it. I've long been frustrated by the public's perception that Volvos are the safest cars, since Saabs have been named the safest cars in Sweden by that country's largest insurer for about a billion years straight. And Saab doesn't offer a third row seat placed right in the rear crumple zone, as Volvo does.
  • rfellmanrfellman Posts: 109
    Last year over 41,000 US Citizens died in auto accidents. Thousands more survived with crippling injuries. Anyone who doesn't consider auto safety as a top priority is out of touch with reality. Because there are more Volvos on the roads to see, Americans think they are safer than SAABs by sheer virtue of their numbers. Give me a Volvo or a SAAB any day over a Lexus, Acura or any American make. US government crash tests are a joke. A Taurus in no match for a SAAB or a Volvo. German cars such as BMW, AUDI and MB are't bad either. Buy anything else, and you paid too much a car which is lethal to its occupants. Where is the cost benefit? What valueation is there on life and limb.
  • gclugclu Posts: 23
    Thought this might interest people since recent discussions are on safety issues. Check out this link to the European Crash Tests:


    The 9-5 (sedan) received their highest mark according to the text. Interestingly the S70 got only a 3 star (it was dinged for its offset frontal protection)
  • mrjmrj Posts: 21
    I'm debating buying now or waiting for the Y2K model Wagon with the 2.3 4cyl/traction control. However, local dealers are pushing the 1999s pretty hard w/ invoice pricing. Any thoughts/wisdom on advantages to waiting (i.e. bugs worked out, trac control, etc., any other improvements?) vs. getting the better deal now?
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