Posted by: saabnuts | September 3, 2011

Saab 9-5 review by Curt on Life with Saab

Saab 9-5 front

2010 Saab 9-5 front

Arild @ Life with Saab posted an interesting review by reader Curt of the Saab 9-5 on a trip from Colorado to California.

I highly recommend the reading and have a few observations and comments myself after reading the review.

I agree from my own new Saab 9-5 test drive that the 9-5 feels / drives smaller than it looks.

I fully expected the new 9-5 to feel too big and have sloppy handling.  It did not.  When I’ve read other reviews of the new 9-5 I wondered if the reviewers knew about the handling modes of the new 9-5 or not.  I found the various modes easy to control and that they offered distinctive differences in driving experience for those who prefer a more luxurious ride and those who prefer a tighter steering / more performance oriented drive.

My recollection and “take” on the test drive was that the new 9-5 may not FEEL as if it is going fast, but a quick check of the speedometer during or after acceleration reminds you that the 9-5 IS a Saab (and accelerates fast and eats up road speed without the same sense of going fast which I found in most other car brands).

This is something I’ve long admired about Saabs going back to being a kid while my dad test drove a 1985 Saab 900 Turbo.  Saabs handle high speeds with confidence and comfort.  As Curt wrote, the car “really hugs the roads and throws itself around sharp corners”.

My dad’s Saab test drive long ago had him initially thinking the car wasn’t as fast as he had heard, until he realized he was passing everything on the interstate and looked down at the speedometer.  FYI my father is NOT an attentive driver!  😉  The rest of us in the car on that test drive noticed that we were accelerating and passing everything on the road with us).

Most premium cars I’ve driven don’t provide that same level of comfort AND provide such responsive Saab handling in the package as Saab manages to provide.  Saabs stay firmly planted on the pavement even at highway speeds, and react with confidence and predictability when a sudden change in speed or course is required to avoid other less attentive drivers, and changes in conditions (or obstacles such as deer, moose, etc).

Other points of interest in the review for me:  the spare tire (or lack thereof).  That’s an option I would purchase (a spare tire), even though I’ve had very few flat tires in 25 years of drivings Saabs total distances in excess of hundreds of thousands of (U.S.) miles.

As to the trip computer being off on mileage, I wonder what size wheels and tires Curt’s 9-5 is using.  Our own experiences with the old S.I.D. (Saab Information Display) units were that they were consistent.  Most of our Saabs manage to calculate the mileage quite accurately.

One of our Saabs (the 1994 900 Turbo SE) which sported slightly larger Saab rims and lower profile tires was a pessimist, meaning that our 1994 Saab always showed a lower MPG number than what we actually achieved as calculated at fuel refilling.  So my bit of speculation on the mileage inaccuracy has me wondering whether or not having larger or smaller rims and standard or lower profile tires throws of the mileage computer.

In the case of our 1994 Saab it bugged me, though it was always nice to get higher mileage when filling up than the car computer indicated… but I wonder about wheel and tire sizes impacting the calculations on the dashboard.

Thanks to Curt and Arild @ Life with Saab for providing this interesting, thoughtful and honest hands on review of the new Saab 9-5.

Visit Saab.com to learn more about the new Saab 9-5 and other current vehicles, special offers from Saab or to locate your nearest Saab dealer.

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