A decent alternative to ruthless German dominance of the sector, the 9-5 is up there but it ultimately falls short of its rivals. It is cheaper though.
2-litre 150bhp, 2.3-litre 185bhp and bonkers 2.3-litre Aero pumping out 260bhp are the petrols on offer and they’re very fast with the HOT version clearing 60mph in 6.5 seconds. The 1.9 diesel does everything sensibly and is the safer bet.
Fuel economy and CO2 emissions are poor across the Saab 9-5 range and the 1.9-litre diesel is the most economical and even that returns around 40mpg and emits almost more than 170g/km in CO2.
Decent ride and drive means the 9-5 is a good cruiser and takes corners well. Steering is light on feel though and it’s comfortable rather than enjoyable.
The diesel doesn't like to be stretched but the cabin is generally hushed. That adds to the argument that the 9-5 is a sedate cruiser rather than enjoyable.
As well as comfortable seats, the 9-5 offers up lots of leg and headroom so there should be few complaints about passengers feeling cramped or claustrophobic. There’s a decent 500-litre boot at the rear but there are plenty of storage options dotted about the interior.
Alloys, climate control, electric windows, CD player as standard means the 9-5 saloon is well equipped. Leather seats feature heavily on higher specs.
Running costs are very high on the 9-5 but the buying price is good with the range kicking off from around £20,000 – markedly cheaper than its executive rivals.
The Saab is solid and reliable and the interior is sleek and cool. There’s a sophisticated, upmarket feel to the cabin and a brilliant centre console but generally it lacks the sparkle of BMW and Mercedes.
Maximum of five NCAP stars. Plenty of safety kit but the airbag provision is mean at just four.
The 9-5 saloon is a fantastic cruiser with a comfortable and sleek cabin. There’s adequate room inside and a low list price when compared to the cars it finds itself up against.
The Saab 9-5 is ponderous on the road and doesn’t drive very well, it’s clearly more of a comfortable cruiser than anything else. It’s also a thirsty car and running costs will be high.
BMW 5-Series, Volvo S80, Mercedes E-Class Saloon, Audi A6