Premium midsize car; Built in Sweden
  • 4-door hatchback
  • 4-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,000 – $3,200*


1995 Saab 9000 CSE


1992 Saab 9000 CD Turbo


1993 Saab 9000 CS


1995 Saab 9000 CDE V6


1996 Saab 9000 Aero

Pros:
  • Acceleration (Turbo)
  • Antilock brakes
  • Handling/roadholding
  • Passenger and cargo room
Cons:
  • Acceleration (1990 non-Turbo)
  • Automatic climate control
  • Noise
  • Ride (Turbo)

A lot of premium sedans are on the market with similar prices, from the BMW 3-Series and Lexus ES 300 to the more recent Mazda Millenia and Oldsmobile Aurora. So, check out several before buying.

Overview

Saab introduced the 9000 series back in 1986, as a step up from the long-lived 900 series. Like the smaller Saab, the 9000 was front-wheel drive. By 1990, two body styles were on sale: a 4-door notchback and a 4-door hatchback. Two 2.0-liter dual-overhead-cam 4-cylinder engines were available: a 130-horsepower version, and a 165-horsepower Turbo. During the 1990 model year, a new 2.3-liter engine replaced the standard 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, developing 150 horsepower. Any model might have either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic. The lineup included an S hatchback, Turbo hatchback, a CD notchback, and a CD Turbo notchback. All models had a driver-side airbag.

Yearly Updates

1991 9000
A new entry-level 9000 hatchback joined the lineup, and a 2.3-liter engine went into Turbo models (rated at 200 horsepower).
1992 9000
Turbo models gained traction control this year. A new top-line, limited-production Griffin Edition sedan joined the line. Only 400 Turbo Griffins were to be built.
1993 9000
Model designations were shuffled for 1993, and equipment lists modified. The former base hatchback was now called CS, while the luxury 9000S hatchback earned a CSE badge. The luxury version of the notchback 4-door adopted a CDE tag. The Turbo engine now was an option for all four models. Hatchbacks adopted front and rear styling similar to the notchback sedans, adding four inches to overall length. An Aero edition arrived later in the model year.
1994 9000
A passenger-side airbag went into 1994 models. The lineup consisted of CS and CS Turbo hatchbacks, a CDE Turbo notchback, CSE and CSE Turbo hatchbacks, and a 9000 Aero hatchback. The CD notchback sedan was gone. The normally aspirated engine now produced 146 horsepower. The 9000 Aero got a 225-horsepower Turbo engine, while other Turbos again were rated at 200 horsepower.
1995 9000
A 200-horsepower Turbo remained available in the CSE hatchback, but the new 210-horsepower 3.0-liter V6 could be installed instead. The performance-oriented Aero hatchback again used a 225-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder. The sole remaining notchback model, the CDE, got front and rear styling similar to the CS. Only an automatic transmission was available with V6 models.
1996 9000
Only hatchback 4-doors remained after ’95 as the CDE sedan faded. The V6 engine remained available as an option in the CSE.
1997 9000
Little change was evident in 1997.
1998 9000
For 1998, the final season for the 9000, only a low-production CSE was on sale. An all-new premium model–the 9-5–was in the works for ’99.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Over the 1990-97 span, a bewildering variety of dual-overhead-cam engines went into the Saab 9000, starting with normally aspirated and turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinders. Engines soon grew to 2.3-liter size, adding considerable power. Strongest of the lot was the 225-horsepower Turbo, installed in the 9000 Aero. Not until 1995 did the larger Saab get the choice of a V6 engine. Saabs might have either 5-speed manual shift or a 4-speed automatic transmission. Only automatic was offered with the V6.

dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/121
Engine HP 130
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 128
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
21/28
18/24
dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/140
Engine HP 146-150
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 151-157
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
19/27
17/27
23.6

Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/121
Engine HP 165
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 195
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
20/26
18/24
Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/140
Engine HP 170
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 192
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
21/29
18/27
22.0

Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/140
Engine HP 200-225
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 238-244
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
21/29
17/25
18.9
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/180
Engine HP 210
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 200
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

18/27

19.7

Road Test

The Turbo is a well-balanced sport sedan with super performance and fine handling. Acceleration is the sort that you’d expect of a sporty car in this price range. Base-engined 9000s feel underpowered. But, acceleration improved with the arrival of the normally aspirated 2.3-liter engine. Even so, it ranks no higher than adequate. The 2.3-liter also is quieter and better isolated than the 2.0-liter engine, making for far smoother performance. The V6 is smooth and quiet, providing strong acceleration and brisk passing power–though not much real gusto. The 4-speed automatic that comes with the V6 shifts smoothly and downshifts quickly for passing.

A firm (yet compliant) ride is the 9000’s hallmark. With its sport suspension and lower-profile Z-rated tires, the 9000 Turbo sacrifices the pliant ride of its siblings for one that’s jiggly, nervous, and noisy.

Interior room is generous for four large adults. But, like the 900, there is too much road and tire noise. Also the climate-control system has too many buttons and resets itself each time the car is restarted.

Ratings

Model Tested: 1996 Saab 9000 CSE

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 4
40%
Cargo Room - 4
40%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 50

Specifications

4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
105.2n1 183.7 69.4 55.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
56.9 17.4 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.5 37.4 41.5 38.7
4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
105.2n2 187.4 69.4 55.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
56.5 17.4 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.5 37.4 41.5 39.0
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
105.2 188.7 69.4 55.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
17.8 17.4 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.5 37.4 41.5 38.8
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1997 9000 4-door sedan

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 176
Injury 64
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Climate control
Description: The automatic climate control may store false trouble codes which requires a new controller to eliminate. (1990-93)
Dashboard lights
Description: The check-engine light may come on although there is no problem. Saab offers a new EGR wiring harness to fix the problem. (1990)
Dashboard lights
Description: A small number of cars will illuminate the SRS light although there is no problem. The company offers to replace the control module. (1995)
Hard starting
Description: Engine may not start due to a cracked hose on the fuel-pump assembly in the tank. (1990-92)
Vehicle noise
Description: Front tires rub against the wheel wells when steering turned to full lock position. (1992)
Hood/trunk
Description: Jammed hood may require a replacement lock mechanism. (1997-98)

Recall History

1990
Description: Problem in back-up-light circuit could result in fire.
1991
Description: Ball in automatic-transmission linkage could separate from socket.
1992-93
Description: Fuel-filler and tank-vent hoses may crack.
1992-94
Description: Airbag could deploy inadvertently, due to moisture entering control module.
1992-94 w/engine oil cooler
Description: In frontal crash, crossmember can contact portion of hose assembly and cause breakage.
1992-94 w/”MK II” ABS
Description: Moisture can result in false illumination of ABS or brake-warning lights.
1993
Description: Piston in brake-light switch may stick.
1994 CD/CSE
Description: Brake-light bulb may be improperly wired.
1997-98
Description: Airbag alert label on driver’s sunvisor was omitted.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.