Premium midsize car; Built in Sweden
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,600 – $16,500*


2000 Saab 9-5 4-door sedan


2000 Saab 9-5 4-door wagon w/accessories


2000 Saab 9-5 interior


2001 Saab 9-5 4-door wagon


2001 Saab 9-5 4-door sedan

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Build quality
  • Handling/roadholding
  • Passenger and cargo room
Cons:
  • Climate controls
  • Road noise

Overall, the 9-5 is an impressive European car with a distinct personality that appeals to individualists and to anyone interested in efficient design. They’re mighty satisfying and fairly priced, but road manners and refinement don’t match top European rivals.

Overview

Saab launched its “senior” series for 1999 to replace the old 9000 models. A front-drive luxury automobile, the 9-5 (“Nine-Five”) came in sedan form at first, later joined by a station wagon.

Base and uplevel versions went on sale in spring 1998. A 170-horsepower, 2.3-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder served as the base engine, and a 200-hp turbo V6 was optional. Either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission worked with the 4-cylinder engine, but the V6 was automatic only.

All models had antilock 4-wheel disc brakes, traction control, and front head/chest airbags. Active front head restraints were designed to spring forward to counteract whiplash in a rear-end collision.

Saab’s larger model competed against the Acura RL, Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Lexus GS 300/400, Lincoln LS, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

Yearly Updates

2000 9-5
A sporty new Aero sedan joined the lineup for 2000. In addition to an upgraded chassis, the Aero featured lower-body skirting. The Aero used a turbocharged 230-horsepower 4-cylinder engine (from the high-performance 9-3 Viggen), while the SE got a 200-hp, 3.0-liter V6 as standard equipment. That V6 had been an option in 1999, but was no longer available for base models.
A power sunroof and traction control now were standard on all versions. Newly optional 17-inch wheels could be installed on base and SE models, to match those on the Aero. Because General Motors owned the Saab company, GM’s OnStar emergency/communications system was newly optional.
2001 9-5
Base models got more power for 2001, as the 2.3-liter engine gained 15 horsepower (now rated at 185). GM’s OnStar system moved to the standard-equipment list and added voice-activated phone, Internet-access, and e-mail functions.
2002 9-5
Styling was revised this year, an antiskid system became available, and a 5-speed automatic transmission replaced the 4-speed unit. Base models now were called Linear, midrange versions were renamed Arc, and the Aero again ranked as the top model–with a 20-horsepower increase.
An automatic transmission was standard on the Arc and optional on other models. The antiskid system was standard on the Aero and optional on others. It helped prevent skids in turns by regulating braking and engine power. Xenon headlights also became optional. Front airbag deployment now was affected by occupant size and position.
2003 9-5
Buttons on the steering-wheel spokes allowed the automatic transmission to be shifted manually.
2004 9-5
The 9-5 lost the optional 200-hp turbocharged V6 in 2004.
2005 9-5
Saab’s 9-5 gained an available navigation system for 2005.
2006 9-5
Saab gave its flagship 9-5 line freshened styling and a revised instrument panel for 2006. Linear, Arc, and Aero trim levels were replaced for ’06 by models tagged 2.3T and 2.3T Sport, which are available in both sedan and SportCombi wagon body styles.
2007 9-5
Newly available for ’07 was the Anniversary Special Edition with specific 17-inch wheels and unique interior trim.
2008 9-5
OnStar assistance and rain-sensing windshield wipers were newly standard on the 2008 Saab 9-5.
2009 9-5
New for 2009 was a Griffin trim level. Griffins had unique interior and exterior trim, along with standard rear-obstacle detection that was optional on the 2.3T and Aero.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front-wheel drive

Each version of the Saab got its own turbocharged engine. Base models (later called Linear) used a 2.3-liter 4-cylinder that made 170 horsepower–boosted to 185 in 2001. A 3.0-liter V6, rated at 200 hp, went into the SE (later called Arc). The sporty Aero held a 230-horsepower 2.3-liter 4-cylinder, which grew to 250 hp for 2002. Saab drops the turbocharged 200-hp V6 for the 9-5 in 2004.

Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/140
Engine HP 170-185
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 207
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic
21/29
19/27
20/29
Turbocharged dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.0/180
Engine HP 200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 229
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic
18/26
18/26
Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.3/140
Engine HP 230-250
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 258
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic
20/28
18/24
20/30
19.2

Road Test

Base and SE models (later known as Linear and Arc) are pleasant, stable, relaxed, high-speed cruisers that can entertain on twisty roads. Both 4-cylinder and V6 models provide brisk takeoffs and strong passing sprints. A 4-cylinder sedan with automatic accelerated from 0-60 mph in 8.3 seconds, while an SE V6 sedan did likewise in 7.6. Aeros are rather tepid off the line, but they deliver outstanding power by about 40 mph. Each engine suffers some turbo lag, especially with automatic. Despite plenty of hard driving, a 4-cylinder averaged 22 mpg while the V6 returned 19.7 mpg, both running on regular fuel.

Handling is secure and predictable, but body lean is a little too noticeable. Low-profile Aero tires have poor wet-weather traction and, on take-off, expose the traction-control system’s propensity to cut back engine power. Braking is swift, powerful, and consistent. The ride is outstanding. These cars iron out broken pavement and thumpy freeways, isolating all but the worst flaws. Wind and engine noise are low, but tire sounds can intrude except on glassy asphalt.

Interiors are nicely appointed, and these Saabs are spacious for their exterior size. Six-footers may ride comfortably in tandem. Head room is decent, even with a sunroof, though the back seat isn’t quite wide enough for three large grownups. Front seats are supportive and hug just right. Drivers enjoy ample seat adjustment, too. The ignition switch is on the floor, and the manual shifter must be in Reverse before the key can be removed. Automatic climate controls are too low and demand a lot of adjusting, but the dashboard layout is good. Sedans have a big flat-floor trunk. Wagon cargo bays are cavernous and well-finished.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2001 Saab 9-5 Aero

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 - 7
70%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 4
40%
Steering/Handling - 7
70%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 7
70%
Cargo Room - 5
50%

Other

Value - 2
20%

Total: 55

Specifications

4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.4 189.2 70.5 57.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
15.9 18.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.7 37.6 37.642.4 36.6
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
106.4 189.3 70.5 58.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
73.0 18.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.7 38.2 42.4 36.6
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A

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 N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Cold-starting problems
Description: Starting problems (both hot and cold) are corrected by having the ECM reprogrammed. (1999)
Dashboard lights
Description: Water can leak into the antilock brake module causing warning light to come on. (1999-2000)
Manual transmission
Description: The shift lever on manual transmission equipped vehicles, rattles and vibrates due to a defective O-ring on the linkage. (1999-07)
Poor transmission shift
Description: The shifter may not move from the park position. Dealers were replacing shift-lock solenoids in a customer-service recall campaign. (1999-2000)
Security alarm
Description: A defective antitheft siren causes a “check theft alarm” message. The company notified owners to have it replaced at no charge. (1999)
Water leak
Description: Water leaks in some cars is caused by a hole created during the welding at the factory and must be plugged with a sealer. (1999-2000)
Water leak
Description: Water may leak into the driver’s side kick panel shorting out the acceleration position sensor resulting in lack of power and illumination of the check engine light. (2005-08)
Electrical problem
Description: About 600 cars were being recalled to have the wiring harness rerouted because it was too close to the ABS bracket. (1999)
Electrical problem
Description: Intermittent no-crank caused by primary electrical connection nut working loose. (2000-04)
None
Description: Lack of power and no turbocharger boost because clip breaks on waste gate actuator arm. (1999-2002)
None
Description: The idle speed may not stay steady due to a vacuum hose pulling off of the throttle body. (2005)

Recall History

1999-01
Description: Airbag alert labels may not be permanently affixed as required.
1999-03
Description: If drivers change tires seasonally, rust may build up on the steel tire, causing grinding and the fracturing of the wheel bolts. Dealer will inspect and replace affected parts.
2000-02 w/B205/B235 four-cylinder or B308 six-cylinder engine
Description: Overheating and burnout of isolated gated bipolar transistor may occur, most often at engine start-up.
2001-05 9-5 sedans
Description: The fuel pump retaining tabs holding the fuel lines were damaged during production. Over time, this could cause the fuel lines to loosen from the pump resulting in fuel leakage. Dealers will install a bracket that will secure the fuel lines to the fuel pump.
2002
Description: Steering-knuckle castings may have been contaminated during the casting process. If they break, steering control could be lost.
2002-03 9-5 w/B308 6-cylinder gasoline engines
Description: Engine stalling may occur due to a faulty ignition discharge module. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
2002-08
Description: An interior surface falls short of a Federal safety standard and poses an increased risk of injury in a crash. Dealers will install A-pillar trim with improved energy-absorbing capability.

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.