What is it?

The good news is that this is best example of Saab’s new 9-5 saloon that we’ve experienced so far. The exterior fit and finish stands out from the crowd and delivers on the promise of a premium-level car. The paint is glossy and the panel fit noticeably tight. And even the doors now close with a more premium ‘woomph’.

The interior is also perceptibly more neatly and tightly built. The surface quality of the plastics will not remotely worry the E-Class and 5-series, but this test car had the most coherent cabin we’ve yet seen seen on a 9-5 test car. After six-months of 9-5 production, the Trollhattan factory is really getting its act together.

See pics of the Saab 9-5 1.6T in action

What’s is like?

The next piece of good news is that this 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine is vastly superior to the 9-5’s unrefined diesel engine. Although the test car had just 1000 miles under its wheels, the engine was brisk enough and had no trouble hauling this big car at speed around. Indeed, it had just enough puff for nippy B-road overtaking.

Other pluses include the driving position, seat comfort (and the volcanic optional seat heaters), the night-time cabin ambience and impressive, easily modulated, brakes. The 9-5 also has a usefully loping motorway gait, and decent straight-line stability at speed, a trait beloved of old-school Saabs. At which point, the pluses start to turn to minuses. Although it’s pretty good (and may get better with miles) the engine could be a little more refined. Under hard acceleration there’s a little too much hum through the controls and the engine note turns into blare at certain combinations of revs and throttle openings.

And this particular 9-5 is fitted with McPherson front struts, rather than the more sophisticated HiPer suspension, so it doesn’t attempt at sporting pretensions. However, it does resist understeer pretty well, should you ever try to press on. But not, perhaps, in the dark. Surprisingly, for a Saab, the performance of the dipped headlights is below par.

However, this car’s biggest problem is the ride. On anything but freshly laid tarmac (when the 9-5 is hushed and settled) this car hopped, skipped and crashed across the Surrey roadscape, clearly reporting every undulation and transmitting too much noise into the cabin through the (standard-issue) 245/45 tyres and 18in wheels.

Should I buy one?

The downsized petrol engine works well in this car and you might argue that this is most Saabish Saab on sale. But while it looks good and is better-made than ever, the 9-5 continues to be frustratingly short of the mark.

Hilton Holloway

 

Saab 9-5 Vector SE 1.6 Turbo

Price: £27,260; Top speed: 134mph; 0-62mph: 8.7sec; Economy: 36.2mpg; Co2: 179g/km; Kerb weight: 1725kg; Engine: 4cyl, 1598cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power: 177bhp at 5500rpm; Torque: 170lb ft at 2200rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

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Comments
22

Re: Saab 9-5 1.6T

3 years 12 weeks ago

Autocar - "However, this car’s biggest problem is the ride. On anything but freshly laid tarmac (when the 9-5 is hushed and settled) this car hopped, skipped and crashed across the Surrey roadscape, clearly reporting every undulation and transmitting too much noise into the cabin through the (standard-issue) 245/45 tyres and 18in wheels."

Must be going after Audi S-Line customers then.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

Re: Saab 9-5 1.6T

3 years 12 weeks ago

Surely Autocar have done more than enough tests on the new 9-5 variants?

Re: Saab 9-5 1.6T

3 years 12 weeks ago

TegTypeR wrote:

Autocar - "However, this car’s biggest problem is the ride. On anything but freshly laid tarmac (when the 9-5 is hushed and settled) this car hopped, skipped and crashed across the Surrey roadscape, clearly reporting every undulation and transmitting too much noise into the cabin through the (standard-issue) 245/45 tyres and 18in wheels."

Anyone driven through Surrey recently? Even cars with the softest suspensions will crash and skip over my local roads.

And no, there have not been enough tests on 9-5 variants...has the 190 PS TTiD been tested yet?

jer

Re: Saab 9-5 1.6T

3 years 12 weeks ago

Very rare to make 245/45 tyres and 18in wheels ride well without adaptive suspension, where softer virtual springs compensate for a skinny sidewall primary ride. I'd say decent ride and this tyre profile is incompatible. There is no reason why Saab should not fit a 55 profile tyre to alleviate the problem.

507

Re: Saab 9-5 1.6T

3 years 12 weeks ago

As long as Saab is based on GM technology it can never even come close to the premium level price bracket it now finds itself in. Although Saab is no longer in the pitiful GM ownership, it is still entirely dependent on their sub standard technology which has caused the greatest losses in automotive history world wide.

To claim that a producer which made 30 000 cars last year can remain viable is naive in the extreme. Hope that BMW will save Trollhättan with some Mini production!

Re: Saab 9-5 1.6T

3 years 12 weeks ago

jer wrote:
There is no reason why Saab should not fit a 55 profile tyre to alleviate the problem

I would assume Saab feel that UK buyer's demand these tyres and that in Sweden they may well offer something smaller?

However if Saab really wants to make a go of things they need build the car to the right specification from an engineering perspective rather than adding "bling" for buyers who scan through the fittings list rather than taking a test drive.

Re: Saab 9-5 1.6T

3 years 12 weeks ago

The problem with Saab and Volvo, is they have lost focus as to why they have lost so much customer/brand loyalty, they just dont produce the cars that attracted buyers to them in the first place. Is this the first test on the new "improved" 95 chassis? If so has it improved, even though its still poor?

Re: Saab 9-5 1.6T

3 years 12 weeks ago

Autocar wrote:
The interior is also perceptibly more neatly and tightly built. The surface quality of the plastics will not remotely worry the E-Class and 5-seri

It's also basically the same price as a 520d. I cannot think of anyone who would choose one of these over one of those.

Re: Saab 9-5 1.6T

3 years 12 weeks ago

Autocar wrote:
The surface quality of the plastics will not remotely worry the E-Class and 5-seri.
How long do you think Saab will last. Once all the bills come rolling in I expect Saab's owners will see the error of buying it. A small manufacturer has no hope of competing with "premium" marks for long, just look at the financial muscle available to the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

Re: Saab 9-5 1.6T

3 years 12 weeks ago

I'm disappointed with the wave of negativity sweeping through this thread.

Saab are starting from a pretty low point in their history and doing their level best to fight back. The fact any improvements are noticeable is great news - they're acknowledging the problems and taking steps to fix them. It will not be an easy road with relatively limited budget but credit to them for getting stuck in.

Take the improved fit from this review then source better materials for the first facelift. Improve sound deadening to reduce the unwanted engine noise.Source more compliant dampers.Would make a much more competitive car.

As an aside I seem to recall Audi starting from a relatively low point in this sector with the 100/Original A6 and eventually making it work. Although the circumstances are somewhat different I hope Saab can do the same.

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