Saab 9-5 Estate
Saab 9-5

Apart from that, the 2.0t is a normal, 4-cyclinder, turbo-charged engine, which is mated to either an automatic or a manual transmission - both are 5-speed. The test car had a manual ‘box, a combination that has official fuel consumption figures of 22.7mpg and 40.3mpg for the urban and extra-urban, respectively, with a ‘combined’ of 30.7mpg and CO2 emissions of 218g/km.

The saloon is a little better, by a negligible amount and you can knock between 3- and 5mpg off of the above figures for the automatic version. The 1.9TiD is the only diesel option. This non-bio is slower in the sprint but has a combined fuel consumption figure of 44.1mpg for the saloon and 41.5mpg for the estate. BioPower fuel figures are not available at present.

A friend commented that Saab looks rarely change and to a certain extent he’s right. However, they are always distinctive in their appearance and last year’s 9-5 makeover is said to be the most radical since the launch of the Saab 900 in 1979.

This is especially true of the front end. Without losing its identity, the designers have separated the grille and headlamp units and framed them in chrome, which continues around the front of the clam-shell bonnet, while the central bar in the grille is maintained in representation of an aircraft wing, reflecting Saab’s heritage.

The aircraft theme continues inside where the driver sits in a wrap-around cockpit although, thankfully, there aren’t as many dials and instruments. The centre console, which curves away from the instrument panel, is quite plain and very functional. The audio and climate control surrounds, in the test car had a ‘Hammerite’ look to them, which Saab calls tektite and this effect is repeated on the door trims.

The base of the centre console curves gently down to flow between the front seats, ending in a useful storage bin-come-armrest. This section houses one of the company’s idiosyncrasies - the ignition. The key recess is between the seats, next to the parking brake. Non-Saab drivers find it briefly confusing and nine times out of ten, try to remove the key without first selecting reverse - it doesn’t work and the key won’t release. I always leave the car in first gear and have done for so many years and this ‘protocol’ caught me out on more than one occasion.

The 9-5 comes in three variants; Linear, Vector and Aero. Linear is all about simplicity and functionality and features a matt-black instrument panel and fabric-covered seats, which are available in grey as well as the standard black.

The Vector, as tested, has a bit more ‘whiz’ to it with deeply-bolstered, extremely comfortable and supportive, sports seats. These and the door panels come in black or parchment coloured leather with fabric panels and the three-spoke steering wheel gains thumb-grips. Also, the wheel size increases from 15- to 17-inches.

continues... | Part Three
Saab 9-5 News

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