Saab: A Timeless Choice for Safety and Performance in the Used Car Market

Saab's Legacy Unveiled: Navigating the Safety and Performance of the Timeless 9-5 and 9-3 Models

Saab 9-5 NG: A Modern Classic Synthesizing Safety and Sophistication

Saab, a brand that ceased production over a decade ago, continues to stand out in the used car market for its exceptional safety and performance. This detailed exploration highlights why the last generations of Saab models, particularly the 9-5 and 9-3, remain excellent choices for those prioritizing safety and performance in a vehicle.

Saab’s Legacy of Safety Innovation

Saab’s history is marked by a deep commitment to safety. The brand’s innovative approach, from the development of active head restraints to the unique center-console ignition placement, showcases a design philosophy centered around occupant protection.


This section details the pioneering safety features of Saab, particularly focusing on the last generations of the 9-5 and 9-3 models, which set a high benchmark in automotive safety. One of Saab’s most notable innovations was the placement of the ignition in the center console, positioned towards the floor. This strategic design choice was made to ensure that, in the event of a crash, the ignition key would not pose a risk of impalement to the driver’s leg — a thoughtful detail reflecting Saab’s holistic approach to safety.


Additionally, Saab was a pioneer in introducing Active Head Restraints, a feature designed to mitigate the impact of collisions on occupants, further showcasing the brand’s dedication to advancing vehicular safety technologies.

Unmatched Performance Coupled with Safety

Saab vehicles are not only safe but also offer a thrilling driving experience. Known for their turbocharged engines, these vehicles combine performance with safety in a way few other brands have achieved. This part of the article emphasizes how the 9-5 and 9-3 models balance robust performance capabilities with comprehensive safety features.

Crashworthiness of Saab: Then and Now

Despite changes in safety technology, Saab’s older models, particularly the later versions of the 9-5 and 9-3, hold up impressively in crashworthiness. This section contrasts Saab’s past crash test results with current standards, demonstrating that these vehicles still offer superior protection compared to many contemporaries in their price bracket. Notably, the final generation 9-5 received high Euro NCAP scores in adult and child safety, although it lagged in pedestrian safety.

Saab 9-5ng Convoy

The final generation of the Saab 9-5, introduced in 2009, marked a significant effort by the Swedish manufacturer to revitalize its presence in the automotive market with an evolved and refined design. This model, which was critical in sustaining the brand during challenging times, received commendable safety ratings from Euro NCAP, reflecting its strong safety credentials. Specifically, the 9-5 earned a 90% safety rating for adult occupants and an 80% rating for child protection, demonstrating its effectiveness in safeguarding passengers of all ages.

Euro NCAP | Saab 9-3 | 2002 | Crash test
Euro NCAP | Saab 9-3 | 2002 | Crash test

Although its pedestrian safety rating was lower at 44%, this aspect typically has less impact on a driver’s decision. Notably, the 9-5 also excelled in the safety assistance category, scoring an impressive 86%. This high score was attributed in part to the car’s advanced safety features, including Electronic Stability Control and a seatbelt reminder, each of which contributed significantly to the overall safety rating. These features underline Saab’s commitment to incorporating sophisticated safety systems to enhance overall vehicle safety.

The Cost-Effectiveness of Saab Vehicles

In the used car market, the affordability of Saabs makes them an attractive choice. This part explores the financial benefits of choosing a Saab, particularly the last generations of the 9-5 and 9-3, considering their lasting build quality, comprehensive safety features, and enduring performance.

Understanding the Lasting Safety Appeal of the Saab 9-5

The Saab 9-5, a car with a legacy stretching back decades, continues to be recognized for its enduring safety features, despite evolving automotive standards. Today, a new Saab 9-5 might not clinch the coveted 5-star rating, lacking as it does the latest driving aids and autonomous features that define contemporary luxury vehicles. However, for those in the market for a reliable and safe car, the Saab 9-5 presents an attractive proposition.

Saab Safety
Saab Safety

It’s a vehicle that echoes a bygone era of design and engineering, yet still holds its own in terms of safety and functionality. According to data from our blog, a hub for used car valuations, the first generation of the 9-5 is priced just over $8,000, while the more recent second-generation models hover around $16,000. In a market flooded with options under $10,000, the Saab 9-5 emerges as a sensible choice, offering a remarkable blend of safety, comfort, and a touch of classic allure, appealing to those who value a car with character and a strong safety pedigree.

Pristine Perfection: The Saab 9-5 Hirsch Troll R, Exuding Exceptional Preservation and Timeless Swedish Design from Every Angle
Pristine Perfection: The Saab 9-5 Hirsch Troll R, Exuding Exceptional Preservation and Timeless Swedish Design from Every Angle

Real-World Safety Performance of Saab

Real-life accident data offer valuable insights into a vehicle’s practical safety. This section examines how later Saab models have performed in actual road incidents, underscoring their effectiveness in protecting occupants, especially in unique scenarios like collisions with large animals.

Saab’s Forward-Thinking Safety Technologies

Focusing on specific safety technologies, this section delves into the innovations Saab introduced in the 9-5 and 9-3 models. From active head restraints to the robust safety cage design, it highlights Saab’s advanced approach to vehicle safety that remains relevant today.

The Relevance of Saab in Modern Safety Standards

This part assesses how older Saab models, particularly the last versions of the 9-5 and 9-3, stack up against current automotive safety criteria. While they may lack some modern driver-assist features, these Saab models still excel in fundamental safety aspects compared to many current vehicles.

The Enduring Appeal of Saab

Owning a Saab is more than just a practical choice; it’s an emotional one. The brand’s unique charm and character continue to attract a dedicated fan base. This section explores the intangible qualities that make the last generations of Saab vehicles, especially the 9-5 and 9-3, a desirable choice for enthusiasts and safety-conscious drivers alike.

The Timeless Choice of Saab

The legacy and appeal of Saab, particularly the final generations of the 9-5 and 9-3 models, remain undiminished in the used car market.

Despite the rapid advancement of automotive technologies and the emergence of new models brimming with sophisticated features, Saab’s last offerings continue to be smart, safe, and enjoyable choices for discerning drivers. These vehicles represent a unique blend of enduring safety — a testament to Saab’s innovative approach to protective design and engineering — coupled with engaging performance that still brings joy to driving enthusiasts.

Sleek Saab 9-3 and 9-5 Latest Generations with Hirsch Performance Aerodynamic Packages and Wheels
Sleek Saab 9-3 and 9-5 Latest Generations with Hirsch Performance Aerodynamic Packages and Hirsch Wheels

Moreover, the value proposition of these Saab models is unparalleled. In an era where the cost of new vehicles with comparable safety and performance features can be prohibitive, the 9-5 and 9-3 stand out as affordable options that do not compromise on essential aspects. Their durability, coupled with a legacy of pioneering safety features, makes them an excellent choice for those seeking reliable and secure transportation within a reasonable budget.

Saab 9-5 is 45% safer than the average car
Saab 9-5 is 45% safer than the average car

While Saab may no longer produce new vehicles, the brand’s spirit continues to live on through its existing models. The 9-5 and 9-3, in particular, offer a rare combination of safety, performance, and value, making them wise choices for anyone in the used car market. Their enduring appeal is not just in their historical significance but in their continued relevance and capability in meeting the needs of modern drivers. Saab remains a symbol of automotive excellence, demonstrating that good design and engineering truly stand the test of time.


  • As I tell people- Saabs are the best cars you’ve never driven! Uniqueness, comfort, safety, fuel economy, reliability and performance! Chances are, you will like one so much, you will buy more than one- they are addictive!

  • I have a 2008 9-5, purchased new in 2010 for $17,500 as a leftover since GM cut SAAB loose. Since new, I’ve spent $5,300 on all parts, labor, fluid changes, suspension, exhaust and preventative maintenance. It has never let me down.

    I love the look of the NG 9-5, but it’s much harder to see out of. The 1999-2009 is like a fishbowl, so easy to see out of. I now have 135,000 miles on my 9-5 and still enjoy driving it.

    • I also had 3 ..I owned the 2011 Saab 94x Aero, it was amazing..I still own the 2010 93X wagon with manual transmission…Awesome cars for sure

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