SAAB Reviews

Can You Dare to Buy a Used Saab?

"The Dame Edna" version is called this facelifted 9-5 from 2005. This is of course due to the spectacle-like headlights."The Dame Edna" version is called this facelifted 9-5 from 2005. This is of course due to the spectacle-like headlights.

Let us point out right away, this is not a blog post intended for connoisseurs and fans of Saab cars, and especially for Saab car owners. This is a gift for those who like used Saab, but have not yet decided to buy it.

The Saab cars brand no longer exists, but…

The last Saab has long since been rolled off the assembly line – do you dare to buy a used one? Saab suffered an unusually long and painful death, so when it was finally over, the world reacted with nothing but a slight shrug. Bankruptcy naturally caused used prices to plummet. And this is good news if you are looking for a great family car at a good price – and do not let yourself be bothered by the fact that the brand no longer exists.

Saab Spare Parts

But before you even start taking a closer look at an older Saab, you will probably want insurance that you will also be able to get spare parts for the car in the future. The spare parts come from ORIO – Saab Prioginal parts, which is owned by the aircraft manufacturer Saab and not by the bankrupt Saab automobile (In November 2013, Saab Automobile Parts was renamed Orio AB). Therefore, the delivery of spare parts will not be affected.

Saab 9-5 as a choice

With that in mind, we can take the next step and take a closer look at a Saab as a second-hand purchase, and we have specifically chosen a Saab 9-5 that is large and spacious and a classic Saab – for better or worse. 9-5 was in production from 1998 and until July 2009, but we have chosen to concentrate on the facelifted version from 2005, it was both in terms of quality and dynamics a significantly better car than the previous vintages.

The cheapest cars we could find were of a 2008 2.3t Aero SportSedan manual with 185 hp, for 4,000 € with 200,000 km on the clock. It is a high mileage, and if you prefer to get close to the 100,000 km, you can find a good 9-5 for about 12,000 €. It is significantly cheaper than a used Volvo V70.

Rock solid and safe

Aero models are great but a little more expensive, 9-5 2.0t with 150 hp is the best-selling 9-5, but you should be aware that many of them run with Hirsch tuning, which raised the power to 175 hp or 210 hp. It is often recommended to stay far away from used, tuned cars, but not here, as Hirsch tuning was sold by Saab itself, so you retain the car’s warranty (where available).

Common to all versions of the 9-5 is that they are well-running cars with good comfort, a well-thought-out and well-functioning – albeit a bit old-fashioned – interior, good space, a huge trunk – and then the 9-5 was one of the safest cars ever and scored five stars in the Euro Ncap crash test.

In terms of quality, there is also not much to blame on a 9-5 from 2006 to 2009 – just a few small things that should not scare you away from the otherwise solid Swede.

The instrument panel reveals that Saab had deep roots in the aerospace industry. Although the quality and finish were improved in 2005, it is not quite on a par with the German competitors.
The instrument panel reveals that Saab had deep roots in the aerospace industry. Although the quality and finish were improved in 2005, it is not quite on a par with the German competitors.

What to check on the used 9-5 model

Engine / transmission

In the first vintages from 1998 onwards, there were a number of problems with the oil pressure, but this was later fixed with another crankshaft vent valve. Practically, there have been no more of these problems in the 2006 models. Also, Problems have been found with getting the five-speed manual gearbox into reverse.

Undercarriage

Here you must pay special attention to sounds from the rear wheel suspension or uneven tire wear, as shock absorbers can be worn already after 50,000 km and the bushings after 110,000 km.

At the facelift in 2005 (known as Dame Edna), the 9-5 got a better undercarriage with a wider track and a more direct steering, which made it significantly more smooth.

Interior

The instrument panel is logically designed and a pleasure to use, but although Saab improved quality and finish in 2005, it is not on a par with the German competitors or even a Volvo. Squeaking noises from the interior are not unusual.

Check all electronic functions, such as the trip computer, where the display may be defective.

Bodywork

Saab is among the cars best protected from rust, and 94 percent of a 9-5 is galvanized. There is good wear protection under the bottom, effective cavity treatment and inner fenders front and rear. Only weak point is the joints on the doors.

Should I buy a used SAAB?

They are pretty reliable and nice driving. They can be quite expensive to repair – not much more than any German luxury car, but service in general is more expensive because there are fewer certified Saab mechanics nowadays so they can charge more, and getting replacement parts (depending on what part) can be a lot more expensive due to lack of production.

Average repair costs and it’s not uncommon for them to make it to 250-300k without any major issues. As with all cars (especially Saab) maintenance is a must.


3 Comments

  • The BodyWork section should mention that the subframes can rust and that the rear wheel arch can rust badly where the inner arch meets the boot/trunk floor

  • “Bankruptcy naturally caused used prices to plummet.”

    Not necessary with all SAAB models.
    The rarer SAAB model you have, the more valuable it’ll be.
    The prices of NG9-5 and 9-4x haven’t gone down so much lately since there are only few of them on sale.
    NG9-3 Convertibles are very close to those models but there still seem to be more of them on sale than NG9-5 & 9-4x.
    I think those models are the most valuable “modern” SAAB models if you’d like to buy yourself a SAAB which value wouldn’t collapse in the future.

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