2010 Saab 9-5 and Buick Lacrosse – as compared as they can be

WooDz is a site regular and occasional articler (one who writes articles, according to the Swade dictionary) and he’s been busy taking a look at the Saab 9-5 spyshots we’ve recently seen and comparing them to the Buick Lacrosse.
Both vehicles are, of course, based on a common architecture: GM’s Epsilon II architecture. This is also the basis for the Opel Insignia and I’ve already done a comparo of the Insignia and Lacrosse.
WooDz – take it away!
Seeing Buick’s new 2010 LaCrosse again has sparked me into considering whether there is going to be more then just the odd similarity between it and the 2010 Saab 9-5. The recent photos of the 9-5 supplied by AMS seem to add a bit more detail and with the help of a few indicators I think we may be able to get an idea of what the new 9-5 will look like by using our design study vehicle.
Just by doing a quick overlay we can see the two vehicles are pretty evenly matched in length; even though the picture of the 9-5 isn’t exactly a side-on view.
HL1 – they both use the same GPS antenna.
HL2 – Shows that the rear bumper has the same attachment point.
The vehicles also have the same belt line too.
And here’s some other points of similarity.
Lacrosse first, followed by the 9-5…….

HL3 – We can see a clear ‘Clamshell’ design for the hood.
HL4 – The grill cuts into the hood at the same point.
HL5 – The crease on the trunk looks as if it will extend down to meet with the A-Pillar.
HL6 – This crease in the lower section on the door seems to have been replicated on the 9-5 too. The extra pieces of foam that have been added to the midsection of the car are a red herring and the door is actually flat in this part.
HL7 – SAAB have completely redesigned the C-pillar and there is a definite ‘Hockey-stick’ look in the 9-5’s green house.
HL8 – There’s a fair chance that this crease has been carried over to the 9-5 too. However; from the spy-shot it is very subtle and consists of just one ‘single’ crease as opposed to a ‘double’ crease on the LaCrosse.
HL9 – The same boot line can also be seen.
There is more than just one similarity between these two vehicles but this isn’t an exercise in showing that all GM can manage is another rebadge. Even with all the cladding the 9-5 is already showing a very distinct personal look with strong characteristics that lets you know this is definitely a SAAB.
There are a few corresponding design elements but enough differences to separate the two.
Of all the areas that have been highlighted the hoods are most alike and I think with good reason. The 9-5 has been designed from the ground up, so SAAB played a part on how the car was going to look. The clam-shell hood was more than likely a SAAB element that was carried over to the Buick, instead of the other way round. Is it imperative for a Buick or OPEL not to have a SAAB looking hood?
When it comes to these two brands there is no set guideline, unlike SAAB. When trying to design and engineer a vehicle that has to meet the latest safety requirements I feel manufacturers have less scope on diversifying their designs. All modern vehicles seem to inherently have larger bumpers and higher belt-lines these days and these vehicles are no different.
Taking the LaCrosse as a basis of what the 9-5 is going to look like is probably not a bad idea. There is no doubt in my mind that the LaCrosse is a stunning vehicle to look at and although it wouldn’t be my first choice, I’d certainly pick this car over any German premium brand.
Ultimately I await official pictures of the new 9-5 with bated breath and will definitely be in Frankfurt for the launch.

Rich Holmes
4 years 8 months ago

When I am driving my 2010 Saab 9-5 Aero and I see a Buick LaCrosse, I am reminded of the movie “Twins” with the 9-5 playing the Arnold Schwarzenegger role and the Buick playing the Danny DeVito part.