Telegraph reviews the Saab 9-5

The Telegraph newspaper in England has posted a review of the new Saab 9-5 and it’s fair to say it’s a mixed bag.

On the one hand, they do like the look of the car and the very fact that it’s being made. on the other hand, they do take a very rough stick to the driving characteristics of the car.

Make no mistake, whilst we’ve seen quite a large number of very encouraging and positive reviews, this is one that I’d struggle to fit into that category. The temptation for Saab fans might be to believe all the negatives, but personally, I’ll drive the car and form my own view.

I do take issue with a few things they’ve said already:

Step inside and the immediate impression is of a gloomy if large space, a sort of black plastic aircraft hanger.

I’m not sure what these guys are used to driving on a daily basis – maybe they get around in some very high-end motors everyday – but my recollections of the interior and the dash materials don’t gel with that assessment at all.

The printed dash panel in the new 9-5 gave it a very sophisticated air in my opinion, one I hope to reinforce in the next few days.

While accommodation is generous, and the seats superficially comfortable, they aren’t a patch on the Saab seats of yore and the back support is poor.

I’m not sure what ‘superficially comfortable’ means. Either they’re comfortable or they’re not. The only Saab seats I’ve ever found uncomfortable were in a Linear Saab 9-3 convertible a few years ago, and that was more to do with my larger-than-average body than the seats.

I’ll comment more on the seats after a few days driving this week, but the seats have been mentioned as high-points in many of the Saab 9-5 road tests we’ve seen thus far.

Even at low speeds, there’s quite a bit of vibration leaking into the cockpit, fizzing through the steering wheel and the floor; the feet and fingers tingle. (this is on a diesel – SW)

Again, something I’ll keen an eye out for. I drove the 2.0T petrol last year and it was very quiet and comfortable.

Nor do you get a payoff in terms of ride quality, either. On switchback Swedish roads, the ride was tolerable, but it became uncomfortably busy on small vibrations and noisy when traversing potholes.

I’ll be paying particular attention to the ride and handling. As mentioned, I drove the car last year, on the type of roads they’re talking about, and the ride was fantastic in terms of being a driver engaged with the car. I came away with a huge grin.

Like all other tests, there’s quite a bit of subjectivity and standard setting involved in this assessment. Read the paragraph about the stability systems to see what I mean. All road tests are subject to the frame of reference used by the reviewer. Mine will be as tainted as this guy’s.

All I can say is that you should read a broad cross-section of them but most importantly, find a way to get into the car yourself.

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