One man’s thoughts – Driving the Saab 9-5 for the first time

Seeing the Chicago Auto Show is getting underway, I thought it would be a good thing to have a little story from Chicago.

This is from Marc B, who sent it to me with a big ALLCAPS headline. I think the car made an impression 🙂


My ’04 9-3 is in the shop and I’m driving a 2010 9-5 Aero XWD loaner with every bell and whistle for the next few days and wow, what a car.

We have my 9-3 and my bride has a ’09 9-5, and quite frankly my first reaction to the new 9-5 before driving it was that it was too big. I’ve figured that my next Saab, assuming the Trolls hit the right buttons (and I’m certain they will), will probably be a ’13 9-3.

But driving the new 9-5 is really an experience. The power, the handling, the design inside and out, the quiet, the stability, the comfort, the room are amazing.

Since launch, I have only seen one 9-5 on the street in the Chicago area, and that was about 5 months ago. What is really amazing is that I was stopped 4 times the first day by people wanting to know what it was, and received more than a few oogles on the highway.

We’ve had a lot of snow lately and the streets are a little icy. I’ve been on a couple of on and off ramps and pushed it a little, and I’ve never, in 45 years on the road, driven anything that holds, no make that grabs the road like this.

For me, there are probably too many bells and whistles here. I find many of them distracting. I’m a basic 9-3 Linear with a 5-speed guy. But as the next two days go and I get used to and understand each feature, that could change. What I have played with so far is reasonably intuitive, and I’ll spend a little time with the owners manual.

One major turnoff for me though, is I miss my Griffen in the center of the steering wheel. Are you listening Trolls? I want my Griffen in the center of my 2013 9-3 5 door, 6 speed, bright red hatchback!

15 thoughts on “One man’s thoughts – Driving the Saab 9-5 for the first time”

  1. I read stories like this….

    I love them….

    And then I think what am I going to do if SU isn’t around any more, so that I can hear about such things…. ???

    Sad thoughts, but a great story… I hope there are more 🙂

  2. Maybe Marc B’s CapsLock button is stuck ……… wink

    My experience driving the 9-5 2.0T 6M was that it felt smaller than its exterior size. And the growl from the 2.0T was satisfying, particularly when coupled with the 6M which I find quite good (but shifter still wee too notchy for me). Even without the adjustable suspension nor XWD, the 9-5 drove confidently, accurately and sportily. I could have drove that one home and be happy for the rest of my life with it (although a SportCombi/wagon would be ideal).


    • Driving ‘my’ car were you, SaabKen? 😉 I know what you mean though as it feels like it shriinks around you which, in all honesty, doesnt take long. It doesnt actually look as big as it does in pictures either. I think SaabR should spend the day driving the car around Vancouver and Richmond and count the stares as he goes by unless he wants me to do it? Hell Id even fill her up with gas before taking it back to Springmans!! *hint hint*

      • Ha ha zippy! I have pleaded (pled?) my case for doing just that… and you can guess the response! 🙂 (I`d definitely be first in line – well maybe second after Jason)
        Seriously, that idea has been floated, amongst others, to try and raise the profile of Saab here in the Lower Mainland. Sadly, we are not benefiting from the current advertising campaign locally because it seems SCNA is more SCUSA at this point and though I somewhat understand the focus on the USA market at this point, sometimes you just want to shout “WHAT ABOUT US!!“. We continue to put ads in the papers and soon will have a small spot on GlobalBC as well, but still have no or Canadian national ad campaigns in place from Saab. We are working to get at least one car into the Auto Show as well just to have a presence. It will come but I fear the more time it takes, the less time we have to entice people in to buy a car. And that`s more time we may not have.

  3. It just shows how important it is to live with a new and different Saab for a few days in order to be able to figure out all the bells and whistles and the great driving dynamics.
    Maybe Saab should start a “take it home for a few days” test drive program.
    I want a new Saab, I just can’t figure out which one!

  4. I would like to get more feedback from people who drive and own the new 9-5. As around June I plan to buy either a 9-4x or 9-5. And I wish my local dealer had at least one 9-5 for a service loaner. My point is I received a loaned for my last service but it was from the local rental company another brand of car. Now my wife thinks that car might make a nice car for her needs. I think the experience of driving a model of the same brand is a good sales practice and can lead to a sale of another car. I suggested that when I was in for my last service and I think the service writher thought that was a little over the top. I am not knocking my dealer as they give me great service but just making a point for increasing sales.

  5. I thought I would go with a ’13 9-3 myself but the more I look at pics and remember my own test drive of the 9-5 I think I might go with one instead, like the author said, it’s just such a head turner and people have no idea what it is, it’s a very cool feeling.

  6. Yeah griffin is the must on hood, trunk and steering wheel. That is best logo ever, much better than old one with plane

    • The griffin is the heraldic symbol of the region of Scania (“Skåne” in Swedish) in the south of Sweden. It only came into the mix along with Scania trucks, and doesn’t really have much to do with Saab Automobile, or with Trollhättan. It does admittedly look good, though!

    • I know what you mean-I love that symbol even thought its more Truck related-it still show heritage-everyone knows Saab came from planes and putting a plane symbol back would just feel a bit contrived. I like the colours in the badge and the fact its smart, sharp, menacing, historic and regal…. as they say-“Griffin Up!”

        • Well, CFR designed the original Saab-Scania logo, with the overlapping circles. I hadn’t heard that he was involved in the modified logo, where they removed the word “Scania” and the circles. Was he?

          Here’s a very good summary of the logo history, though it doesn’t mention the artist(s).

          • Probably not, but the griffin seems to be in the same “style” that CFR created. Since i live in Scania myself i kinda like the griffin and I wouldn’t want to change it 🙂

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