Saab 9-5 navigation for central and eastern Europe

We have an SU reader in our midst who is contemplating the purchase of a 2011 Saab 9-5. He’s a very keen Saab fan and the 9-5 will suit his business requirements very well.

One problem – the 2011 model doesn’t come with maps for central and eastern Europe (CEE) as standard and there doesn’t seem to be a factory fitted solution at the moment.

His question:

I know of many successful map conversions for the older-generation 9-5s, which (also) didn’t have CEE maps standard, using maps from other car brands utilizing similar systems or even refitting the control module to take DVDs from systems with maps of CEE ready. There was apparently also some success using Mazda (I think) maps for the post-facelift current 9-3s (private imports from Western Europe came without the CEE DVD, and the GM price for it was absolutely prohibitive). Perhaps some of SU’s more techy readers do know what system the 9-5 is fitted with (it is my understanding the maps are still Navteq), and whether there are any CEE maps available for it I could somehow put on the 9-5’s disk, or any other solution that could make my possible future Saab provide me with navigational aid ON THE BUILT-IN SCREEN.

Buying a car with the best in-dash nav screen only to use an external system and mess up the great visibiity through the wraparound windscreen does not seem to compute.

I agree with that point 100%. If you buy the nav system, you don’t want a TomTom stuck on your windscreen.

I really hope this is something that Saab can address in the near future, but it seems that the 2011 model year will not see a solution for CEE, which is a shame given the support in some CEE countries.

Until then, maybe someone with a new 9-5 has found a solution for this issue, as suggested by our anonymous colleague, above.

14 thoughts on “Saab 9-5 navigation for central and eastern Europe”

  1. This is the reason I have to be getting nav for free in my future cars before I chose it… The upgrade policies are awful compared to Tom Tom or other handhelds.

    In my ’04 9-5 it’s a (lousy) Kenwood system that can’t be upgraded anymore. It’s just sitting there with it’s ugly screen, laughing at me.

    Has anyone figured out what’s powering the nav in the new 9-5? It’s certainly not Saab that’s developed their own maps…

  2. Also I have no solution other than referring to mobile systems. Try to find a place on the dashboard, and have a mount for the navigation device of your choice attached thereon. No need to attach the device to the windshield. It will still be cheaper, will allow you to remove the device for maintenance, and easier to replace by a later technology.

    Have a look at They offer a wide range of mounts.

  3. I have a TomTom mounted with a Brodit holder in my ng 9-5. Works fine, although it opens up a gap as it is pressed into the panel. I have an active holder so no need for an electric wire hanging loose.

  4. FWIW: I asked my dealer about maps around November/December. He could not find anything.

    I also asked in Saab Turbo Club Sweden’s forum, but no response there either.

    A standalone GPS is a good alternative, except… Well, having directions (with progressbar!) in the HUD sure is addictive!

    OTOH, the speedometer in my 9-5 is 10% off (shows about 100 kph when I’m barely going 90 kph). If other 9-5s are like that… Then the value of the HUD decreases. Take away directions and it gets completely meaningless.

    Also: Having a touchscreen to navigate through your mp3 collection is a good thing, but I never warmed up to the interface of the built-in satnav. When I copied my own mp3 collection, it sorted each album’s tracks alphabetically. Make sure you test features that are important to you and make sure they actually work as you need them to. For something that is built into a Saab, it requires a lot of attention from the driver. (if you leave the car switched off over night, it will start to play all tracks – alphabetically, no matter what settings you had active last time you used it)

    The money I paid for the satnav is, for me, quite a lot of money. I expected more from this particular product. OTOH, it might help resale value..? I find it strange that not all cars come equipped with satnavs as standard in 2001. Heck, someone should have found a system to update the maps via satellite by now!

    (I apologize for the rant, but my goal is to make sure our colleague is aware of all the potential pros and cons before springing for this feature — I honestly do not know if I would have sprung for the satnav had I bought a 9-5 now, for me the deciding factor is the inaccurate speedometer as that would have invalidated the need for the HUD which in turn reduces the usefulness of the built-in satnav)

    • Well a speedometer in all cars are up to 10% wrong.
      This is becous:
      1. their cheap, even a speedometer in a bentley doesnt cost more then 10dollars to produce.
      2. Its done on purpouse by the manufacturers, you wont find a speedometer that shows 10% too much speed its always the other way around.

      Speedometers in trucks and busses are more accurate but they have to be acording to different laws.

      • Where did you get that idea? “All cars”?

        I tested my previous Saab, a MY08 9-3 SC. Its speedometer was accurate all the way up to 245 kph (autobahn) according to my GPS.

        My MY97 9000 CSE is spot on. 110 kph shown both on the speedometer and on the GPS.

        • I said “up to 10% wrong”, its more often some percentage wrong then its spot on, but it happens that their right from time to time.
          I got the information from a friend who works in a factory producing speedometers for trucks.

    • If the deviation of the speedo vs real speed is relative, the faster you go the bigger it is, I’d let somebody check with Tech2 if the right wheel size is set. And it is, I’d try to persuade them to set some wheel with bigger diameter 🙂
      On my Viggen there was a difference between summer (215/45/R17) and winter(205/50/R16) wheels, when the former had between 100-200km/h just a 3-4km/h deviation and the later 10km/h and more. Swapping the winter ones to 205/55/R16 made them equal. I was never reprogramming the size in ECU.
      Also worth noting, is that the speed read through CAN P-BUS is almost the same as through GPS, the deviation is introduced by SW. I never played with Tech2, but I guess it should also see the real speed (then again its a matter of setting the right or ‘right’ wheel size)

      • My Monte Carlo came with 16-inch wheels as standard but I fitted 17s some time ago. I never bothered to get it adjusted until last week when I got some Maptun stuff fitted. I was very surprised to see that the car had been set up on Tech II as if it had 15-inch wheels!

        The adjustment to 17 is probably making a significant difference to speedo and fuel economy readings.

        Sorry for continuing the off-topic…… now back to Eastern European satnav problems…..

        • There is a handy tyre size calculator here: that will calculate the impact different wheel size has on your speedometer.

          Going from 18″ summer wheels on the 9-5 to 17″ winter wheels is roughly 3%.

          One of my theories is that the 9-5 is tuned for 20″ wheels…

          The 9000 usually only came with 16″ wheels? So no surprise it is dead on.

          My dealership told me there was no wheel size adjustment that they could program (unlike the previous generation 9-5). Another dealer wasn’t sure and did not seem to bother adjusting this while looking at some other problems I had at the time.

  5. As you can read here, the GPS system is from Denso.
    It seems like other Brands using Denso GPS units are Ford and ex-Ford Jaguar/Land Rover.

    Maybe this information helps.

  6. Considering the abysmally poor satnav support from Saab for the 9-3 2003 – 2006 system, I guess one should not expect too much this time around either.

    Regarding the mentioned 9-3 generation – not only stopped Saab offering upgrades in 2006, but they charge 2 x the price of the same map if purchased from Navteq.

    Sorry, but on this area Saab is showing very poor form.

  7. I have bought a 2008 9-3 vector sc with factory fitted nav. I´m very disappointed with the map dvd. It doesn´t have newer map than from 1996. That´s a more then 12 year old map in a 2008 car. I have talked to a Saab reseller and he is also disappointed with the map update programme. The biggest road project in Sweden in modern times was in traffic in 2006 and wasn´t updated in the 2009 navi dvd. Thats shame.

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