Saab 9-5 SportCombi tailgates comparison

Could it be that there will be different tailgates for different markets?

Saab’s officially released image…..

Spyshot, from Trollhattan, beginning of February…..

Saab 9-5 SportCombi

Spyshot, from Trollhattan, yesterday…..


Comments, from someone who should be in a position to know, indicate that the third of those images might be the tailgate used for cars shipped to the US market.

I don’t know US design rules, but I do have memories of cars being shipped to Australia from the US with big ugly overriders on the rear bumpers, presumably to keep low-speed colliders away from the panels. Maybe Saab are required to recess the rear door for that market?

I don’t think either one looks substantially better than the other, so it’s a non-issue for me, but an interesting observation nonetheless by various eagle-eyed commenters.

54 thoughts on “Saab 9-5 SportCombi tailgates comparison”

  1. One the one hand – it would be nice not to have a spot for snow to build up and get into the car. On the other hand it would be nice to have a spot ot rest my skis other than the ground before I have a chance to open the back to put my skis in.

    Either way not biggie – I do think like the badges placed higher.

  2. I really think so too, that the third picture is the u.s spec. version. I think one reason is the IIhs, or NHTSA or whatever it’s called, have the “crash test” when they crashes a car into a pole and then compare the cost for each model to fix. When the tail is more “Subaru-like” the cost is likely to be smaller? Or am I wrong? Just a thought…

  3. Does anyone remember the (I’m not sure if it was real or not) business plan with all the little pictures that was released during the sale from GM? It stated the year and what cars we’d expect to see. One of them was a suv vehicle based on the 9-5 SportCombi (possibly a 9-5X). Do you think this could be the beginnings of that vehicle?

  4. The bottom one could be a test mule for a possible 9-5X – it certainly looks a bit more rugged with the lipped bumper. I think that it being the US market version is probably more likely though at the moment as if you look carefully the recess for the number plate is a different shape possibly to accomodate the taller US style number plates. However I hope it’s a 9-5X – as that would be a fantastic addition to the line up!

    • You really have eagle eyes.

      But after your hint, and looking at the pictures once again, I would say that the recess is also not as wide.

  5. Some people really hit the panic button for less than nothing. «Oh! what an ugly tailgate, I could never buy a car with such an ugly tailgate» type of comment. Yes, in NA there are standards for collisions going backwards. Keeps your pocketbook safe in case of a low speed impact when backing.

    • You’re right. I can’t understand why some tiny details matter so much to some people. However, my father is even worse. He hates -no I don’t exagerate – his 9-5 Dame Edna SC because it has a strange looking spray valve for the rear window.

      • People — especially car guys — have emotional reactions to these heavy pieces of steel. It can’t be explained with logic.

      • I love mine (2009), even more than I loved the MY2005, but I really liked the integrated fluid-spray on the 2005. I guess it has to do with the modern wipers.

  6. The 9-5SC looks so much better on Saab’s officially released image. Seeing it on the pics here lately won’t exactly make me screen of enthusiasm. I’ll wait until I can see it in the flesh before I judge, but I really do hope that those pics show some sort of mules.

    Cheers from Norway
    Always on the longest road home when out there with my SAAB. Always!.

    • I think the glass makes a big difference. If you look in the Saab shot, the glass is tinted and matches the blackened glass that hides the D-Pillar, giving a flowing wrap-around appearance which isn’t quite as nice when the glass isn’t made black. The bigger wheels and mood lighting probably help too! 🙂

      There is no hiding those thick pillars and small glass-areas though… Given Volvo’s rear visibility going down the tube as well, I’m starting to wonder if people don’t reverse their cars in Sweden!! Alas, many makes do it, probably a safety thing (!). I drive a Volvo 940 estate which has the best visibility out of any car I’ve ever driven, and the smallest turning circle, so I’m a bit of a pain in this respect!

      This is partially as a result of a reversing mishap we had in Cairns, Australia in 1991. We rented a Ford Falcon with zero mileage. My father got in and reversed out of a car parking space. At the exact moment my father was getting ready to move forward, a woman in a blue Datsun reversed out of a parking space and torpedoed into our back door and rear wing. She was giving out to her son and didn’t see us…..

      • You are propably right regarding the untinted windows and how they don’t flow into the design courves. I am eagerly waiting to see it in the flesh because it is a strong candidate for my next car.

        Regarding small rear windows and how useless they are under reversing – well, from my point of view I always use the mirrors in combination with the parking censors, I can’t remember last time I wrenched my body around in the deep and supportive sportseat looking out the rear window. Maybe that tells alot of me, but I take the chance :). I guess a Volvo 960 doesn’t have parking censors like most older cars, so I can also see your point.

        Cheers from Norway and have a nice weekend!
        Always on the longest road home when out there with my SAAB. Always!

  7. I love the look of the rear bumper flowing into the bumper design. It’s unique, more design driven and more sedan-like

    Sure the “cut-out bumper” is probably US spec less costly for insurance repair but so much more derivative of every wagon on the market.

  8. I was impressed on how quick people noticed it. I think SAAB just put that tailgate on their to mess with the Saabs United crowd.

  9. interesting times 🙂
    I prefer the second one I think. Can’t justify the odd placing of the badges on the first one; it just looks like “ow dear we forgot something ! ”
    And a spot to rest a corner of the box you are carrying, while you open the boot lit is definitely useful.

    Don’t understand all that Subaru comparison…. The cut-out bumper has OG 9-5 en 9-3 written all over it.

    • I agree about the badges. However, when I buy new cars I always choose the option to remove them. I have no need to tell everbody else what engine or drivetrain is in the car. The Saab logo is already there and that it is an 9-5 you can’t miss. So a no problem problem.

    • Agree 100%. I didn’t like it from the beginning and hope that the second one will be the production car… The car looks so goood!

  10. I am surprised that no one has notice the slight but significant styling cue between the 2010 9-5 aero swdan and the 2011 9-5 sedans. The rear pillars are more angled and dove tail slightly. The 2010 aero sedan is also taller whil thr 11’s are lower. This ha to come into pkay with SC’s we are seeing and the tailgate. Swade or Red J have u guys noticed the distinct differnce in the tail ends of the 9-5 sedans from 2010 to 2011?

    • I can’t imagine Saab changing the body panels, structure, and roof of a car from one model year to another.

    • E-LK I haven’t seen an MY10 and a MY11 side y side, so it is difficult to spot such differences. If you have any pictures that show what you are saying, please send them to Swade.

  11. Maybe its me, but now that its been mentioned, I can’t see a US sized license plate fitting in the space provided in the first two pictures. Methinks the third picture is a US spec car.

  12. Correct me if I’m wrong, (and I know you will 🙂 ) but aren’t the tail lights on the US versions of the sedan different than in other markets as well? I remember reading something about American rules for tail lights. I’m sure there are different rules for rear bumpers as well.

  13. I prefer the official version, with the unitary tailgate-bumper design. I guess from the practical point of view, the classic design is better, at least in the case of a small accident. On the other hand, Ford Mondeo estate has the same unitary design since quite some time and they didn’t seem to change in 2011, so probably there are no issues with it.

  14. Those are indeed possibly 5mph (8kph) rear bumpers. I think (not absolutely certain) that the US requires 5 front/2.5 rear, but Canada requires 5/5 (mph). In the past all US and Cdn Saabs met the more stringent of both (including front daytime running lights as adapted by all of GM in recent years although these are required only in Canada).

    The recessed trunk lid has another advantage . . . all those high wagons (SUVs CUVs etc), despite bumper-height regulations, can ride over standard bumpers and cause expensive damage when people park by thunk rather than think. I like the idea of the extra space before the sheet metal.

    Swade, you can still find those enormous bumpers or equivalents on NYC taxis and some police cars around the USA in particular. My favorites are the giant water bumpers on some buses. I can think of some car drivers who need those!


  15. Lets think about snow and ice. Desing in official pic is much better agains snow and ice. When you are driving at winter there will be snow and ice top of the bumber and it is impossible to open tail. But when tail opens from the middle of bumber no problems with ice and snow.

  16. I also like when the tailgate flows into the bumper more than the normal way way tailgates/ bumpers are executet.
    Better against Ice and snow, probably better aerodynamically, looks better and looks more Saab.

    I´m actually starting to really really like this design!

    A bit picky about those rear doors still though.. hahaha!

  17. If this is the US spec. of the 9-5 Wagon, then one more mystery is also revealed.
    Although the only engine available will be the straight 4 Turbo, it looks like the car will be available with the Aero trim.

  18. Picture nr. 3 is probably just an early development part.
    Picture nr. 2 shows exactly the same door as the official picture.
    Either way in two weeks time we’ll know.

    • hmmmm, that D-pillar looks really out of proportion from this angle. On this picture it’s obvious that the clear part of the rear side window looks ridiculous small comparing to the whole glass plate.
      It maybe be better in reality ofcourse.
      (yess I criticize a lot, I know, but we are talking about my NEXT new car here, so I feel very concerned 🙂 )

  19. I live in the US and prefer the orginal fluid rear instead of that ugly cut in. It ruins the lines of the car…..I hope they dont do that for the US market it will take away from the car. It collision was the case…Why didnt they cut in the rear of the sedan? Makes no sense to me to do that.

  20. Until yesterday’s controversy I had not noticed the integral bumper. I guess I was too focused on the badges at the bottom which need to be placed on the same line of sight as the Saab logo.

    Being the owner of a 2007 95 Aero Combi, with back-up sensors, I am unequivocally in favor of separation of hatch and bumper. Last summer I was backing out of a very congested service station. As I backed out at a crawl, looking out the rear window I heard the piecing sound of the sensor! As I hit the brakes I thought I heard a bump!

    As I walked around the back I discovered a 10,000 mile, 1952 Pristine MG TD roadster with its top down! It had such a low profile that even looking all the time it had been like an aircraft carrier running over a trawler.

    Because it was MY first, at fault collision with another vehicle and 2 pending claims because of vandalize-and-run, I knew I had to pay out of my own pocket. Had the rear been like the all-in-one, I shudder to think what that would have cost just for the hatch. I also was rear ended in my Viggen, which only sustained the need for a new bumper in spite of totaling the Dodge Neon perpetrator.

    Finally after 2 feet of snow a week ago, I cannot see that as an argument either..


  21. Saab, stop speculation and go public with pictures from every angle of the car. If pre-production cars are on the streets of Trollhättan do not wait.

  22. Red J i will try to get pictures but it will take a few days to head down to my dealer where the cars are close together. Profile views too reveal the 10 aero taller with higher but shorter rear pillar/trunk The 11’s are longer and lower in the back

  23. I can say SCNA has seen this thread and was impressed with the observations about the different rear bumpers. I was told there is a difference in rear bumpers for EU and US cars.

  24. I can say SCNA has seen this thread and was impressed with the observations about the different rear bumpers. I was told there is a difference in rear bumpers for EU and US cars.

  25. Can it be different tailgates between the power tailgate version and the convesional?…can it be splitted?

  26. Funny, but I prefer the 2nd SC, probably due that I have owned 2 9-3SC’s and 2 9-5SC’s with the same style tail-end 🙂

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