Saab 9-5SC MY 12 – a closer look

I think in the last two days I’ve spent too much time in and around the 9-5 SC. 😉

It is a real good looking car, inside and outside. It has loots of room in the trunk with upright rear seats, and even more if the backrests are lowered, but it really has one drawback.

I think it is the only Wagon with a strong C and D pillar, which means that you look into a long tunnel while looking into the interior rear-view mirror. But they offer a solution to that.

UPDATE: I’ve found a last photo.

Yes, the 9-5SC will offer a rear-view camera. Don’t ask me if the MY 12 Sedan will also have it, because I don’t know.

I would have loved to see it in action but it seems like you have to start the engine to get the the rear-view camera working.

The tailgate affair.

Before Geneva, many have asked if there will be one tailgate or two tailgates, and what would happen if you don’t see a pole while going backing.

As you can see in the image, the metal is straight, and only a plastic add-on follows the curvature of the bumper. This plastic part goes up till the light bar, and looking at the pictures of the “American” tailgate I would say that there will be another plastic add-on for the USofA. Maybe the guys that like the straight tailgate may be able to get the American add-on, at least in Sweden where many OG9-3 have American front lights.

On the drivers door there is a new knob.

With this knob you can choose between opening the tailgate full

or only three quarters if the ceiling of the car park is not that high.

Or switching the power tailgate off.

You also might be able to open the tailgate from this knob, but I didn’t test that.

In the lower interior part of the there is a light that illuminates the zone just behind the car when the tailgate is open, and a small compartment for the warning triangle. (from the size of that blue case, I would say that there is only a warning triangle inside that).

Inside the trunk there are two lights, one on each side.

The trunk has a soft cover, which is very welcomed by me, because I had to leave the hard cover of my OG9-5 at home only because the luggage was 1 cm too high.

This is the normal extended position, and if you press on the handle, like on the 9-3SC, the front part of the cover moves up along the D-pillar.

As the trunk is so big and sometimes you only have some small bags in your trunk, Saab has added one handy retractable hook on each side of the trunk.

Till now we have seen the trunk with upright rear seats. The capacity of the trunk is really good, much better than my dame Edna, but if you fold the backrest down you can organize the New York marathon inside the car.

Yes, I know, my camera and I have different views on what should be focused. 🙁

The backrests are folded as in the 9-3SC, and after folding them you get a complete flat surface.

If you have the front seats moved to the back as much as you can, and on the rear seats the headrest is in its upper most position, you can still fold the rear backrest without a problem.


On the sides of the trunk, there are two storage compartments, one on each side. The one on the right side is a closed one, and the one on the left side is open and has a power plug.

And to close the loop, you can see the third window, and it is not the perspective, it is really that small.

But to be honest, I don’t care that much about that, in three years time if the car is in the budget it will be mine, if not a Castriota 9-3SC will have to be a good substitute. 😉

44 thoughts on “Saab 9-5SC MY 12 – a closer look”

  1. Fold flat functionality is one of those things that is a must-have in any hatch or SC. Good to see that they’ve almost got it sorted here. In the “full trunk” pic I still see the rear seats are not laying flat as they did in my 900 Turbo many years ago, so it’s still not perfect. But it’s better than the OG 9-3. I like the utilitarian bit of being able to open the back door partially in restricted height circumstances. Good, practical thinking and design.

    Thanks for the indepth look RedJ.

  2. Love these detail posts. You think a lot like I do- really cool to see you put the front seats all the way back and test how the seats fold down in the back. I’m impressed.

      • You didn’t had the opportunity to get a 195 cm tall person into the rear seat and check out the distance to the roof? (We know it has been discussed regarding the sedan)

    • Anyone owning a pre-2003 9-3 or GM900 knows why Red was doing this. I’m not a really tall guy but my knees are really sticking through the steering when i fold the back seats of my Viggen flat. Even with the nifty trick of the folding up rear head rests it’s impossible to put the driver seat in a comfortable position.
      So, we finally know why the new 9-5 had to be over 5 meters long…..

  3. Although it’s perfectly forgivable that you couldn’t arrange to take a picture of the cargo area with 3 Great Danes, I would have loved one with swade, or someone (or something) else, to provide some spatial perspective.

  4. Very good post with useful information! The SC will me mine ( my wife’s really) in two years time.

  5. Back Up Camera — Absolute Necessity! At Last!

    Must find its way into the 9-5 (and 9-3!) Sedans too. The Turbo X suffered (despite having Road Runner inspired ‘park assistance’ ) recently…though its Owner thought all was clear [Now repaired…Owner $500 poorer].

    My colleagues with BMWs have a fantastic visual ‘radar ‘sweep’ function that takes all the guesswork out of parking reverse.

    • Must find its way into the 9-5 (and 9-3!) Sedans too. The Turbo X suffered (despite having Road Runner inspired ‘park assistance’ ) recently…though its Owner thought all was clear [Now repaired…Owner $500 poorer].

      Says more about the owner than the car itself. 😉

      Although I have to agree that reversing can be tricky as I tend to leave way too much room when I back into my parking stall having thought I had just a few inches to spare.

      I can see the need for a camera in the 9-5 as you can see nothing but sky out of the rear view mirror.

  6. It’s really impressive how much interior space the SC has. I have spent a lot of time today looking at the 9-5 SC and the 9-4x trying to find out which will be our next family car. The SC is the clear winner in terms of interior space but as I saw the price of the 9-4x Aero – tempting!

  7. Nice one, Red J, and may I also say that red SC looks GREAT!

    Thanks also for the explanation of the tailgate – and the useful picture that demonstrates where the metal ends and the plastic begins – let’s hope that the plastic can absorb minor impact before the metal is affected. I think a lot of people will be happier seeing this.

  8. Thank you Red J for these pictures and this information! I am really looking forward too see the Saab 9-5 SportCombi in reality and check out the rear headroom. Do you have any idea how much headroom it has compared to the SportSedan?

    • JH,
      I first sat on the 9-5 sedan, and there I had 2 fingers of headroom, but on the SoprtCombi I also had two fingers of headroom(??) I think my measurement system is not reliable. 🙁

  9. So has it been confirmed that the US isn’t getting that cool rear bumper add-on for the tailgate?

    If you look at the US spec Honda CR-V it has a very similar design, so it found a way past DOT standards.

    Otherwise I hope you can add it on easily, I think it makes the rear end of this.

    And I want mine in red, damn that looks good.

    • I haven’t seen anything that confirms that. It could also be that the flat tailgate are destined for the 9-5X.

      Time will tell.

      • RedJ: Thanks for the detailed pics. I noticed that many “sales” have been concluded after seeing them. 🙂

        I wonder if the difference in the hatch design has anything to do with aerodynamics as well? The Europeans want the CO2 emissions to be as low as possible and my guess is that this part does something in that area, while the US isn’t counting grams. I also noticed someone mentioning that the American insurance might have a say in this. Maybe even a combination of the above mentioned points… Who could answer on this? I like the European version better…

  10. Really good information! 🙂

    So nice to see how Saab still are taking really care of the user by developing those functional and intelligent details. It is called empathy . One of the most important tools and qualities off the good designer.

  11. thanks for the info. If all goes to plan this will be my next car I just hope Saab comes to their senses and offer a v6 combi for North America .. BTW It looks awesome in red .

  12. Silly idea, the different height tailgate funtion is great but what if they took it a step further and put a rear backup sensor on it that automatically stops the tailgate if it detects an object or ceiling? Just a thought

    • This is straight off the Cadillac SRX. Saab didn’t have to pay much for development because it was already made and had a supplier. It’s also on the 9-4x. Maybe when they go and make their own new hatchback (cough cough, 2013 9-3), they’ll be ready to throw in some sensors. While they’re at it, they could add the foot movement like the Ford Smart Tailgate offers.

  13. Red J thanks for this…besides the pieces of my GM cadillac CTS wagon that this model shares much of and Swade hates so much what is the storage space volume or can you compare to the previous 9-5 SC model bigger smaller. Anybodies comments on trunk space with seats down appreciated.

  14. Where is spec for combi? any info about 136hp diesel or 119co2…
    Saab is too much concentrating on phoenix, more important currently is launch of 9-5 combi

      • I cant find any combi related specs in saabsverige or other saab sites.

        Maybe I was wrong with phoenix, it is good advertising for Saab. But they have to launch 9-5 combi also to sell something.

        • Sorry!
          You were asking about 9-5SC and I answered about 9-3SC!
          I think that the orderbook will be open in april for the 9-5SC, here in Sweden.
          Hopefully I am on the spot with correct info now.

    • Pekko, the PhoeniX has just placed Saab on the front page of car mags, and the back page of newspapers! No Saab in the line-up could have done this and, because of it, lots of non-Saab people are talking about SAAB!

      I’m sure they will switch their attention to the 9-5 SC when appropriate.

    • Yes and no. It’s also utterly important to make the markets to realize that Saab is still here, alive and kicking; Things like PhoeniX will help doing that – kind of ‘free’ ads going into various magazines and all kinds of publications. It’s way too easy to forget that especially in the US market, the message of Saab was going to die was very well pointed out but now getting all the people realize the reverse seems to be painful process.

  15. 9-5 Combi looks fantastic in red, it would be nice to see Saab with a ‘signature’ colour for a few years whilst the brand is becoming established once again

  16. Thanks for the 9-5SC info – can’t wait to see them here in California on the road. I’ll take mine in red w/manual tranny, performance chip, and all the goodies 🙂

    • **forgot to add – I’ve only had one other wagon before, an Audi A3 (which was an excellent car), and I can honestly say I want this wayyyyy more.

  17. “I think it is the only Wagon with a strong C and D pillar, which means …”

    … it is hopefully a good thing to survive crashes.
    (like te one I had once with a massive Iveco-truck at the back of my 9-3 1st gen)

  18. It’s though to get rid of my convert, but it’s already 7 years and we’ll get a second dog, so I don’t have much of a choice, have I? And the 9-5 SC is a definitve buy, I’m looking forward! If the I-Qon system would be available, just would be the cherry on the cake 😉

  19. JH: According to the exclusive testdrive made by Swedish magazine called Tjänstebilsfakta the height of the inner-roof in the backseat is plus 10-15 millimeters compared to the sedan.

    Btw, isn’t it possible to fold down the backseats the same way you did with old Saabs, so that you first lift up the actual bench against the frontseats, and then flip over the backrest? We’ll never get a completely flat cargo-area if the backrest in on top of the bench…

    • That is the same system I use in my 2002 9-3 SE. I lift up the bench and it folds against the back of the front seats. Then I fold down the back of the rear seats into the void. But it still does not fold flat as it did in my 1985 900 Turbo (with the same fold up/down system). So it’s just a matter of improving on – or returning to – the system where the deck (rear seats) is actually flat and locked in place without requiring weight to keep it flat.

      I miss that smart functionality and utility from the old 900. But I still love my hatch. 🙂

  20. I am sooooo glad to see that Saab got the proportion of the C-pillar correct. I seem to recall early spy photos of the 9-5SC showing a very thick C-pillar that made the car look as though it was a 9-5 sedan with the hatch portion grafted on. The production version is much slimmer and just right. It accentuates the lines of the wagon without calling undue attention to itself.

  21. When I first saw the spy photos of the dirty 9-5 SC driving around Trollhättan I was very troubled by the lines around the C-pillar and the rear window. The SC-part just looked unsymmetrical and just out of sync with the rest of the car.

    The photos provided here shows a different angle of the car and I am glad to say that it actually looks really good on these images! I can’t wait to see it in the flesh and to be able to test drive it.

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