Saab of the Week: Keith’s 9-5 WoofCombi

Warning: Certain aspects of this posting may be considered just too dog-darn cute. Consider yourself warned.

Good thing our owners didn't buy a Kia!
I know many of you out there are asking yourself what car to buy for your Great Danes. What car could possibly accommodate not only one, not two, but three? And allow these huge gracious beings to stand up if they so choose?

Well, the answer, of course, is the 9-5 SportCombi!

Allow Keith, a SU reader from Toronto, to explain:

The Saab has the largest cargo area available to us, in a wagon. I maintain that a wagon is preferred, because you wouldn’t want to have to lift a sick Great Dane into an SUV. The lower the better, as I want the dogs to be able to get in and out of the car on their own.

We got the car before the dogs, but we got it in anticipation of getting a single Great Dane from a rescue group. The rescue group eventually came to us saying that this pair of black Great Danes were available, and that they wouldn’t split them up. I was nervous about getting two at once, though my wife tells me that it was her plan all along. As you can see, I took the plunge. That was in 2005. It was good for us that we ended up getting the 9-5, as the extra space was great to have.

You drive, we sleep

But the story does not stop there. The family was then joined by the pup Danforth in 2008.

The 3 dogs can travel with either of the rear seats up, allowing us to accommodate a passenger in the second row. When we had just two, we could easily fit them into just the cargo area, and had the full second row available. When we got the third dog, it was no longer possible. But yes, a person can easily sit in either of the rear seats.(…)There really is no vehicle that wouldn’t require seats being down or taken out. I say that without having looked a Ford Transit. But even minivans would need a row to be removed, to accommodate all 3 of our dogs. ie, We did look at the Ford Flex while we were investigating a replacement, but no, it wouldn’t be able to do it.

They should have called this the Saab 9-5 WoofCombi - Deco in the front, Danforth and top dog Kitty
Given that my wife and I are contemplating getting a dog eventually, I asked Keith for his opinion on rescue vs breeder.

Do I recommend rescue vs directly from a breeder? Wow, it’s a tough call. It’s easy to cite good and bad stories from each scenario, so it isn’t a case of one being better than the other. It really would come down to individual preference. A good dog could come from a breeder or rescue, and the same can be said about a “bad” dog. The only thing I can truly say about either is that the acquisition under either scenario is going to be the big difference. With a breeder, you wait for the birth of a puppy. With a rescue, it’s possible to make an application, and have a dog later that week. However the rescue dog is much less likely to be a puppy, which for some could be very important.

Finally, Keith has this great video demonstrating how the Danes ride in the back. It is a little long, but it is fascinating to watch these big dogs enjoying the ride their own way. At the end of the movie, watch as two of the Danes stand up inside the car.

For more on Keith, his wife Sarah and their three dogs Deco, Kitty and Danforth, visit

16 thoughts on “Saab of the Week: Keith’s 9-5 WoofCombi”

  1. How about a comment on topic, about the post, guys?

    Great story, beautiful dogs, thanks for sharing! It’s so nice to see how people around the world enjoy their Saabs.

  2. Most excellent story! I can relate as when it was time to buy a truck, it was decided a full crew cab was needed so that our three Shetland Sheepdogs could ride comfortably. Abby, Maddie and Sarah all fit into the truck with ease but they would like more room than our 9-3 combi provides. However if you can fit three Danes into a 9-5 combi my little buggers could learn to be less demanding when it come to their accommodations.

    The facts that you have rescue Danes and a Saab…. make you some dang nice people. Thanks for the story.

  3. There really is no vehicle that wouldn’t require seats being down or taken out. I say that without having looked a Ford Transit. But even minivans would need a row to be removed, to accommodate all 3 of our dogs. ie, We did look at the Ford Flex while we were investigating a replacement, but no, it wouldn’t be able to do it.

    A Honda Odyssey minivan has a third row seat that tumbles and folds flat into the floor with no removal necessary. There’s definitely more room back there than a 9-5 wagon, and the load-in height is only about two inches higher.

    • Hi mike. While all minivans can be modified for space, they still require the modification of standard seating. When I went to a local Honda dealership to look at the choices, which to me were the Odyssey and the Element, neither was a perfect choice for my wife and I. In the Odyssey, by removing either of the 2nd or 3rd rows, the latches that hold the seats in place would have meant a substantial enough fix to accommodate laying dogs, that I was sure that there were other choices. Most minivans had this, although the Nissan Quest would have probably been our best choice if we needed to buy a minivan.

      In the end, the idea of the still needing to make space for the dogs by modification of a minivan, and what would we really get for that? One more seat than we have. When we added Danforth we thought we would need to get something else, and yet we’ve managed our situation nicely without the need to replace our Saab. We’re pretty happy about our choice. I’d rather sit in the 9-5SC, instead of buy a minivan that I would enjoy less.

      74StingSaab, while I was willing to look at SUVs, a truck was less practical. The Ford Flex topped our list when it came to the Crossover choices, or it’s brother car, the Lincoln MKT. I have to agree, anyone who thinks they need a really large space for their dogs just needs to see our situation. I mean, I was blown away how our first two were able to be comfortable traveling in the cargo area. That’s about 260lbs (118Kg) of dog. For perspective, on a standard 3-cushion sofa, they curl into the space of 1 cushion. Of course, they’ll stretch their long legs out if it’s available, but in essence, they take whatever space is available.

      • Keith, you might have been mistaken about seeing the Odyssey as the third row doesn’t need to be removed at all to create a flat cargo area. That’s the beauty of the tumble-down seating. No latches to change, in fact, modifications necessary. The seat folds into the floor without any protruding hinges. It was a Honda-specific feature until quite recently. 😉

        For really big loads, say a full-size armoire AND a wood stove, you’ll need to remove the second row. The latches are on the seat and connect to recessed bolts in the floor, again creating a flat load area.

        Actually…The more I write this, the more I’m convinced that you looked at a Pilot and an Element and not an Odyssey. 🙂

        But, in terms of driving fun, the 9-5 SC definitely has a slight edge in handling. It’s not a huge gap (unless it’s an SC Aero) but it’s definitely a bit more sprightly around town….but I doubt that would matter much with live cargo in the rear!

        • Well, it was between 2 and 3 years ago when I looked, and while I don’t remember the flip-down as a feature on the Odyssey, I can’t recall well enough to dispute it. The flip-down seats, I know that the Town & Country/Caravan had that, but we had difficulty at the Chrysler/Dodge dealership we originally went to, so that didn’t go anywhere. I glanced at the Pilot, but there was no reason for us to look at it over either the Element or Odyssey. The Pilot was obvious for not really being the ideal choice for us. I have previously driven a friend’s Odyssey for a week, and I know that it did a great job of moving things around, so I’m not completely unfamiliar with the vehicle. I remember that my wife preferred leather, and that meant getting into a higher-priced model, and coupling that with whatever else we nit-picked over, the Odyssey was ruled out.

          As for the seating, what I was trying to point to is that most cars would require us to do something with it’s standard seating. For minivans, that would mean either removing the 2nd row, or folding down a 3rd row, if that option were available on a given model.

          And you’re right about the cargo we mostly carry. If you have watched the embedded video, you’ll see how the dogs move around in the car, so we definitely drive differently with and without them in the car.

          For me, wagon over minivan was preferred. I like to sit low to the ground, which is one reason why we have the Aero model. Though, anything that makes it easier for the dogs to get in and out is our preference, hence lower is better. As well, our 9-5 is a manual transmission, which isn’t easily found in a minivan in North America, if anywhere.

          I really could bore you with how we re-examined our vehicle against everything that was available at the time. But I wouldn’t want to get too far from the essence of the story, which I’m pleased to have shared with you all.

          Originally getting and ultimately staying with the 9-5SC Aero has been a great choice for us. It handles the cargo, I enjoy the drive. Keeping the 9-5 has been a sound choice for us.

          Juerg_U, I hope you enjoy the new 9-5SC. I look forward to your equivalent story.

  4. Great pictures :-), guess why we headed for the new 9-5 SC with 1 male greyhound and 1 female galgo. Can’t wait for delivery in September (hopefully!!!)

    • Love the dogs, especially the one that uses the other’s back for a pillow. The new S-C is going to have less cargo space than the old, right? Wasn’t it 67 cu. ft. vs. 73 with the seats down? As I look at new cars, that’s what I think about, too. Otherwise, I would have bought the 9-5 sedan. Most SUV’s have less depth in the back cargo area. Too bad I can’t install all the safety gizmos on my current car and keep it for another 90,000 miles.

      • Although I don’t know the specs of the new S-C, when my wife were last looking, we had an extensive spreadsheet documenting many specs of the vehicles being compared to. Thing is, even though some had very different specs on paper, we would still need to go to look at the model, to gauge the spaces with respect to what we use it for.

        When we went to look, we would call to confirm that there was no issue with bringing dogs by, so that we would be able to test the space, if necessary. There were only a couple times when we would actually put the dogs into the vehicle, as sometimes, you could just tell it wouldn’t work. But we needed to see it, even before a test-drive would take place.

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