The Saab 9-5 debuted in 1998 as a successor to the 9000 line. Prior to its introduction people complained that the lines of cars available from Saab lacked the same feel and styling as a traditional Saab. The 9-5 brings back that classic Saab feeling.
The 2004 Saab 9-5 offers a much roomier interior than its smaller siblings. However, the cockpit remains similar to any other Saab. It offers functionality and strong materials without the luxury of other vehicles.
That does not mean that the 9-5 has little to offer. For Saab fans, the 2004 9-5 satisfies overall desires. It offers space for up to five and still provides above average handling and steering on the road. It comes in a sedan and a five-door station wagon body style. The biggest downfall remains its four-cylinder engine with no other engine options.
Body Styles: sedan, station wagon
Engines: 2.3-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, five-speed automatic
Models: Saab 9-5 Linear, Saab 9-5 Arc, Saab 9-5 Aero
The biggest change for the 2004 Saab 9-5 concerns the exclusion of a V-6 alternative. Instead all models boast a four-cylinder engine and the choice of manual or automatic transmission. The Linear Sedan leaves the lineup and that model only comes in the station wagon body style. A few style changes take place in the Arc and Aero including the addition of optional bi-xenon headlights, a sport wheel package, and ventilated front seats.
True Saab fans like the styling on both the outside and inside. When it comes to the 2004 Saab 9-5, the outer appearance matches what buyers expect from the brand. The front end looks smoother than some of the other lines from the same company. It offers a touch of sporty design as well. Even though the vehicle appears larger than some of its siblings, there is less flesh to the appearance.
The larger size of the 9-5 remains well-balanced throughout the vehicle. Buyers do not find a lot of the extraneous details evident in many Saab vehicles. The wagon body style provides the more impressive of the two and serves to diminish the impact of the competition. Even with less pomp, the 9-5 remains a unique vehicle in both style and design.
Buyers find the interior of the 2004 Saab 9-5 true to traditional brand styling. It boasts an array of strong and attractive materials and ample curves throughout the cockpit. Even with the conventional styling, something seems off inside the cabin. The curves do not blend well with the placement, shape, and design of the controls. It seems as though things sit in spots based on convenience and space, with little thought to symmetry and styling.
That said, the cabin of the 9-5 still functions well enough. It lacks the luxury and styling that might come from another vehicle, but the controls prove easy to use and it offers enough space to provide comfort for all five passengers.
Performance & Handling
The engine of the 2004 Saab 9-5 marks its greatest downfall. With this model year the company drops the V-6 option and makes all of its models strictly four-cylinder. Obviously, this leaves a little to be desired when it comes to acceleration and performance.
That said, the 9-5 still seems exceptional on the road. The engine remains quiet and refined, the handling feels precise, and the 9-5 offers an enjoyable drive.
Compared to other vehicles in the class, the 2004 Saab 9-5 lacks safety features. The brand doesn’t offer some of the same features as its competitors, such as curtain airbags and brake assist. It still possesses much of the standard fare including ABS, head restraints, and a number of airbags. The body seems much safer than some vehicles and this helps makes up for what it lacks.
EPA Fuel Economy
Saab 9-5: 21/29 mpg city/highway
- Roomy interior
- Enjoyable drive
- Solid materials in the cabin
- Decent fuel economy for the class
- Traditional Saab styling
- Great driving position
You Won't Like
- Disorganized interior panel and cockpit
- Less luxury
- Four-cylinder engine
- Fewer safety features
Swedish style and comfort for the everyday driver.
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