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2007 Saab 9-5

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2007 Saab 9-5 Review

A safe but dated choice outshined but newer designs from the competition.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The 2007 Saab 9-5 is overdue for an upgrade. It offers the simple and sedate design and quality typical of its Scandinavian maker, but lacks the upscale nature of other offering in its class. The engine design seems unrefined and dated; the cabin is not good enough for a vehicle in this price range as it doesn’t mask bumps and has too much wind noise. Performance seems acceptable but pales compared to the vaunted rivals in this segment, as does the handling. The 9-5 does not make a bad car option; its dated design just can’t compete in a very competitive car class teeming with outstanding examples of automotive engineering.

The Range

Body Styles: sedan, wagon
Engines: 2.3-liter four-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, five-speed automatic
Models: Saab 9-5, Saab 9-5 Sportcombi

What's New

For 2007, Saab plans an Anniversary Special Edition to add to the 9-5 lineup as a mid-season addition. The Aero Package also replaces last year's Sport Package.

Exterior

The midsize 2007 Saab 9-5 comes as a sedan or a wagon, called the SportCombi. Each of these body styles comes in only one trim. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, heated exterior mirrors, and a moonroof. Most optional gear gets added via packages for the 9-5. The Visibility package adds rear parking assist, bi-xenon HID headlights, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, and rain-sensing wipers. The Aero package adds a lower, sport-tuned chassis and metallic-finish trim.

Interior

The cabin of the 9-5 comes with standard features such as heated leather front and rear seats, power front seats, a cooled glove compartment, dual-zone climate control, full power features, a six-disc in-dash Harman Kardon CD changer, and satellite radio. Sport seats come in the Aero package. Standalone options include rear parking assist, ventilated front seats, a navigation system, and General Motors' OnStar telematics system.

While the cabin of the 2007 Saab 9-5 is not as opulent as others in its class, it offers solid build quality and a decent design. Some of the inferior materials look out of place in a premium car. It offers plenty of passenger room, as well as cargo space. Seating feels rather comfortable and the cabin in general might not seem luxurious, but it offers a respectable amount of comfort and a good deal of standard and optional features.

Performance & Handling

A turbocharged, 2.3-liter four-cylinder rated for 260 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque comes standard on all 9-5s. In fact, it provides the only choice. All models use front drive and a standard five-speed manual transmission. A five-speed automatic with sport and manual modes remains optional for all 9-5s. The turbocharged engine offers a respectable amount of power for this class, but sportier German rivals offer better performance.

As for handling, the 9-5 feels somewhat precise, with a nimble feel thanks to a lower curb weight. The suspension sees improvements that allow the 9-5 to handle twists and turns reasonably well. But the 9-5 doesn’t compare to the class-leading athleticism of some of its vaunted rivals. The ride gets smoothed out some by recent changes, but doesn’t mask bumps or offer the ride serenity a buyer should expect from a premium midsize vehicle. Under hard acceleration, the 9-5 suffers from the scourge of front drive: torque steer. All things considered, the 2007 Saab 9-5 handles decently enough, but it fails to challenge more refined and athletic rivals.

Safety

All 9-5s include standard safety features, such as anti-lock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, active head restraints, and front-seat side airbags that protect the heads and torsos of front occupants. No airbags protect rear occupants. In NHTSA testing, the 9-5 receives five out of five stars for most safety tests and four out of five stars in the remaining tests. In IIHS testing, the 2007 Saab 9-5 earns the highest rating of “Good"" in many of the categories. In a handful of the many different tests, the 9-5 receives the second-highest rating of “Acceptable,"" while two tests—“structure/safety cage"" and “rear passenger head protection""—return the lower rating of “Marginal."" All things considered, the 9-5 proves above average and one of the best in its class when it comes to safety. All government crash tests use the sedan model of the 9-5.

EPA Fuel Economy

Saab 9-5: 18/28 mpg city/highway
Saab 9-5 Sportcombi: 18/28 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Standard features
  • Front-seat support
  • Cargo space
  • Simple controls

You Won't Like

  • Turbo four lacks refinement
  • Occasionally harsh ride
  • Torque steer
  • Wind noise
  • Some subpar interior materials
  • Lacks rear-seat airbags

Sum Up

A safe but dated choice outshined but newer designs from the competition.

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