We use cookies on whatcar.com to improve your browsing experience and to provide you with relevant content and advertising, by continuing to use our site you agree to this. Please see our privacy policy for more details. Continue

What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For The 9-5's boot is massive, its cabin is spacious and the car delivers a smooth and refined ride

Against It's not as entertaining to drive as its rivals, and the bigger engines are too powerful for the chassis

Verdict It's a good all-rounder - and cheap, too - which makes it a cracking used buy

Go for… 2.3-litre turbocharged petrol

Avoid… Aero HOT

Saab 9-5 Estate
  • 1. The 9-5 estate is one of the few estates with a 'proper' load area, and is more than a 'lifestyle' load-carrier
  • 2. The cabin is roomy, comfortable and well built
  • 3. The electrics cause the biggest number of problems, so check all the electrical kit works
  • 4. Suspension faults are a worry, so check for irregular squeaks from underneath and uneven tyre wear
  • 5. The HOT Aero is too expensive and the front-wheel drive chassis has trouble coping with the power
advertisement

Saab 9-5 Estate full review with expert trade views

Estates aren’t always as versatile as they should be, because the big boot was thrown on as an afterthought. The 9-5 estate is an exception. It’s one of the few that provides a proper load area, and, as such, it’s more than just a ‘lifestyle’ load-carrier.

The cabin is roomy, comfortable and well built, too. However, it can’t match its German rivals for quality or class.

True, it isn’t as sharp to drive as the equivalent BMW or Mercedes, but that doesn’t stop it being very capable in its own right. The handling is perfectly acceptable, the ride is terrific and refinement is up there with the best in the class.

Its biggest strength, though, is value for money. The 9-5 is a good deal cheaper to buy than its German competition, and it won’t cost the earth to run.

Trade view

John Owen

Big load-lugger - good value, avoid Aero variant. Diesel a good option

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

A face-lift in 2006 brought a new engine, the 1.9-litre turbodiesel. It’s a peach, giving 150bhp and fuel economy of 44.1mpg. It’s refined, too.

The chances are you’ll be looking at an older car, though. If so, we’d recommend the 185bhp 2.3-litre petrol engine. The diesels in the earlier cars weren’t much cop and are too expensive.

The 2.0-litre petrol is our favourite in the 9-5 saloon, but the estate really benefits from the 2.3’s extra oomph. You can also buy the 2.3 with a meatier turbo that gives 220bhp, but it isn’t that much quicker, and the extra power puts a dent in your fuel economy.

The HOT Aero gives 250bhp, but it’s too expensive, and the front-wheel drive chassis has trouble coping with the power.

Go for the basic Linear trim to keep costs down. You’ll still get traction control, climate control, alloys, a CD player and four electric windows.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Horrible dash. Very solid car that feels safe. It's just ugly

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing

Just as the 9-5 saloon is one of the cheaper executive cars, the estate is one of the more inexpensive premium wagons. It was less to buy from new than its BMW and Mercedes rivals, and it didn’t hold its value as well, so the earliest used examples can be had for next to nothing.

Insurance costs shouldn’t be too bad, either. All variants except the HOT Aero range from groups 13-15 for insurance, with our favourite 2.3-litre engine sitting in group 14. The HOT 9-5 estate is in group 17, which is yet another reason to give it a miss.

Our favourite engine is among the most frugal in the range of petrol-powered 9-5s – it’s only 0.4mpg behind the leanest 2.0-litre. Whichever powerplant you choose, though, your fuel costs will be broadly similar to the equivalent E-Class or 5 Series. The same goes for servicing costs, because all three companies charge similar rates for maintenance work.

Trade view

John Owen

Big load-lugger - good value, avoid Aero variant. Diesel a good option

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The 9-5’s reliability record makes fairly depressing reading, according to figures provided by Warranty Direct, especially when you consider that Saab is supposed to be a prestige brand. Our last reliability survey found the 9-5 to be one of the most troublesome cars you can buy, so spend some time on finding a good one.

The electrics cause the biggest number of problems, so play with all the switches and make sure everything works properly before you hand over any cash. Also, check the service history for any signs of past problems. Suspension faults are the second-biggest area of complaint, so check for irregular squeaks from underneath, and uneven tyre wear.

If something does go wrong, however, your repair bills should be slightly cheaper than average. Saab’s franchised dealers charge very reasonable hourly labour rates, and BMW and Merc owners will pay a lot more for their work.

Trade view

Kurtis Williams

Horrible dash. Very solid car that feels safe. It's just ugly

Kurtis Williams
Buyer,
Lex Vehicle Leasing
Haymarket Logo What Car? is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media
What Car? is part of Haymarket Motoring
© Haymarket Media Group 2014