You have to be realistic, these cars do have some problems with the quality of finish, it is front wheel drive and the traction control will go nuts if you drive it like a maniac round a race track (like all the motoring journalists do). However in real life situations the traction control problems are not much different to a rear wheel drive car.
These cars are good value for money if you buy them when they are one year old. What other car can you buy that will transport a family of five, look okay for business use and give you this kind of performance for this price?
I like the fact that all the badge driven 'wannabes' won't buy this car, you know the type - with their base model german cars that sit in the outside lane all day.
Ticks all the right boxes - Fun to drive, good value for money and you won't look like a prat.
"Any colour but green" I said. "It's graphite" I was told. Graphite green it turned out. Not a good start. Nor was the gearbox bearing failure that sounded like a 747 on take-off at 20,000 miles. But nearly 4 on and now with 155,000 miles on the clock, my 2.2TiD Saab has been a reliable, comfortable mile-muncher on the 170 mile M6/A14 drive to my office - albeit that the MPG has drifted down from 42 to 37 in recent months. The old 2.2 TiD unit is underpowered; the newer 1.9 with 30 Bhp more is a much better power unit. I still find the cabin a bit too grey and a cheap looking but it is well put together. The driving position is great and I personally find the handling excellent. My Saab dealers have been great too. Would I buy another? No. Not because there's anything wrong with the car, I just fancy a change!
I recently sold my 02 reg 9-5 Vector tid estate with some regret. I had it from 17000 miles to 60000 and it never missed a beat. This car was 100% reliable and within the three year warantee no claims were necessary. Talking to other 9-5 owners this seems to be a common experience and I can only conclude that earlier reviewers were exceptionally unlucky. I generally got 40-42 mpg which was good for a car of this size. Low rev torque was superb and I really miss that on my replacement 9-3 Sportwagon. I strongly recommend this car especially to anyone who has long distances to cover.
After owning an Impreza turbo and a Celica GT-4, I decided I needed something cheaper to insure, practical and, given Saabs general reputation, reliable. I came across a 2002 9-5 estate 2.0t SE with all the extras, an odd choice for a 20 year old.
I cannot describe how pleased I am with this car, it is fantastic. I am far from the steadiest driver and I travel upwards of 300 miles a week, not on motorways, but on twisty B-roads. Given this my Saab has NEVER let me down, apart from blowing a coolant hose (20 quid and 10 minutes later it was fixed). That's not bad for a car that has now done 172,000 miles!
My only grumbles are the rate it goes through front tyres and the fuel consumption. I have never exceeded more than 22mpg, apart from on long motorway cruising. But it is probably the symptom of a heavy right foot.
I also consider the mid-range power of the car to be unrivalled: standard output is 150bhp, but mine has been chipped by Abbot Racing, taking power up to 220bhp and a nice lump of torque, perfect for towing motorbikes! Handling is good for the type of car, but compared to hot hatches and such like it dosent really compare.
Standard equipment levels are very generous on the SE, but mine has extras including sat-nav, multi cd changer, a removable roof/bike rack and many more.
I would definately, absolutely recommend this car to anyone considering it. I will definately buy another: the new 9-5 Aero looks tempting.
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