Long-term tests

Saab 9-5: Final report

We say goodbye to saloon. Is it goodbye to the brand, too?

  • The Saab has plenty of personality, plus it’s good to drive and its unique looks turn heads. Practicality is strong and build quality is good: despite a tough life, our car remains rattle-free. There’s so much going for this car, it would be a shame if it was the last Saab – the company has potential if it can only secure its future.
  • As production has stopped, getting hold of a replacement windscreen for our car has proven impossible. We don’t even seem to be able to have routine repairs carried out – matters are unlikely to improve now that Saab GB has gone into administration.

It's time to bid farewell to our Saab 9-5. But quite what will happen to it now remains to be seen... As we went to press, the UK end of the business had just placed itself into administration and while there are hopes for a positive outcome, the future of the famous Swedish firm is hanging in the balance.

This is a tragedy, as our 9-5 has been a popular member of the Auto Express long-term fleet. It is an effortless long-distance cruiser and impressively efficient, too. On long motorway runs we’ve seen 50mpg, while around town it’s still posting a solid 30mpg. When you consider this car is more than five metres long, that’s an impressive return.

In the past eight months we’ve used the 9-5 for every job under the sun, from tackling trips to Ikea transporting flatpack furniture to taking on track days at the Castle Combe circuit in Wiltshire. We even used it to carry out scientific fuel economy runs for our Cost Cutter Special – we managed to reduce consumption by nearly 1mpg simply by running its tyres at Saab’s specially recommended Eco pressure settings.

Since then we’ve taken the car to a drive-in movie and marvelled at its brilliant value for money. Uncertainty over the brand’s future has hit second-hand prices hard, so our year-old example will make a tempting used choice for someone – especially when you consider that it’s so good to drive, has a practical boot and spacious and comfortable leather seats. There’s also loads of equipment, and the solid finish has enabled the car to stand up well to a hard life on test.

What more could you want? Well, the security of knowing the 9-5 can be fixed if it breaks would be a start.

So, what does the future hold? My more optimistic colleagues in the Auto Express team are sure that Saab boss Victor Muller will save the day... it won’t be long before we find out.

Extra Info

“Like Dan, I hope Saab can be saved, as the stylish 9-5 stands out from the executive car herd. However, if the brand does go to the wall, you can expect to pick up a few bargains. Crippling depreciation and the uncertain future of the dealer network mean brave buyers could secure some serious cut-price deals.”Ross pinnock, Road test editor

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