1999 SAAB 9-5 2.3 turbo


Stay away from this car


This car was nothing, but trouble. At the 90,000 mile service mark, both the transmission and main oil gaskets needed to be replaced. The struts and shocks soon went, as well. Then came a myriad of electronic problems. The key sensor went out, so the ignition needs to be turned several times before the car started. Then the alternator went bad. Soon the water pump needed to be replaced, and along with that a variety of hoses. Then the brake power boost unit needed to be replaced. The car started stuttering on acceleration, and no remedy could be found for that problem. Goodbye, Saab.

General Comments:

I should have known better than to buy a SAAB. A friend of mine had own and it was a nightmare to get repaired. I was lured by the power of the 2.3 turbo and the relative luxuriousness of the auto. The problems with reliability and expense of repair never offset the benefits.

In addition to the problems with reliability and expense, general characteristics of this car that make it a poor choice. Gas mileage is lousy. The steering is very squirrelly (something that shows up in reviews of newer models, as well), making taking off in the rain an unpredictable adventure. Last, but not least, despite all the luxuries, the absence of any kind of useful cup-holder is an annoying inconvenience.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 20th January, 2008

1999 SAAB 9-5 SE 4 cylinder


I feel like I've made a BIG mistake..


My wife and I purchased our 1999 Saab 9-5 SE after not having owned a car for about a year. I live in San Francisco, so owning a car is a nightmare - parking costs your soul, you get most places faster by walking, and the hills cause a lot of extra maintenance needs.

BUT, I recently went into real estate, and needed a car for driving around and what not. I also needed a car that was stylish" to drive clients around in and to impress them. Problem was, we only have about $200 a month to spend on the thing.

So, we find this 99 Saab 9-5 for $4700. Body is in great shape, interior is nice, it has butt warmers in the seats, and a space-age cup holder. We're sold. Of course, the guy who sold it to us was "in a real big hurry" to get rid of it, and when asked about the mechanics of the car (any quirks it may have had as an older vehicle), he mysteriously "didn't know anything about cars."

Less than a month later, the thing is losing coolant like a cement truck at a construction site. I take it to the mechanic, and *AS I"M PULLING IN* to the garage!! Steam starts billowing from under the hood. The problem? It's a hose. Quick fix. Should be pretty cheap...not so fast. It's a Saab. Therefore, the hose is not a hose, its one hose in an entire hose assembly which cannot be individually purchased without the rest of the assembly, which is $350.00. Total repair was like $600.

The rear window doesn't roll down. A fog lamp fixture fell off entirely. The emblems are fully paint less. When my wife first pushed the emergency flashers? The button, cradle and all, fell irretrievably into the dashboard, where it sits to this day. So much for impressing clients with the big hole in my dash. Rear passenger speaker is blown and rattles insanely with every bass drum kick.

Now, a few days after the great hose repair, we have A/C error codes on every start up (which, half the time when the A/C diagnostic starts, it shuts the engine back off) and smell gasoline in the cabin every time we fill the tank all the way up.

In another odd twist, every time I was the car, the front right wheel well billows steam like crazy. None of the other wheels/brakes do this; but the one appears to get very hot while driving, which I have never heard of before. I am ignoring the problem because I am afraid of repair costs.

I have been having anxiety nightmares about calling the shop and having them tell me it's $2000, or that I get the car back and the problem isn't fixed, and I have to take it back again. These are real nightmares, I'm not just saying it.

But, all that said, when it's all washed and waxed and I'm driving it down the street, I do look very good to unsuspecting bystanders.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 28th November, 2007

19th Nov 2009, 04:48

I agree with you for the most part. You an honest Saab owner, in that you admit they look nice on the outside (& even perform well when they're working properly), but the car definitely has some problems. I've got the same one, haven't hit 100,000k on it yet so no major problems yet (besides a spark plug malfunction which cost me $250 to fix). But I appreciate your review, cause after my experience I just think people should think through what kind of cars they should buy. Well done.