2000 SAAB 9-5 Base 2.3t
Love the Saab - Hate the repairs
Like the last reviewer, I was looking for a good bargain on a car. I wanted to go with something European. Ever since the 80s, I have had a soft spot for Saabs. While looking around, I found a Saab for $2800 that I was able to get negotiated down to $2600. What I liked about it is that it looked much newer than being a 2000 model, and it had such low miles. My thinking was that a Saab with only 86,000 miles should be relatively maintenance free for quite a while.
The first problems I had immediately were the rough idle and the blend door issue with the A/C. The pixels were partially out on the display. Like another reviewer has stated, finding local mechanics that will work on a Saab isn't easy, and the ones that do, want to charge astronomical prices. The Saab isn't a breeze to work on, but it's possible. If you are looking to buy one, be prepared to spend money or do your own maintenance.
The major issue that these cars suffer from is the oil sludge issue. As this is a major flaw that can take out an engine, I decided to tackle it. Well, I decided to tackle it after getting a quote of $450.00 to have someone else do it. I took about two days to do it, but finally pulled off the oil pan. The good news was no sludge.
The next issue was the Saab started overheating. Normally, the first thing you would do is pull out the thermostat. It's approximately a fifteen minute job on most cars. The Saab was a two hour process. It's the same basic design, but instead of putting the thermostat on top and easily accessible, it is put on the side and required me to straddle the engine after removing some parts to gain access. The positive is that it was the equivalent of two hours of straight yoga. Even though the thermostat did fix the overheating issue, I still had to replace the thermostat at the cost of $350. It turned out that the heater bypass valve was shot and was spewing water from engine bay. I got another quote of $350. I found the part for $25, and after another two hours of straddling the engine, I fixed the issue.
The next issue was the weird, plastic burning smell coming from the engine bay. Turns out that some of the hoses were shot. These were part of the update to the breather kit that's supposed to help with the sludge issue. I am still trying to figure this one out and may give up and let a shop handle it.
The A/C mysteriously went completely out at the beginning of summer. It's not a freon issue and it probably needs a new compressor.
The alarm would go off randomly because the alarm battery is dying. I just pulled the fuse.
I have never been able to chase down the rough idle. It's a common problem posted on the forums, but I haven't ever found a solid answer. It goes away upon hitting the gas. I did replace the air filter and installed new vacuum lines.
The sun roof became stuck. I got online and read where someone fixed the issue by removing the metal blocker. I found that by simply removing the broken arm, it works.
The plastic burlwood has become separated from the dash. The hazard switch has fallen into the console. The headliner has started separating in the back.
Reliability is obviously a negative on this car. Beyond those issues, the 9-5 is a nice car. Mine is a base model, which basically means that it isn't an Aero. As standard equipment it comes with leather, heated seats, cooling fans in the seats, sunroof/moonroof, climate control, turbo, sport and winter modes, Harman Kardon speaker system, power seats, power steering, alarm system. Basically, almost any option you could want during the year 2000.
The car drives wonderfully on the open road. Even being the base model, it is sporty to drive. I like driving in Sport more, which shifts the auto trans more akin to a manual and gives it a little more pep. This was my first auto in almost thirty years, so I appreciated the feature.
In terms of looks, it looks newer than a 2000 model. It has nice lines. Mine is the sedan, and though it doesn't seem like it, it's actually almost as long as the station wagon model. The trunk is huge. I could probably stick a Miata in the trunk if I tried.
I also own a 1997 Wrangler. It has 230,000 miles on it. It is a far more reliable car than the Saab. I tried selling the Saab a few months ago. You can't give these things away. Instead I have decided to keep it as a third vehicle. Basically, I love the car but hate the repairs.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 24th November, 2015