1998 SAAB 9-5 SE 2.3 LPT from UK and Ireland


A very poor performer. A huge disappointment


Climate control system doors failed, only allowing air to circulate on the screen and tempetature could not be controlled. - £130 to have fixed.

Bad petrolish smell in the cabin. - £30 to have put right (a simple job)

Both SID units unreadable. (a common Saab 9-5 fault)

There is a creamy substance on the bottom of the oil dip stick whenever it is taken out to check the oil level.

When slowing from speeds over 70mph, there is a loudish rumbling sound and hard vibrations through the pedal which seem to come from the front left wheel. (rather concerning)

CD player jumps quite a bit.

Gearbox is very rough and temperamental. The gear stick will pop out if you don't do what it wants - particularly in reverse.

General Comments:

To sum my Saab 9-5 up - I don't like driving it and can't wait till the journey ends and General Motors did a lot of damage to Saab's reputation by the way they built these 9-5s. (cost cutting). I was really excited about getting it, but the car has turned into a huge disappointment.

I took it on a trip to Europe on the weekend and it cruised comfortably and quietly at speeds up to 90mph (150km/h), but it's handling and performance were very poor. it handled the roads and bends more like a VW combi and the power more like a 1.8diesel car. It was quite embarassing having a Volvo 740 go flying past me up a hill.

On a positive side however, the fuel economy was brilliant - 7.8/100km (7.8l/60miles) And it's 85L petrol tank allows an 800km (500mile plus) range.

Saab 9-5s from 1998 up until 2002 have a fault with the oil system. Basically the engine's breathing system was poorly designed, leading to carbon buildups on the oil seive which leads to the sludge buildup that kills the engines if FULLY SYNTHETIC oils are not used. Some clever mechanics have developed a modification to the 9-5's breathing systems that fixes this problem. It costs about £300 to have this done.

The cabin is very spacious and comfortable with plenty of lighting in all places and the car is a nice one to look at. If only it was as nice to drive as the Saab 900 that it replaced.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 20th December, 2006

18th Sep 2007, 23:54

How excatly did you get that pretrol smell out of the cabin? I have the same problem and no amount of cleaning has gotten rid of it.

21st Aug 2008, 05:00

It's a 75 liter tank - not 85, there is 62 miles in 100km and you also mention that a 20 year old 740 Volvo overtook you uphill? Was it a SAAB you were driving or a Nissan Micra?

1998 SAAB 9-5 SE 2.0 LPT from UK and Ireland


Nice if you like that kind of thing, personally I don't


No faults apart from the battery in the key expiring necessitating a trip to the dealer to have the alarm rest.

General Comments:

My wife and I had a car each, she had a '95 Rover 800 Vitesse sport which was fast, but fragile. I had an '85 Saab 900 S16 which would take a kicking and keep on ticking. So when I changed jobs recently I didn't need a car for commuting so we opted a share car, so we got rid of my 900 and PX'd the Rover. We looked at a wide selection of cars including a Saab 93 SE and Alfa 156 Selespeed. I was really smitten with the Alfa as it was comfortable, fast and above it had charisma. However we wound up with a '98 Saab 95 and I'm sorry to say it is a major disappointment. It isn't unreliable, it always starts first turn of the key and it doesn't squeak, clonk or rattle my gripes are mainly due to disappointment. The S16 was more maneuverable due to the short wheel base and could be hustled along B roads with aplomb, the S16 was also very entertaining, the engine's power delivery was almost like a tuned 2 stroke i.e. gutless below 3000 rpm, get the revs above 3000 rpm and all hell breaks loose. The 95 is nothing like that and I find with 95 if you don't really nail the accelerator pedal nothing happens. Thanks to the rather user unfriendly gear change it's very easy to bog the engine down and mine is fitted with a stage 1 kit! A glaring omission is the boost gauge. The Saab 95 maybe as safe as houses, but it's as exciting as watching rust form.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 29th June, 2003