2000 SAAB 9-5 Aero 2.3T from North America


All it took was a test drive...


Normal for these cars:

HVAC system was non-functional when the car was purchased. This had to be reset by a SAAB specialty shop, blower fan and blend door arms replaced. $950.

Misfire corrected with Direct Ignition Cassette and proper plugs. $250.

Headlamp control relay caused the front lights to go wonky. $20.

Oil pressure switch leak, replaced by shop. $350.

Acts of God stuff:

Lost both front tires on the freeway, they were 12 years old. $1200 for all four.

Large-ish rock went through the radiator resulting in radiator, A/C condenser, hoses, water pump and heater core all being replaced at a shop. $1600.

General Comments:

This car was a demonstration model and was tuned by Hirsch Performance of Switzerland and produces 290 hp and 330 lb/ft torque.

It can go from 0-60 in 5.4 seconds and 40-90 in 2.3 seconds. I don't know its top speed, but I have been over 130 mph and it was just as smooth and quiet as it is at 45.

When the sludge engine replacements were happening, this car was part of a collection and only had 1,200 miles when its crankcase ventilator was replaced with the improved unit.

It is still on the original engine and transmission, but the transmission is getting tired and may need replacement in the less than distant future.

The original invoice was for $59,795 with all of its modifications, but I paid $3,000 from a wholesale lot knowing it had some issues.

I only use full synthetic, high temperature 10w-30 every 5,000 miles and the engine is sludge free and runs perfectly. I also only run premium fuel and routinely get 24 mpg.

Handling is good, but it isn't a race car. It is also very comfortable, but it isn't a limousine.

There is no reason to push this car or drive it hard, it has enough power to move along without much effort.

As I write this in 2020, parts are fairly available and reasonably priced for this car, maintenance is also relatively easy as it is only a four cylinder, front-drive car.

If you want one, do your research, look around, and definitely have a test drive. I bought mine as a cheap "cool" commuter, and I could never sell it. Cheers.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th June, 2020

21st Jun 2020, 02:39

$950 to replace the blower fan and blend door arms sounds a bit spendy, but $350 oil pressure switch leak - wow!!!

Still, I see why people deal with the above as these cars do have a small-but-loyal following for their charm (unlike Volvos).

22nd Jun 2020, 07:31

Doesn't matter what car now - if you need to remove the dashboard or a chunk of it to replace the fan, it's the labour that pushes the price up, not even the cost of the parts. I had to replace a crankshaft angle sensor on a 19-year old car and it was a 4-hour labour cost for that. Googled it, and verified it does take that long to remove the components to reach it, and you can't reach the sensor from below the engine bay either.

2000 SAAB 9-5 Base 2.3t from North America


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.

General Comments:

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