2003 SAAB 9-5 Reviews - Page 2 of 4

2003 SAAB 9-5 Linear from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2008
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.2 / 10
Distance when acquired122000 miles
Most recent distance130000 miles
Previous carSAAB 9-5

Summary:

A very sweet ride!

Faults:

Two headlights have blown out. It needs a new key battery. I had one of the oxygen sensors fixed (at dealers cost).

General Comments:

I bought this car as a Carfax Certified One Owner 2003 SAAB 9-5. It is black with tan leather interior. This has been the second 9-5 I have owned; the other was a 1999 9-5 SE. I knew that I might have to deal with some expensive fixes but also knew it would be worth it.

My particular vehicle has 130,000 miles on it and the interior looks brand new. The performance of this vehicle is amazing, and I have found that the reliability of SAAB has improved since GM took control of the whole company in 2003; they had only partially owned SAAB previously. You will be taken aback by the huge amount of room in the back seat. You will also love when you sit in the front seat; you feel like you are in a plane cockpit with everything turned towards you, and with very easy to use features.

If you are willing to pay some repair costs, you will have a car (in the 9-5) where you can pull up at a red light and everybody will just stare. SAAB has the whole package and are premier vehicles. SAAB FOREVER!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th November, 2008

18th Jun 2009, 12:23

That was my review awhile back. Since then I have totaled my poor 9-5 and am forced to find a new vehicle.. sad day, probably going for a Volvo XC70 wagon, But don't worry, I won't be gone from Saab long!

2003 SAAB 9-5 Linear 2.3 liter from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2007
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 2.3 liter Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 4 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.5 / 10
Distance when acquired67000 miles
Most recent distance74500 miles
Previous carFord Mustang

Summary:

Comfortable, but beware of the costs

Faults:

There was a problem with the sub frame before I bought the car, because the previous driver must have driven over a big rock or something; it damaged the swing arm and messed up the alignment. Had to have the swing arm fixed and a new sub frame installed, but the dealership was willing to pay, and I have had no problems pertaining to that since. However: (I don't remember the order in which things went wrong, but I will list them)

Water pump failed - Something like $400+ to fix.

Part of the exhaust failed - made my car sound pretty cool for a while, real badass, but I decided to have it fixed - $550+

Left side high beam controller failed - did you know computers run your lights? - $150 microprocessor.

Serpentine belt - almost $200.

Front windows make a loud sound when I close them.

Rear suspension makes noticeable sounds when I drive over speed bumps.

I currently have a short circuit in my car that is preventing me from using both my back up lights.

General Comments:

I like how comfortable the car is.

I originally had a V6 Mustang, which is a weak car in itself, but it never had any problems at around 50k. However I hated having a convertible, I wanted a stick, I wanted a backseat, I wanted leather, I wanted something that could handle well in the snow, I wanted something nice - hence the Saab 9-5.

Guess you could describe the handling as "forgiving" - as opposed to "stiff" or "firm" like an Audi. I like both because both have their advantages. However don"t mistake it with American standard turning performance. It won't ever jerk you around, as you are in complete control.

Even though the suspension is a little aged, I still think it is superior to American engineering. German suspension is in its own class.

It is a very comfortable car to drive, and despite having damaged parts at times, I have always been able to drive it to the mechanic instead of having it towed. I use an independent master mechanic as opposed to "in training" dealership mechanics. Having a good mechanic is like having a good doctor as far as I'm concerned.

Always have regular maintenance for your Saab, and use the right kind of oil and coolant.

The car is very spacious and comfortable for other passengers. It is a very nice luxury car with good power for a 4 cylinder (185 hp). Granted, I drive a stick.

Car handles very well in the snow. HOWEVER, keep in mind it is not all about the car but the person driving it and the tires on which the car is being driven. Drive safe, drive smart, drive slow.

I get good gas mileage in my Saab. I try to minimize the work being done by the engine by shifting around 2500 rpm; this keeps the acceleration smooth but allows the turbo to kick in appropriately. Everybody has their own thing.

A good family car, good car if you like to drive other people around because it is very comfortable, and it has good power for a 4 cylinder.

I drove my friend's Accord and my Saab definitely had the better kick. Much better handling than a Mustang, better power and almost as spacious as an Accord, way more room than an Audi, better gas mileage than an Audi, more torque than some BMWs, more standard features than a lot of Japanese cars. Beware of the LED screen though; I have heard that if the little lights go out where the clock and radio station are, you cannot have it fixed, only replaced.

Lastly, I remember when I used this site to help me decide if I wanted a Saab and the one problem I noticed most people had was the single cup holder, but seriously it is one awesome cup holder; you have to see it.

The reason I would not buy another is because a lot of the costs for this car are as much as cars in a higher class such as Audi or BMW, and the frequency of problems is about the same, so in the future I will opt for the sightly more expensive cars, and pay the same mechanic fees. Saab has done well, but not well enough by me.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 17th November, 2008

18th Nov 2008, 06:53

I consider Saab's as being in the same class as BMW and Audi.

There may not be as many Saabs around as the others, but all are in the premium class of vehicles.

8th Dec 2008, 07:30

You state that the German engineered suspension is better than American engineered suspension. Just so you know, Saab is Swedish, although owned by GM, so it's actually the Swedish engineered suspension you're so impressed with!

15th Mar 2009, 22:06

Yes, Saab is a Swedish company, but the car was engineered by German Manufacturer Opel/vauxhall back in the mid nineties. The chassis is shared by many GM brands. Just look up "Opel vectra B" or "Saturn L series" and you'll see what I mean.

4th Apr 2009, 09:19

Point taken!

However, although Opel were involved in the development, and the 9-5 is an amalgam of Vectra/Omega, I believe there was also stand alone input from Saabs own engineers, obviously based in Sweden.

Perhaps it's more accurate to describe the suspension as German and Swedish developed!

Also, as the years have gone by and the 9-5's been facelifted etc there's been more input from Saab only engineers.

Average review marks: 6.7 / 10, based on 9 reviews