2004 SAAB 9-5 Arc 2.3 turbo from North America
Unique Excellence that is affordable
Driverside front corner bumper needed to be aligned with body (loose screw).
Two bulbs in the rear cyclops tail light replaced.
Curious, vibration at idle, however was reassured that the turbo causes a bit of a vibration when idle, weather (cold and hot) have a significant effect.
Slight fade on exterior black trim, touched up with some nu-black and it looks great.
My 04 Arc is a blast to drive. It has decent pull off the line, and excellent passing power on the freeway, 60-80 mph is a flash. I think the Sentronic paddle shift transmission is really fun, but you can drive in standard, sport mode, or with the paddles.
The car cruises great. The road noise is a bit above what a luxury tourer should be, just watch the aggressiveness of the tires you choose.
The suspension is also excellent in my book, it doesn't "boat" over wallows in the freeway like some luxury cruisers. And sharp dips, potholes, road debris are soaked up with a solid thump (the reassuring kind that demonstrate solid build) This is not a Cadillac, but they don't compare it to jets for nothing.
The interior is nice, not luxury league, just a bit too much plastic, but I like it. The leather seats are also very good, plenty of power adjustment and manual lumbar control.
The sound system is very good. But I only have a single CD. I am considering the additional trunk changer. And the dash is all kinds of info. Has a cool "night panel" button that turns off all illumination except to the speedometer. An odd thing, until you make a long night journey.
Heated seats are excellent with 0-4 settings. Keeps the buns nice and toasty. Auto wipers keep both hands on the wheel in off and on downpours, also great for clearing the random splashes from passing semi-trucks.
Wish it could be AWD however the front wheel drive system is great for the northwest. I have not had the chance for ice or snow, but have a gut feeling my Arc will do great. There is some torque steer and wheel spin on quick take offs, but once you get used to the car and if you know how to drive it, not a problem.
I seriously love this car, it is so unique. Saab built great cars. I will be interesting to see the 100% built GM Saabs. I know my model year had a little influence from GM, but not 100% as the new models.
Take a decent test drive, say a good 20 min. and you will fall in love. And to top it all off a very safe car. One of the few that comes standard with side airbags and steel beams in the doors.
And if you have the rear parking sensors they are very useful in downtown parallel parking.
Cheers from Oregon.
Let me know what you think and I will also update as the miles pile on.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 24th March, 2007
Update on the saab. Turns out the vibration felt at idle was the fault of two weak motor mounts, replaced under warranty. I love our Saab dealership, they go out of their way, they goofed one time and made up for it with a free oil service, which is not inexpensive.
Cannot put this car down for any reason. However my only complaint is that when cruising at 65 I have to check myself because it feels like 30, wish I could drive this beauty full out.
Tire noise granted can be a bit intrusive, but it's livable. Really like the looks of where they are going with the new body style, dealership has already offered to buy back the saab if I ever want to up grade to an 08' really really considering it, but maybe I can live with two saabs... Cannot praise this drivers car enough.
I bought a 2004 9.5 Arc Wagon, brand new, in August of 2004.
Now, at 7 years old ---- it's low mileage (31K or 32K) and it has not had even one significant problem. Very reliable car ---- I hope that continues.
I keep the oil changed, and also changed the long life coolant at 5 years, and have done other recommended maintenance.
Fully loaded, the car still delivers 30 MPG or more on the highway ---- pretty good for a medium sized wagon with good power. I don't mind springing for the high octane gas when I get turbo power and good fuel efficiency.
The paint looks new --- fit and finish on this car is among the best of any I've ever owned.
My big concern now is that if Saab goes out of business, parts will be hard to find and resale will plummet.
Saab needs to deliver an entry level hatchback for around $20,000 U.S. dollars. A simple, basic four cylinder (non-turbo) and maybe retro looking to Saabs from the 1960s. Make it plain, but dependable/reliable. Saab went too far up-market, and aside from the Saabaru 9-2, never offered an affordable car to get young buyer in the Saab family. Instead, some of the younger people bought older Saabs that weren't particularly well maintained ---- had bad experiences ---- and that hurt the brand.