2001 Saab 9-5 Review

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Eric Peters Eric Peters Editor
August 27, 2001
Family Matters: Wagons Back? by Carol Traeger (5/20/2001)
You review the 9-5 Wagon

It's weird how Saab has sort of fallen off the edge of the world — in terms of visibility and that all-important mojo-thing we call "trendiness." Trendiness is what sells status cars in the $30,000 and up range. Objective considerations, of course, play a part — but a great deal of what you are paying for is the perceived coolness of the vehicle. On that score, Saab has definitely slipped a little. It wasn't always so.

Back in the late 1980s, Saabs were right up there with BMWs as one of the "in" import cars to have the minute you landed that first decent white-collar job or made it through grad school. (The old 900 convertible turbo was especially revered by prosperous twenty- and thirtysomethings.)

Today, Saabs are still around — but they're clearly not as trendy, as "in" as they once were. This is too bad because a great many people who might find they actually like Saabs if they took the time to test drive one will never know because they don't even bother to check them out.

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Iconoclasm on deck

Saabs still have their charming, individualistic quirkiness — embodied by such features as the console-mounted ignition switch and the "night panel" feature that lets you turn off almost all the gauges and readouts. Their turbocharged engines are just a little peaky — able to skitter the front wheels just a tick if you really lean on it. And the seats are definitely different — not uncomfortable or anything, but they are definitely different. And in today's marketplace, where so many cars look, behave and feel the same way, a little iconoclasm is by no means a terrible thing. Is it?

Consider the current 9-5 wagon. It is an appealing vehicle that should be looked over by anyone considering the purchase of an upmarket sport wagon such as the BMW 5-Series, or Mercedes E-Class wagon. The 9-5 wagon is also a direct competitor of the Volvo V70 wagon.

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