2009 Saab 9-5 Wagon
Avg. Price Paid:$11,426 - $11,948
Original MSRP: $41,675 - $43,270
MPG: 17 City / 27 Hwy
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2009 Saab 9-5 Wagon Performance

This performance review was written when the 2009 Saab 9-5 Wagon was new.

Reviewers agree the front-wheel drive 9-5 SportCombi is plenty powerful, but find its handling dynamics aren't up to par with its sportier competitors.

  • "The 9-5 has smooth power and an engaging Euro feel. But it's too old to be competitive in its segment." -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

Both the Saab 9-5 SportCombi 2.3T and Aero feature a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 260-horsepower at 5,300 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque at 1,900 to 4,000 rpm. Test drivers find that both trims offer plenty of power, but suffer a bit of turbolag. What's more, they prefer the SportCombi's standard five-speed automatic transmission over its optional five-speed manual.

Though the EPA has not yet rated the '09 9-5 SportCombi's city/highway fuel economy, the highly-similar 2008 model nets 18/28 mpg with the manual transmission and 17/26 mpg with the automatic.

  • "Acceleration is surprisingly strong, given an engine that's small relative to those in other premium midsize cars, and reasonably linear, given that it's turbocharged. Throttle response is delayed by moderate turbo lag, however, and by the automatic transmission's occasionally slow downshifts. Manual transmission 9-5s suffer from long throws and imprecise clutch action." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Once the turbo kicks in, the 2.3-liter delivers plenty of power for this class, although it's not particularly refined. Unlike most sport sedans and wagons, the 2009 Saab 9-5 performs best with the automatic transmission, as its shorter gearing is better suited to the turbo engine's unusual power band." -- Edmunds
  • "Most buyers will likely be happier with the ... five-speed automatic, which includes a manual shift function." -- Forbes

Handling and Braking

Test drives reveal that the Saab 9-5 SportCombi handles relatively well, but some auto writers complain of torque steer and firm suspension settings. For sharper handling, consider the BMW 5 Series Wagon.  

  • "Predictably, the suspension hasn't been tuned so tightly that highway ride is anything less than pleasant. Only when you get that rare opportunity to really push the 9-5 through a few good twists and turns does the nose-heavy, front-wheel-drive 9-5 reveal its limitations." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "We judge the 9-5's ride firmer than necessary. Sharp freeway expansion joints register with a jolt, though there's little float or wallow at highway speeds.  ... Braking is swift, powerful, and consistent." -- Consumer Guide
  • "[A]lthough the 9-5's relatively low curb weight gives it a nimble feel around corners, the 9-5 still suffers from torque steer under hard acceleration. Overall, this Saab just can't quite match the sharpness of some of its younger, peppier rivals." -- Edmunds
  • "Some fellow journalists complained that the power steering on the Saab 9-5 SportCombi was 'overboosted,' meaning that it tended to exaggerate the driver's steering input. But I demur. When driven vigorously, but sensibly, the car behaved sensibly." -- Washington Post
  • "Those willing to accept a more-edgy ride in exchange for sharper cornering prowess will want to opt for the Saab 9-5 Aero SportCombi, which features a sport-tuned chassis." -- Forbes
Review Last Updated: 3/23/10

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