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2008 Saab 9-5

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2008 Saab 9-5 Review

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Those who demand the sensible interior and firm driving feel of a European sport sedan, but also desire a vehicle not shared by every other premium sedan owner, should consider the 2008 Saab 9-5. Roomy, powerful and one of the few sedans in this segment still offering a manual transmission, the Saab 9-5 holds a strong appeal to purists who shun the overly high-tech approach and flashy styling so pervasive in today's luxury sedans. Available as the 9-5 Sedan or 9-5 SportCombi (the wagon), its Swedish heritage serves it well, excelling in the areas of safety, comfort, fuel economy and performance—without breaking the bank.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you think the best things about a European sedan are the powerful yet fuel-efficient turbo engines and the relative exclusivity, you can get both for an affordable price in a 2008 Saab 9-5.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Compared with some other premium European sport sedans, the 2008 Saab 9-5 is neither as premium nor as sporty. The absence of a V6 or V8 engine option may turn off some buyers.

What's Significant About This Car?

New standard features include the OnStar Safety and Security package, rain-sensing wipers, tire pressure monitoring system and leather sport seats.

Driving the 9-5

Driving Impressions Around town, the Saab 9-5 is responsive, nimble and downright quick, benefiting from a turbocharger that delivers its influence politely but firmly. 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. Still, even the sportiest sport sedans rarely get taken to task in such a manner, and so the 9-5 is sure to prove plenty entertaining for most.

Heated/Ventilated Seats
Cool-climate drivers and passengers will appreciate that front and rear heated seats are included as standard equipment. Those further south might be more interested in the optional ventilated front seats.

Dynamic Workload Manager
In driving situations that might demand heightened concentration, the 9-5 will delay dashboard warning messages and intercept incoming telephone calls to prevent distraction.

2008 Saab 9-5 Details
Interior

A black-themed interior matches your choice of Black or Parchment leather seating with black carpet, black door panels and a black instrument panel. Though the 9-5's interior continues to see improvements, traditionalists can rest easy knowing the center console-mounted ignition key tumbler and three-dimensional grid air vents remain. Dark walnut trim gives way to metallic highlights in the Sport Package. A cooled glove box lets you pack lunch and a drink for the road. The 9-5 Sedan features a conspicuously generous trunk, while the SportCombi's cargo floor includes twin recessed aluminum rails that make it easy to secure loads. Most importantly, front and rear passengers are likely to find both the 9-5 Sedan and the SportCombi plenty roomy and comfortable.

Exterior
2008 Saab 9-5 photo

Newly redesigned in 2006, the 9-5 continues for 2008 relatively unchanged. Gone, for the most part, is the automaker's familiar three-port grille in favor of a face that's more aggressive, yet less distinctive. The design changes up front included a new hood, fenders and a lower fascia. Every 9-5 rides on split-spoke 17-inch wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

In addition to a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission, a base Saab 9-5 features leather seating, power moonroof, 200-watt AM/FM audio system with XM Satellite Radio and a six-disc CD changer, automatic dual-zone climate control, tire pressure monitoring system, rain-sensing wipers, OnStar, eight-way power front seats with driver's side-memory, power windows/locks/mirrors, high-pressure headlamp washers, heated front and rear seats and a cooled glove box. Standard safety equipment includes front airbags, head and thorax side-impact airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and electronic stability and traction controls.

Optional Equipment

The Aero Trim includes a more aggressive suspension, sportier seats and metallic interior trim in place of wood. The Visibility Package includes xenon headlamps, auto-dimming power-folding outside mirrors and rear park assist. Additional stand-alone options include a five-speed automatic transmission, ventilated front seats and a DVD-based navigation system that bumps the six-disc CD changer to the trunk.

Under the Hood

The 9-5 is powered by a 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine of 250 horsepower. Five-speed manual models benefit from a handy turbocharger overboost function that increases torque output to 273 pounds-feet in bursts of up to 20 seconds, and helps accelerate the 9-5 from zero to 60 miles per hour in just 6.9 seconds, according to Saab. With the automatic transmission—which features Normal and Sport modes—the same run takes 7.3 seconds.

2.3-liter in-line 4 Turbocharged
260 horsepower @ 5300 rpm
258 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1900-4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/28 (manual), 17/27 (automatic)

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2008 Saab 9-5 Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.4
Out of 10

Based on 413 Ratings for the 1999 - 2009 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.6/10
    Quality
    7.8/10
  • Reliability
    7.4/10
    Performance
    8.3/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.3/10

Great used car to buy

By on Monday, August 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "inexpensive, fun, great mpg"

Cons: "electrical issues"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Bought this car used 6 years back at 115,000 mi. These cars are great to by used because of their "re sale" value. Got mine very inexpensive. The car has its weird electrical glitches and problems but I have never had a major mechanical issue that would sideline the car. I average 31mpg and the car has good pick up. Mine is a 5 speed manual and is a lot of fun."

Great, safe, reliable, responsive car. Well built.

By on Wednesday, July 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 122,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great car."

Cons: "Saab out of business, so fewer parts..."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Great, safe, reliable, responsive car. Well built. Solid. Decent mpg. Get this rather than the 9-3 in the same year. Change oil every 5000 miles with synthetic oil, and be sure to change serpentine belt every 60,000 miles, and you're good to go. Have crankshaft position sensor replaced on time, too. Other than that, we've had zero problems."

7 people out of 9 found this review helpful

One owner near 6 years. Zero mechanical problems

By on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 78,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Solid power. ++ Gas Mileage. ++ Reliability"

Cons: "Creature comforts a bit light for price of car"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Summary review says it all. A great road car that carried 4 adults numerous times for week long vacations. Gas mileage average highway 29+ and all around 26+."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Decent vehicle for the money

By on Sunday, March 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 103,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "reasonable priced with good reliabilty"

Cons: "bit noisy drive"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"Have owned 3 95's and always found them to be a good value, reliable and reasonable appointed. Not the most fun or comfortable car to drive....certainly will not garner a second look (unless from Saab enthusiast) on the road but will be priced well below vehicles with similar options and reliability history."

12 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Love My Saab

By on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 99,330

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, comfy, looks great"

Cons: "Costly to repair"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I don't want to own a different make than Saab ... I love the feel, drive, look -- everything is me!"

7 people out of 14 found this review helpful

Best owned by a mechanic

By on Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 181,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Price, milage, power, speed, steering, suspension,"

Cons: "Maintenence... it's a saab, looks"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"I love this car. I purchased it at around 176xxx for $1,800 a year or so ago. It is very responsive and squeals tires through 2nd gear and sometimes a glimpse of 3rd. Ever since I bought it though, I replaced: the radiator, drivers side control arm, air filter, Direct ignition cassette, clutch, slave cylinder, fuel pump, starter relay, Turbo by-pass valve, Crankshaft position sensor, Valve cover gasket, struts, and need a new exhaust system pretty badly. But I knew I would run into a generous amount of work when I bought it considering the miles and lack of mechanical history. This car does me good, sounds good, drives good, the stopping power is amazing on it, nice tight steering, power, response, I get approx 23.5 MPG averaged over interstate and town driving. Generally get around 26-27 interstate and `18-24 in town.(depending on how one drives) I plan on keeping this car when the engine blows and replacing it with a 2010 Saab 9-5 aero v-tech 2.3L V4. There isn't much to customize aftermarket wise, but what you can replace on it, makes it unique."

19 people out of 32 found this review helpful

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