Saab 9-5 Vector 2.0T Review: Swede revival

Saab 9-5 Vector 2.0T Review: Swede revival

OneShift Editorial Team
OneShift Editorial Team
09 Feb 2011
What we like:
pros
Aircraft-inspired cabin
pros
comprehensively equipped
pros
strong mid-range punch
pros
big boot
pros
spacious interior
What we dislike:
cons
Gruff engine note
cons
uninspiring handling
cons
busy ride
cons
lost some of the character of old Saabs


Inside, the overall cabin architecture is typical Saab but overall build quality and perceived luxury have taken quantum leaps when compared to the previous model. The materials used feel more high quality than before and the silver accents on the dash do lift the overall dark cabin ambience a tad.

An aircraft cockpit style driving environment is offered once again while there are only a small number of switchgear that is shared with Opel and GM models, one of which is the steering wheel. The driving position is spot on but the front seats somehow don't feel as comfy and cushy as those in older Saab models.

Despite the presence of some GM interior fittings, the 9-5's interior feel Saab enough thanks to neat aviation inspired design details like the altimeter look for the electronic speedo readout within the analogue speedometer, the Night Panel button, the green lighting for the instruments and the needles and so on.

Behind the driver, rear passengers will enjoy above average amounts of knee and headroom as the 9-5 offers an even more spacious cabin than the likes of the 5 Series.

The 9-5 generous rear overhangs equate to a gargantuan sized boot that offers a highly useable load area. Thankfully, the boot incorporates a rather simple but clever load separator system so that smaller items can be separated from big and heavy ones.

Even in base 2.0T Vector form, the 9-5 is pretty much lavishly equipped with luxuries and standard kit. These include HID headlamps, cruise control, a head-up display, factory stereo, keyless operation (which means no more inserting the ignition key behind the gear lever - a Saab character), a plethora of airbags and so on.

All in all, the new 9-5 is a quantum leap over its 13 year-old predecessor but It'll be hard for it to shine or stand out in any key area thanks to superb competitors like the 5 Series and E-Class but what the Saab can offer in spades that the German cars can't is character and Scandinavian charm despite the fact that the new car has lost some of the Saab quirkiness (like the ignition barrel between the front seats) from older models.

Credits: Story and Photos by Raymond Lai

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