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Road Test


Saab 9-5 Linear SportEstate

by Ken Walker

31st October, 2007


Saab 9-5 Estate 
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Saab is not the only aircraft manufacturer that diversified into making cars. However, it may well be the most famous, in contemporary terms at least.

However, the cars and the aircraft have now gone their separate ways. The Saab automotive operation is now wholly owned by General Motors. Expect to hear much more of Saab in coming years, as the brand looks to the future with a high degree of confidence.

In the meantime, we get acquainted with one of Saab's larger cars, the 9-5 wagon, which is termed "SportEstate".

The test car is the Saab 9-5 Linear SportEstate, one of 2 versions of Saab's larger sized wagon.

Priced from $62,400 (RRP), the Saab 9-5 Linear SportEstate sits towards the bottom end of the prestige car market.

It competes with numerous European products in a segment that has far too many different models on offer. Little wonder that wagons such as the Alfa Romeo 159 and BMW 3-Series are struggling in the marketplace. Volvo has pulled out of this segment, which is not surprising.

Standard equipment on the current 9-5 Linear SportEstate includes a 136 kW 2.3 litre turbocharged 4 cylinder engine, which produces 280 Nm of torque from 1,800 rpm. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. Other features include alloy wheels (4), leather trim (seats, steering wheel and gear lever), wood veneer dashboard fascia and door trims, heated front seats, cruise control, driver's footrest, adjustable steering wheel (height and reach), automatic climate control, split fold rear seats, rear centre armrest, auto dimming interior rear view mirror, illuminated and lockable glove box with an interesting “cool” feature (down to 8 degrees Celsius), front and rear cup holders, dual dividable sun visors with illuminated, covered vanity mirrors, 2 x 12 volt power outlets, storage compartment in doors, front seat cushion and front seat backs, premium audio system with single in-dash CD player with 7 speakers, electric windows with express down and there is, of course, much more.

Saab 9-5 Estate 

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The 9-5 estate includes Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Traction Control System (TCS) and Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) as standard, just as you would expect. As a digression, Saab's 9-3 convertible rated particularly good in crash testing by America's IIHS earlier this year when they tested numerous convertibles. Not so good was BMW, as their new 3 series convertible was heavily criticised. So, once again, Saab's commitment to safety has been verified by an independent source. The safety aspect, being a primary consideration at Saab, means the 9-5 SportEstate is well equipped with numerous safety features. In addition to the features already mentioned, the Saab 9-5 estate include the Saab Safety Passenger Cell, three point seat belts (all 5 seats), adaptive dual stage front airbags - driver & passenger, front seat-mounted head/thorax side airbags, Saab Active Head Restraints, automatic front seatbelt pre-tensioners and anti-submarining front and rear seats.

Fuel usage (figures supplied by Saab) may concern some, with the urban figure rated at 15.1 litres per 100 kms, although the extra-urban figure of 7.6 litres/100 kms is very pleasing. The combined use rating of 10.4 litres/100 kms is quite acceptable. The wagon has a 75 litre fuel tank.

The Saab Linear SportEstate is a well finished package and, after a few hours behind the wheel, it is easy to see why discerning motorists stay with the marque year after year. Comfort levels are high with quite a lot of features to make the driver's life extremely easy and happy. Of great appeal to me are the leather-faced and electrically heated front seats. The test car was fitted with the optionally available electrically adjustable front seats (which retain the standard leather facing and the heating system). These $2,500 optional seats include a memory settings for 3 drivers. An optional electric sunroof is another popular item at a cost of $2,000. It is very difficult to be uncomfortable in a Saab!

Saab 9-5 Estate 
Click on the image for a larger view

This vehicle is very stable on the road. We were always delighted to be behind the wheel during our time with the Saab.

Overall finish of the Saab wagon is better than good.

The luggage area is easily accessible and the loading process was easy due to the low floor height featuring good capacity.

All team members at Next Car agreed that the Saab 9-5 Linear Sport Estate is a very comfortable and extremely enjoyable drive.

For those wanting a larger prestige wagon, for family or business use should have a serious look at this particular wagon ..... just for the safety aspects alone, although the Saab 9-5 Linear SportEstate offers much more.

Other Saab content: here.

General Motors content: here.

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