2009 Saab 9-5 Sedan Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Saab 9-5 Sedan

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Saab 9-5 Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.3 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 260 hp @ 5300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2009 Saab 9-5

  • The 2009 Saab 9-5 sedan and wagon will still please those who have an affinity for classic Saab styling. But in terms of performance, luxury and overall refinement, the 9-5 is outclassed by newer competitors.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Substantial standard features list, exceptionally supportive front seats, simple controls.

  • Cons

    Aging design inside and out, turbocharged four-cylinder lacks refinement, ride can be harsh, no all-wheel drive offered, low-grade interior materials, no rear-seat curtain airbags.

  • What's New for 2009

    There are no significant changes to the Saab 9-5 for 2009.

Full 2009 Saab 9-5 Review

What's New for 2009

There are no significant changes to the Saab 9-5 for 2009.


In a time when many manufacturers are doing everything they can to keep a competitive edge in the midsize luxury sedan segment, it's almost impossible to believe that the 2009 Saab 9-5 is still, for the most part, the same car that debuted 10 years ago. Although driving dynamics have improved and the styling has been tweaked over the course of this decade-old generation, the Saab 9-5 remains one of the oldest cars on the market.

Saab offers the 9-5 as both a sedan and a wagon, something not all automakers do these days. The 9-5 also boasts a comfortable interior and comes standard with an impressive number of features. But these attributes are dwarfed by the car's list of negatives, which include a lackluster powertrain and a notable lack of refinement and new technology features.

In this tough segment, the Saab 9-5 is up against sedans like the Acura TL, the Infiniti G35 and the Lexus ES 350, as well as wagons and small crossovers such as the Acura RDX and Volkswagen Passat. With lots of standard features, the 2009 Saab 9-5 provides compelling value, but so do its competitors. Even the 9-5's less expensive sibling, the 9-3, is a better choice. There's just no getting around the fact that the 2009 Saab 9-5 is well past its sell-by date; keep in mind, though, that a complete redesign is expected next year.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Saab 9-5 is available as a wagon (called the SportCombi) or a midsize sedan. Each is available in two trim levels: the 2.3T base model and the sportier, more powerful Aero version. The 2.3T features standard 17-inch wheels; a sunroof; leather upholstery; eight-way front sport seats; a tilt/telescoping steering wheel; heated front and rear seats; dual-zone automatic climate control; a cooled glovebox; rain-sensing windshield wipers; and a nine-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with an in-dash six-CD changer, satellite radio and an auxiliary audio jack. The largely similar Aero adds a sport-tuned suspension, different 17-inch wheels, special interior trim and two-tone leather seats.

Major options include the Visibility Package, which adds xenon headlights, rear parking assist and outside mirrors that are power-folding and auto-dimming. Stand-alone options include cooled front seats and a touchscreen navigation system. The standard in-dash CD changer is unavailable with the navigation system -- buyers must choose whether to keep the satellite radio or instead opt for a trunk-mounted CD changer at no cost.

Powertrains and Performance

All 9-5 sedans and SportCombi wagons have front-wheel drive and are powered by a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-4 that makes 260 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard and a five-speed manual is optional. And although many cars in this class offer six-speed versions of both types of transmission, the Saab's EPA fuel economy is still respectable; the automatic 2.3T model gets 17 mpg city/26 mpg city and 20 mpg combined.


Standard safety equipment on the 2009 Saab 9-5 includes antilock disc brakes, stability control, traction control, active head restraints and front-seat side airbags that provide head and torso protection. Side curtain airbags that protect rear occupants are not available. The OnStar communications system is standard.

In government crash tests, the 9-5 earned a perfect five stars for driver and front passenger protection in frontal impacts. In the side-impact test, the 9-5 received five stars for front passenger protection and four stars for rear protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 9-5 the best possible rating of "Good" in frontal-offset crash testing and a second-best "Acceptable" for side-impact protection.

Interior Design and Special Features

The 9-5's overall design hasn't changed much since the car was first introduced, although the original dash layout has since been replaced with a less quirky, more ergonomically friendly GM treatment. The quality of the interior features leaves something to be desired, however.

Otherwise, the 9-5 is a comfortable place to spend time, with ample passenger room and exceptionally comfortable seats -- especially when equipped with the ventilation feature. For those who need extra cargo capacity, the SportCombi wagon is a good alternative to an SUV, as it supplies 37 cubic feet of luggage capacity with the rear seats in use and 73 cubes with them folded. That's more space than some luxury compact SUVs, such as the Acura RDX.

Driving Impressions

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. And although 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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found this review helpful


by on
Vehicle: 2009 Saab 9-5 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

Great fuel mileage, smooth ride, lots of power, great stereo, comfortable seats, nice hvac system, superb in the snow, sunroof, handles great, looks great, excellent warranty, low insurance rates, 5 star crash rating, and very affordable.

Talk About The 2009 9-5

2009 Saab 9-5 Discussions See all Started By

I like the 9-5 actually, and I think it can go on for another year or two. Problem is, there won't be a new Saab 9-5 until 2009....

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Wow, nothing like talking to yourself in a forum. I just wanted to say that in the sixteen and a half months (and a mere 10 posts overall in this forum) that I posted my one year review that my 9-5 h...

Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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