Used 1999 Saab 9-5 Consumer Reviews
In three years, this car has been 99% trouble-free. The only problem has been with the electronic displays, which apparently was a common problem with the 1999. These have since been made more reliable, and the dealer has immediately replaced the ones that have caused trouble. The gas mileage with the manual 5-speed and turbo 4 cyl. has amazed me. On trips from Ohio to Colorado and New Mexico, including city and mountain driving, I've gotten 31-32 mpg.
Thought I did enough research before purchasing, I was wrong. The car is wonderful when everything is working properly. Which was about 2 weeks! Have done more repairs than I can list here. Parts are often hard to come by and expensive! Unfortunately, Saab quit employing Aircraft engineers decades ago. I'm an aircraft mechanic and I have no doubt their early models held up best because of their aviation background. I'm convinced their partnership with GM was their ultimate downfall. If you already bought a 9-5, Four words: CHANGE THE OIL OFTEN! Change the ATF or manual GB oil often as well! Do maintenance yourself if possible. Mechanics hear "SAAB" and they see $$$$
Listen to the warnings before purchasing this car! This car is not worth the headaches you will more then likely endure. I purchased this car with 85K miles in March of 2011. I was carpooling with a group of peers so I drove the car for ONE full week during that first month. On day 34, my engine seized. I replaced that engine. Since then, I have also replaced numerous belts, sensors, pumps. Every 3-4 weeks this car was in the shop and needed a new overpriced part that was impossible to find. Engine failure is a common problem with this year as I have learned the hard way. The engine I purchased to replace the original one seized on us recently as well. Please save your $$ and think twice!!
So it's very safe, very comfortable, very fun to drive, pretty quick and all around enjoyable car to drive. However, it was designed poorly and is unreliable and puts a permanent pipeline from your wallet to the mechanic.
We've had our 95 for 5 years now and love it to bits, the whole family loves it. It is a great alternative to a Toyota Camry (or similar) as it is much nicer, has more style and 'feels' much better than the standard Japanese plastic box. It isn't at the same level as a BMW 5 or Audi A6 but neither is the price so what you get is a lovely solid car that does everything reasonably well at a great price. People moan about how it doesn't have the performance of a BMW 5 etc but it doesn't have the price either so! If you want a solid well performing comfortable car look no further. Mine has been reliable but like all cars you can find owners who disagree.