Used 2008 Saab 9-5 Sedan

Style:
2008 Saab 9-5
List price range
2008 Saab 9-5

Pros

  • Substantial standard features list, exceptionally supportive front seats, wagon's ample cargo space, simple controls.

Cons

  • Turbocharged four-cylinder lacks refinement, ride can be harsh, low-grade interior materials, aging design inside and out, torque steer under hard acceleration, no rear seat curtain airbags.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2008 Saab 9-5 sedan and wagon will please buyers wanting the style and personality of a classic Saab. In terms of performance, luxury and overall refinement, however, the 9-5 is outclassed by newer competitors.

vehicle overview

In 1999, the human population topped 6 billion, Wayne Gretzky retired, people freaked out about the Y2K bug and a 17-year-old Prince song became relevant again. The Saab 9-5 was also introduced for that year, which makes it one of the oldest cars on the market. In the intervening years, the 9-5's engine and trim lineup have been simplified, the driving dynamics improved and the exterior styling tweaked. But for the most part, the 2008 9-5 belongs to the same generation as the car that dawned in that final year of the 20th century. As such, the 9-5 remains the comfortable car it has always been with an impressive number of features, but it pales in comparison against much newer competitors.

The 2008 Saab 9-5 is available as a midsize sedan and a wagon known as the SportCombi. That latter name comes from a German term for wagon, or since Saabs are "Born from Jets," combi can also refer to a commercial aircraft usable for either cargo or passenger duties. The 9-5 fulfils that description as well, as its spacious interior offers plenty of passenger room and a maximum cargo capacity of 73 cubic feet.

Two years ago, the 9-5 underwent a significant freshening that included an exterior face-lift, a retuned suspension and new GM-sourced switchgear, which combined to make the 9-5 a more attractive player in the midsize luxury segment. That segment, however, is one of the toughest out there, occupied by sedans like the Acura TL, Lexus ES 350 and Infiniti G35 and wagons or small crossovers such as the Acura RDX and Volkswagen Passat. With lots of standard features, the 2008 Saab 9-5 provides compelling value, but so do its competitors, and we expect most shoppers are going to expect more refinement than this Saab provides. For the Saab 9-5, there's just no escaping the fact that it's still partying, er, driving like it's 1999.

Trim levels & features

The 2008 Saab 9-5 is available as a midsize sedan or a wagon known as the SportCombi. Each is available in two trim levels: 2.3T or Aero. 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 in-dash six-CD changer, satellite radio and 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 power-folding, auto-dimming outside mirrors. 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 satellite radio or instead opt for a trunk-mounted CD changer at no cost.

2008 Highlights

Changes to the Saab 9-5 are light for 2008, including only the addition of standard OnStar, sport seats and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Performance & mpg

All 9-5 sedans and SportCombi wagons are front-wheel drive and powered by a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline-4 that makes 260 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual is standard, while a five-speed automatic is optional. Many vehicles in this class offer six-speed versions of both types of transmission. Fuel economy is still respectable, however; an automatic-equipped 2008 9-5 sedan has an EPA estimate of 17 mpg city/27 mpg highway.

Safety

Standard safety equipment on the 2008 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 front-offset crash testing, and a second-best "Acceptable" for side-impact protection.

Driving

Once its turbo spools up, the 2.3-liter delivers plenty of power for this class, though not in as refined a manner as we'd like. Unlike most sport sedans and wagons, the 2008 Saab 9-5 is preferable with the automatic transmission, as its shorter gearing is better suited to the turbo engine's unusual power band. The 9-5's relatively low curb weight gives it a nimble feel through the corners. Many competitors have sharper reflexes and a better ride quality, however, and torque steer remains an issue under hard acceleration.

Interior

The 9-5's overall design hasn't changed much since the car was first introduced, but the once convoluted, button-happy radio and climate controls have since been replaced by straightforward GM-sourced units. While this improved ergonomics, some Saab fans might be disappointed that the interior no longer has much of the Swedish brand's traditional distinctiveness. Materials quality could also be improved.

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. Both of those capacities are greater than luxury compact SUVs like the Acura RDX and BMW X3.


Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Saab 9-5.

Hopefully the SECRET will live on...
MD,07/16/2009
I purchased my Saab after needing a sedan to mate with my Suburban that achieves a more corporate style, without going over the top. I have had my eye on the 9-5 for years. This is the best SECRET car buy out there. Like other reviewers, I was able to get mine at a great price and although it lacks some refinement, this is a great car. Highway driving I get 30mpg and in the curves it is a fun car to drive. My wife drives a Volvo XC70, which we love for its utility and space with two children and a dog, but the Saab has it beat! The Suburban is a living room on wheels with 4WD; great for trips and the outdoors. The Saab is just plain FUN and I get compliments all the time.
An outstanding Swede
Dan Sim,10/22/2010
I have had 17 Saabs of all variants since 1966. The Aero is the fastest safest and the most attractive of all. It has all the useful gadgets with out too much trendy clutter. audio is outstanding. The 235x17 tires, P6, are a bit noisy is a compromise for great performance. I am happy to get the final version of the 9000-95 evolution.I have had 2 of each. The orig. 86 9000T, a 91 9000T, a 01 95t Arc and now the 98 Aero. The 2.3 turbo remains a great motor, better than most 50% above its size. The Aero joins my 07 93, 74 Sonnett,73 96 v-4 and 68 96 v-4 in the driveway.
Money Pit
Lindsey,02/08/2016
We purchased the car used at 85,000 miles (only 1 previous owner listed on the car facts, and all maintenance up to date.) We thought the car would be a good value for the price ($8999 before taxes.) The dealer told us up front that SAAB went under and that any new parts would have to be purchased out of the country, and he also told us of a couple of SAAB dealerships that were still operating in our area. Great! We test drove it, and fell in love with the luxury of the seats, the sun roof, the Boise surround sound system (super awesome sound system,) and the Turbo pick up and go. We loved it! After our purchase, things started falling apart. The headlights started going out, the circuit to the headlights started separating from the circuit board and had to be re-soldered on. By 98,000 miles, the car started idling rough. No sooner did that occur, then the car completely died while my husband was driving on the freeway!! He was able to eventually get the car to start again and drive off of the freeway, only to have it die again on the street. We called AAA, and by the time the tow truck arrived, the battery completely died out. We got it to a mechanic, who recommended a new transmission. Our dealer was able to locate a refurbished transmission with a 6 month warranty, and $1600 later, the car's check engine light pops back on. Oh, and the loaner car that our awesome dealer let us borrow during the transmission fix was a 2007 Saab 9-5 which also had check lights flashing on it's display. "Check Headlights," "Check oil," "Check Tire Pressure." Needless to say, we aren't very impressed with the durability of the SAAB engine, transmission or electronics.
Hidden Secret
john,07/08/2008
This is a great car that no one knows about. I've owned BMW, Audi and VW, and the Saab, for the money, beats them all! GM should leverage this company for more of its designs in this fuel conscious age. After incentives, etc., this car is nearly $17,000 less than a BMW or Audi! Plus it has a GREAT warranty and nice options. If you want a nameplate, look elsewhere, but anyone that wants a solid and practical car should look at SAAB. I just wish GM would market them better!!
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Features & Specs

MPG
17 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
260 hp @ 5300 rpm
MPG
17 city / 26 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
260 hp @ 5300 rpm
See all Used 2008 Saab 9-5 Sedan features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Acceptable
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Acceptable
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2008 Saab 9-5
Used 2008 Saab 9-5 Sedan Overview

The Used 2008 Saab 9-5 Sedan is offered in the following styles: 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A), and Aero 4dr Sedan (2.3L 4cyl Turbo 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Saab 9-5 Sedan?

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Find a used Saab 9-5 for sale - 10 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $15,459.

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Should I lease or buy a 2008 Saab 9-5?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Saab lease specials
Check out Saab 9-5 lease specials