Saab 9-5 2.0T family road trip

It’s been a bunch of months now where the focus seems to have been on the business of Saab rather than on the cars. It’s a pity, too, because the cars are better than ever.

It was really pleasing, therefore, to receive an email a few days ago from a guy in North America named Glen M. It’s always great to hear customers’ stories about their new vehicles, what they’re doing and how much they’re enjoying them.

I’ll let Glen tell the story:

My family recently purchased a 2011 Saab 9-5 2.0t with 6 speed transmission to replace our 1999 Saab 9-5 wagon. We had been waiting for the new 9-5 SportCombi, but we had plans to head across the country to Canada for the summer and needed to update our automotive machinery.

We picked up the Saab roof racks and a Thule cargo carrier and made our way across the country in triple digit heat with punishing humidity. The new 9-5 was an absolute joy to drive, tracking straight and solid. Flawless performance after 15,000 miles and would gladly take it on the road again. That thing practically drives itself.

I am looking at snapping up an Aero version, but would like to get the wagon.

This is my third SAAB now. I still miss my Edwardian Grey 1989 900 SPG. The new 9-5 has been an absolute revolution and advancement in the state of the art for SAAB. I’ve attached a few snaps of our cross-country adventure. I did not go to any great lengths to pose her, but I had noticed the light playing off the sheet metal when we had stopped at Jocelyn Park at sunset, and I couldn’t resist.

Also, for the record … my absolutely favourite view of this car is the rear three quarter. Sublime. Hunkered down. Biomorphic. Unlike anything out there on the market today in this class and far better in my humble opinion.

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  1. I was actually test-driving a new 9-5 – in the most basic-version –
    yesterday. I was very impressed. Especially by the suspension. Very
    comfortable, but still eating the corners very sharply like a much
    smaller car. Also the small 1.6l engine impressed me. Off course there
    were not much punch in 5th and 6th gear, but by using the gears a lot –
    which was very pleasant – one could have a lot of good and fun driving
    and fine acceleration through curves or passing other vehicles. And I
    have to say the interior-quality was at a very high level. I much prefer
    the plain, puristic and clean (maybe a little to dark) dashboard-design
    here from f.ex Audis more vulgar. A small example: The door-handles in
    solid, polished aluminium is much more a quality-experience then all the
    chrome-details in (all ?) cars from the WV-group.

  2. Road trip ! guess the sonnett , my wife and I need a lil day trip . Thanks for the Idea , I know I’ll feel better after a drive in southeasten Ohio . =)

  3. John,  

    We ended up averaging 25.1 mpg even with the largest available Thule 2100XT cargo carrier on top.  Incredibly impressive amount of power, even through the peaks of the Rockies.  I’m sure if we had a clean configuration, I would have been able to spend more time in 6th gear and exceeded 30mpg.  Also, across the corn belt I took advantage of the Biopower capabilities of the car to fill her with E85, which also hit the mileage by some amount.Since we’ve gotten back to LA (Topanga Canyon), where I drive through the winding hills every day, we’ve stayed at 24.9 mpg.  This compares favourably with our 1999 9-5 wagon, which felt like a much smaller, lighter car.  All I can say is that if you have the means, and have any inclination toward SAAB, you must buy this car.  It is a revelation.Hang tough (the American version of Keep Calm and Carry On). 


  4. I’m very happy with my 2010 9-5 Aero.  Perhaps though, I should have waited for the 2.0 liter version for the better fuel economy.  My Aero is only averaging 23.3 MPG and only 20.0 in the city.  I bought the car because I wanted the XWD system for our snowy winters in Colorado.  But in retrospect, I think the more fuel efficient engine would have been the better choice.  I tested a 2.0 when my car was in for maintenance and the engine performed very well.  I was happily suprised to see how well the smaller engine performed in such a big car.

  5. Glen, what Thule roof rack did you get? I checked out their US website, but couldn’t find what rack fits the car. Can you help me out? Tnx!

  6. Kikaluka,

    You are correct, the roof rack that fits the 2010-2011 9-5 are not available from either Thule or Yakima.  I found them at SaabUsaParts, sold as a branded SAAB part.

    Separately, I purchased the Thule 2100XT from Rack Solid in LA:

    The combination worked perfectly.  Also, for the kids I had picked up the new sunshades that had been designed for the car.  This really made a huge difference in keeping the car cool and shaded during the cross-country trip for the kids.

    Lastly, my other secret weapon for a peaceful trip with a 5 and a 7 year old, were two iPads mounted to the back of the headrests. 

    Best of luck finding what you need.  


  7. I was lucky  a few weeks ago to take the new 9-5 2.0T, black, for a whole day when my own 95 (2001) was receiving maintenance. What a beautiful car. All the details are perfect, like the hud and the navigation. And the exterior design! And I am not alone. I parked in in the car park below my office, next to the entrance to the building and sneaked down a few times during the day, and every time a few people where grouped next to the car discussing about it. And the best moment: my manager recently bought a new A6 and he has been joking around quite a bit as he knows I own two Saabs. When he saw the new 9-5 he insisted that I drove him around a bit and afterwards he honestly admitted that he really like the car. And that from a lifetime Audi driver….