Saab 9-5 (1997 – 2009) Review

Saab 9-5 (1997 – 2009) At A Glance


+Decent mix of performance and economy. Superb long-distance comfort aided by good ride and fantastic seats. An exceptionally safe car.

-Vectra base means it understeers heavily. Saab 4-cylinder engines need an oil change every 5k-6k miles. Rear dampers can fail.

Insurance Groups are between 37–44
On average it achieves 94% of the official MPG figure

Zero to 60 in 6.5 seconds. Top speed 155mph. Combined fuel consumption 32.1mpg. CO2 emissions 209g/km. BIK tax 2002-2003: £2,658.72 at 40%. Doesn't read like a Vectra, but it's amazing what you can do with one.

In fact SAAB has now all but completely thrown away its 9-5 model's Vauxhall Vectra underpinnings. The car's suspension, that used to serve up understeer by the urn, now dishes it out in nouvelle cuisine portions. It's still there, of course, but it's not nearly such a dominant feature of the menu.

SAAB 9-5 2002 Road Test

Real MPG average for a Saab 9-5 (1997 – 2009)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

21–52 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

How much does it cost to replace glow plugs?

"How long will it take and how much will it cost, on average, to replace the glow plugs on my Saab 9-5 1.9 TDI?"
It will depend on who actually changes them, i.e. a local garage or dealership, plus where they are purchased from. Cost of four could be around £50 - £60. Labour could be up to two hours, but be aware that whoever is to do the job knows exactly how and what they are doing as a sheared glow plug can turn out to be very expensive.
Answered by Alan Ross

How many Saab 9-5 Estates in polar white are still on UK roads?

"I want to know how many cars of my model and colour are still on UK roads? I have a 2003 Saab 9-5 Vector estate in Polar White, I know it is a very rare colour."
Unfortunately, it's not possible to drill down that far into the data that is made available. We know that there are 3269 Saabs still left on the road that were registered on an 03/53 plate. About 1183 of those wear a form of the Vector trim badge (including TID, Auto, Sport, 220bhp etc). This figure includes both taxed and SORN'd models, but that's all we can find out - estates aren't listed as a separate model and the Government data doesn't go into colours. You could always try contacting the Saab Owners' Club ( to see if they hold more detailed information.
Answered by Keith Moody

Should I buy a Saab 9-5?

"I'm thinking of buying a 13 year old Saab 9-5. It has 140,000 miles on the clock, but is in lovely condition bar the broken air con. If I can live without the AC, what other major points should I be aware of? It's just got through an MoT and is available for a mere £695."
£695 is throwaway money. It's probably worth £200 as scrap. But see the entry in for the problem areas.
Answered by Honest John

Can I still get parts for a SAAB 9-5?

"I am considering buying a post-2006 SAAB 9-5 Aero. What is your opinion of these cars? Is parts availability likely to still be an issue now that SAAB are supposedly up and running again?"
As far as I know the only production that has resumed is for the 9-3, not the 9-5. I wouldn't buy an old shape 9-5 and would run a mile from a new shape. There is still reasonable spares, service and repairs availability for 9-3s.
Answered by Honest John
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