2010 Saab 9-5

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Key Specs

of the 2010 Saab 9‑5. Base trim shown.

  • Body Type:
  • Combined MPG:
    21 Combined MPG
  • Engine:
    300-hp, 2.8-liter V-6 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain:
    All-wheel Drive
  • Transmission:
    6-speed automatic w/OD and auto-manual
  • View more specs

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Performance potential
  • Unique looks
  • Premium interior materials
  • Roomy cabin

The Bad

  • Pending further review

Notable Features of the 2010 Saab 9-5

  • Redesigned for 2010
  • Available AWD
  • Choice of turbo engines
  • Available head-up display

2010 Saab 9-5 Road Test

David Thomas

Saab may be an independent car company now, but its ties to the pre-bankruptcy General Motors are apparent in the all-new 9-5 sedan.

The impressively styled Saab 9-5 can't escape its big price tag teamed with a dated interior.

It's like the car was frozen in time before the economic collapse and now has to contend with a market that's more competitive than ever. The other strike against the 9-5 is that, for 2010, it's available only in the top-of-the-line Aero trim level, which is so performance-oriented it sacrifices much-needed ride comfort.

For 2010, the Aero XWD trim starts at $49,165. Next year, the 2011 9-5 line will fill out with a base Turbo4 model ($38,525), featuring a 220-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and a Turbo4 Premium ($43,435), which comes with more standard features. There will also be a Turbo6 XWD ($48,030) with the engine and power of the Aero, minus the ride and handling upgrades.

Styling
Before you can judge the 9-5 on its merits as a mode of transportation, its design demands attention. Saab made a serious gamble going with such a distinct look, but it will likely pay off with the one group that may overlook the rest of the car's failings: Saab enthusiasts.

The large rear C-pillar, rounded rear window and high trunklid hark back to the beloved 900 hatchback, even though this is a sedan. The rear also features huge wraparound taillights that look light blue during the day, when unlit, and either red or amber when t...

Saab may be an independent car company now, but its ties to the pre-bankruptcy General Motors are apparent in the all-new 9-5 sedan.

The impressively styled Saab 9-5 can't escape its big price tag teamed with a dated interior.

It's like the car was frozen in time before the economic collapse and now has to contend with a market that's more competitive than ever. The other strike against the 9-5 is that, for 2010, it's available only in the top-of-the-line Aero trim level, which is so performance-oriented it sacrifices much-needed ride comfort.

For 2010, the Aero XWD trim starts at $49,165. Next year, the 2011 9-5 line will fill out with a base Turbo4 model ($38,525), featuring a 220-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, and a Turbo4 Premium ($43,435), which comes with more standard features. There will also be a Turbo6 XWD ($48,030) with the engine and power of the Aero, minus the ride and handling upgrades.

Styling
Before you can judge the 9-5 on its merits as a mode of transportation, its design demands attention. Saab made a serious gamble going with such a distinct look, but it will likely pay off with the one group that may overlook the rest of the car's failings: Saab enthusiasts.

The large rear C-pillar, rounded rear window and high trunklid hark back to the beloved 900 hatchback, even though this is a sedan. The rear also features huge wraparound taillights that look light blue during the day, when unlit, and either red or amber when the lights are turned on.

A stylish black lacquer effect highlights the front A-pillar and the tops of the side mirrors. A jewel-like turn-signal indicator, which also looks blue when unlit, bisects each mirror.

It's a stunning design that might overshadow some of the car's drawbacks.

Performance
For the 2011 model year, the Saab 9-5 will be available with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and front-wheel drive, or a turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 and all-wheel drive. For 2010, the Aero trim comes with the turbo V-6 and all-wheel drive. The Aero is also available with 19-inch wheels and more aggressive shocks and struts that lower the car 10 millimeters.

While I enjoyed the engine's spirited turbo-ness — whooshing to speed in bursts like a traditional turbo should while still delivering smooth around-town acceleration — the ride was ridiculously harsh. The steering and handling are good, perhaps very good, but that means little in exchange for the quality of the ride. On rough road surfaces, like the concrete highways on which I commute, the ride was nearly unbearable for long stretches.

I'm hoping the non-Aero, 2011 turbo V-6 with all-wheel drive will be more comfortable while still delivering the punch of that engine.

The car feels much lighter than the spec sheet portends. At 4,365 pounds as-tested, it's the portliest among competitors like the Audi A6, Volvo S80 and BMW 5 Series. Even with this weight — which isn't helped by Saab's all-wheel-drive system, designated XWD — it feels as light as the Audi and Volvo and definitely lighter than the 5 Series. The Saab 9-5 is also noticeably longer than those competitors, yet it feels nimble when cutting through flowing highway traffic.

Interior
While you can forgive the Aero's ride comfort somewhat because of how the XWD is equipped, the interior won't improve as you move down the trim level and pricing chart. Cheap black plastic makes up a majority of the dashboard, instrument cluster and stack of controls. It's a clear sign that this car was conceived years before GM began putting its best interiors into vehicles like the Chevy Equinox and Cruze.

Luckily, the doors and front and rear seats are decked out in rich-looking and rich-feeling leather, which is an upgrade over other trim levels. The seats overall are on the firm side, but I found them quite comfortable. One taller editor complained he couldn't adjust the seat appropriately for his frame. Other editors, too, said the seat bottom wasn't wide enough. This is why they invented test drives.

The backseat is huge. Its 38.8 inches of legroom bests the competition, and in real-world tests it won rave reviews from passengers.

Two little things that every automaker should emulate are the outstanding cupholders and the adjustable center armrest. The cupholders use a simple tab that folds down to turn the large space — perfect for venti lattes — into the proper size for a can of soda.

The adjustable armrest moves forward and up in a single motion, and it's padded in the same rich leather as the seats. It's also easy to adjust to the perfect height.

While I hope Saab addresses the bulky plastics of the dashboard, it should leave the rest of the interior as-is.

Features & Pricing
All 2010 and 2011 trim levels come standard with leather seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, a cooled glove box, a USB port, Bluetooth connectivity and a nine-speaker sound system.

The 2011 Turbo4 Premium trim and above add power-folding and auto-dimming side mirrors, tri-zone climate control, keyless entry, remote start, push-button ignition and parking sensors.

My test car came with an $825 Technology Package that included a head-up display and perhaps the loudest lane departure warning system I've ever heard. I thought Darth Vader was on my six, it was so loud. Still, that price is pretty reasonable for the head-up display alone.

The stunning 19-inch wheels were another $750, again, a relative bargain compared with what competitors charge for wheel upgrades. Navigation was another $2,395, or about the norm in the luxury space. It's the current GM nav system, which is good overall. It includes lots of features, like the ability to pause and rewind live radio, but the navigation screen is low-resolution and there's no live traffic overlay. 

All told, my test car came to just over $53,000 — a significant sum, to be sure.

Safety
The Saab 9-5 comes with the standard array of airbags, antilock brakes, stability control and break-away pedals.

As of this writing, the 9-5 has not been crash-tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Saab 9-5 in the Market
If you're interested in aesthetics and a sporty ride, the 9-5 Aero XWD would be a logical choice. However, you'd have to be quite overwhelmed by its styling alone to be dissuaded from similarly priced competition like the Infiniti M37 and Audi A6. You'd pay considerably more, though, for similarly equipped all-wheel-drive Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5 Series sedans.

The Saab 9-5 is flawed in many ways, but there is promise beneath its intriguing sheet metal. Once Saab can deliver a quality interior like its neighbors at Volvo, it'll have a total package. For now, only fans of the brand's history are likely to take a chance on the 9-5.

Send David an email  



2010 9-5 Video

Cars.com's Dave Thomas takes a look at the 2010 Saab 9-5 Aero. It competes with the Audi A6 and Infiniti M37.

Latest 2010 9-5 Stories

Consumer Reviews

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(5.0)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(5.0)
Reliability
(4.6)
Value For The Money
(4.8)

What Drivers Are Saying

(5.0)

Excellent Value as a Used Vehicle

by SaabGuy95 from Oneida, WI on December 28, 2017

The Saab 9-5 Aero is a fun car to drive with a Turbo V6 and AWD. The vehicle has no problem getting out of it's own way under light to medium acceleration. The car feels nimble and light considering ... Read full review

(5.0)

Most Reliable & Good Looking Car I have purchased.

by Pats from New England on November 20, 2017

This car turns heads. Everyone likes its looks. The comfort is amazing especially with the driver's leg rest extenders on long trips. Given the fact it has never needed a repair in 7 years, the value ... Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2010 Saab 9-5 currently has 0 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2010 Saab 9-5 has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The 9-5 received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker