2003 Saab 9-5 Reviews

2003 9-5 New Car Test Drive


The Saab 9-5 line of sedans and wagons are comfortable, convenient and enjoyable to drive around town and on the open road. Precise steering and excellent high-speed stability make the 9-5 a great companion for covering distances in a hurry. The seats are supportive and the interior is well designed. Clever ergonomic solutions, like seats with fans, an aircraft-style map light, and Saab's Night Panel remind you this is a Scandinavian car. 

The roomy rear seat makes the 9-5 comfortable for four adults. 9-5 SportWagons come with a roomy cargo area with a perfectly flat floor, making them eminently useful for moving furniture or for taking Fido along. 

With its high-output turbocharged engine, the Aero model puts a lot of power under the pedal for quick throttle response at highway speeds. The Saab 9-5 Aero is an absolute delight for working through fast traffic. The luxurious 9-5 Arc is no slouch either, offering brisk acceleration performance. 

The Saab 9-5 benefited from suspension, steering and styling changes last year that sharpen its handling and its looks. For 2003, the Electronic Stability Program (ESP) is now standard on all models, a real benefit. 


Saab 9-5 (pronounced 'nine-five') is available in three trim levels, or 'Forms.' The 9-5 Linear, Arc, and Aero each offer a distinct personality. Essentially, they match interior styles and engine performance to suit the different personalities and priorities of their owners. Each is available as a four-door sedan or as a SportWagon. 

Linear models are luxurious cars powered by Saab's 185-horsepower 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Linear sedan ($33,995) and wagon ($34,695) come with an impressive level of standard equipment, including leather upholstery with leather door-panel inserts, a walnut-trimmed instrument panel, power front seats with electric heat, power sliding sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, cabin air filter, power windows, power central locking, steering-wheel audio controls, AM/FM/CD/cassette stereo with seven speakers, front and rear fog lights, ABS, and traction control. For 2003, Linear also comes with Electronic Stability Control (ESP), a great active safety feature. 

Arc is designed to emphasize a sports-luxury touring role and is powered by a 200-horsepower 3.0-liter turbocharged V6. Arc sedan ($33,650) and wagon ($39,350) comes standard with the new Sentronic five-speed automatic transmission, which can be manually shifted using buttons on the steering wheel. Standard features include ventilated leather seats with electric heat plus their own internal three-speed fan to circulate cooling air in the summer. Gotta have 'em. Rear seats are heated as well and are much appreciated by rear-seat passengers. A nine-speaker Harmon/Kardon stereo helps pass the hours on those long trips you'll want to take. 

Aero models offer the ultimate in performance with a 2.3-liter High-Output Turbo (HOT) four-cylinder engine rated 250 horsepower. Yes, you read that right: The Aero's four-cylinder engine is hotter than the Arc's V6. Aero wagon and sedan come with a sports suspension and 17-inch wheels, and are distinguished by unique exterior styling cues, special bolstered leather sport seats and metallic-finish dash trim. Aero models cost the same as the Arc models, but the power-ventilated leather seats are optional ($995). 

The Sentronic automatic transmission is optional on Linear and Aero ($1300). 

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