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A unique, sporty, comfortable enthusiasts daily driver. by CarGeek on 03/30/2014. Trim: 2005 Saab 9-5 Aero, Owned 3 years.
Pros: Acceleration, handling, braking, are on par with other European prestige sport sedans of the same vintage. The seats are better than BMWs and Porsches. Very comfortable and supportive. The Harmon Kardon sound system is very good. We added a product called SaabAux which tricks the system into thinking it's seeing the CD player when it's actually an iPod. Lots of back seat and cargo room. Very comfortable and stable on the highway especially at speed. Respectable highway mileage. I've seen as high as 34 mpg. Not bad for a lock-up automatic. Unique. Lively message boards with lots of technical help. Not too difficult to work on. Parts are readily available and not overpriced.
Cons: Occasional reliability issues, but all are well known and often discussed on lively message boards. Cheesy feeling column controls. Front wheels get seriously dusty from brake pad wear. Headlight plastic discolors and fades (this is easy to permanently fix). Leading edge of rear wheel arch is susceptible to rust where road salt is used (and fixable for around $500 a side). Really low front spoiler is susceptible to curb rash - but hey, what true sports car isn't? Cramped engine compartment makes servicing some components a challenge.
Overall review: We're sports car people and replaced an aging Volvo Sport Wagon with a 9-5 Aero. It took months to find as they are uncommon. It was worth the effort. Frequent the message boards and read up, and there will be few reliability surprises. The engine was susceptible to sludge problems up through '03 so look for an '04 or newer unless it's had something done called PCV#6. A history of synthetic oil use is also a must as the engines in the Aero are high pressure turbos and run a little warm. The manual calls for use of Mobil 1 synthetic. These cars are great fun to drive. Handling and braking are excellent. They are supremely comfortable on road trips and you can drive for hours without suffering road fatigue. They are easy to drive FAST. They'll easily hold their own with a BMW 3 or 5 series six cylinder. It's a great choice for an enthusiasts daily driver. It's a shame they're not made any more, yet their Swedish cousin Volvo soldiers on.
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