classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) Dork
11/20/20 2:35 p.m.

Hivemind, inspired by Stampie's recent purchase, I'm looking for opinions on a 2006 Saab 9-5 SportCombi. My wife and I are expecting a child next year, and take frequent road trips from Michigan where we live to Georgia to visit family (we drove 4x this year). We drive to visit her family (1-2 hours away) monthly, and in the summer we take trips to northern Michigan as well.  We travel with our dog and whatever stuff we happen to have with us, which will increase next year.

So far, we've been using my Expedition, but it's 20yrs old and at 207k miles right now. We suffered a breakdown this year, but with wae's help were able to get through the night. In the future it would be much less fun to have a similar breakdown. 

Because we bring our dog everywhere, we have essentially ruled out sedans. We went and test drove a Buick Regal TourX earlier this year and absolutely loved it, but those are still trading in the $25k range which is just too expensive. We aren't in a rush, but have been keeping an eye out for right car/right deal.


Enter this guy in MA. 86k miles, extremely clean looking 2006 with nice features: Xenon lights, roof racks, and heated seats. I think it looks great, and somewhat surprisingly, my wife agrees. 

Not a lot of data points for similar low mileage 9-5 wagons that I can find, so not sure how far off the price is, but this would be something we'd use to get through the next 5-10 years (see Expedition above - bought it 80k miles ago and would plan to keep it for HD runs or project car towing) which justifies spending a little more than I like to on my typical crapboxes.


Having never owned/driven a Saab, what can go wrong?

I am going to try to reach out to the dealer that has it for any maintenance records/info, and some undercarriage pictures to see what rust situation looks like. Anything more specific to watch out for? 

I see that earlier 2.3's had a PCV problem, but seems like 05+ should be resolved.. 



02Pilot UltraDork
11/20/20 2:52 p.m.

I had an earlier (99) 9-5 for a while. I never really connected with it, but that may have been more due to my expectations coming out of BMWs rather than any fault of the car. It felt like a Swedish Camry to me - capable and solid, but boring. Mine was the LPT, so this one will have much more power, but my complaints weren't really a lack of power, but a lack of personality and engagement. They do eat miles astonishingly easily, and the sensation of speed is very well damped - you will find yourself going much faster than you think you are. They're comfortable, useful cars, and if that's what you want, this seems like a nice, clean example. I can't say much about the price, but the mileage is low for its age.

Aaron_King PowerDork
11/20/20 3:36 p.m.

I have an 02 sedan with about 225K miles on it, had an 03 with 250K ish and my In-Laws have an 03 with @ 120K, here is what I have found between the three:  

  • The front subframe bushings will go at some point, I waited until just over 200K but they should have been done earlier.
  • Be sure to use NGK plugs and keep and extra Direct Ignition Cassette in the car.  When I change the oil in all of my SAABs I pull the plugs and check the gap, same with my In-Laws car, and have never had a DIC fail on me.  The internet would have you believe they fail all the time but in my sample size of 6 it has not happened.  The Trionic engine management does not have a knock sensor, it uses the plugs somehow so my guess is if the plugs are not what the engineers specked or the gap is too big it puts a strain on the DIC and kills them.  Take with a grain of salt, I could be talking out of my butt.
  • With the PVC system, when you go look at the car take a metal coat hanger with you.  Put it down the dipstick tube and scrape the bottom of the oil pan.  If you get sludge on the end of it walk away.  Full synthetic and frequent oil changes are a must with these.
  • On both of my Aero sedans, at round 200K one of the radiator end tanks started leaking.  Its not a terrible job to replace though.
  • The only place they like to rust is in the dog leg behind the rear doors.  Check the body where the side skirts attach for bubbling.
  • There is a plastic rod in the blend doors for the climate control system that break.  Different places sell a metal replacement but my understanding is that it is a bear to replace.  Thankfully I have not had to deal with that yet.

Besides those things both of my 9-5s have been solid, in fact I took mine down to the Tail of the Dragon July of 19 for a wedding and ran 3 round trips with it.  On 200tw tires and 5 people in the car I was very impressed, not a single hick up and the coolant temp stayed dead center in the gauge.  

If I think of anything else I will add it later, but I would not hesitate to get it as long as the motor does not have any sludge in it, I think they are way better than people think.

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) Dork
11/20/20 8:29 p.m.

Thanks for the comments guys. I should continue to have fun cars in the side, so useful appliance would be fine - this is also more hp than anything else I've ever owned lol.

I have a note in to the dealer, will see what they come back with.

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
11/20/20 8:42 p.m.

I'll be the old contrarian here. You're starting a family, you have a dog, you travel frequently and over long distances. While you don't want one, YOU NEED A MINIVAN !   You can thank me later. wink

PS: I do like the Saab wagon.

John Welsh (Moderate Supporter)
John Welsh (Moderate Supporter) Mod Squad
11/20/20 9:27 p.m.

I'm with Warren.  I like the Saab wagon, a lot.

However my 2019 Grand Caravan GT for $15,090 from Hertz has been great. The Hertz liquidation has dried up but you can still get them for nearly the same price via Avis

In terms of dollars per square foot and dollars per capability its been a real value. It's a lot of "new vehicle" for the price. 

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) MegaDork
11/20/20 9:47 p.m.

As a dad, I can say that a 16 year old Swedish orphan is not what you want to be hauling your new prize around in.

You want reliable, boring, and so common that you can find everything you need to keep it running at McDonalds. 

Stampie (FS)
Stampie (FS) MegaDork
11/20/20 9:54 p.m.

I like those BBS wheels on there.  That's a lot more than I paid for mine but then again mine has a lot more miles and needs some loving.  I agree with the softness comments on the 9-5.  It's not as engaging as my old C900.  But it's a great car so far.

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