By on January 23, 2013


Bruce writes:

I got my 2007 9-3 serviced at the Falls Church, VA Saab dealership. My question: They had new (2011) 9-5s for $20,000 off the sticker price. Almost half off. Are they a good deal? Would you buy one?

Sajeev answers:

I initially regretted my delay in answering this Piston Slap email, as the queue is long and unfortunate to a time sensitive matter like leftover Saab inventory. But then I found 167 new SAABS still for sale as of yesterday.  Who-hoo! I dodged a bullet while these poor dealers still have laggards on their floorplan.

The question isn’t about buying this Saab, but about buying any Saab: are they ever a good deal?  NO!

But that’s not the point…if you actually like Saabs, you don’t mind spending far too much money on these repair/maintenance whores. Or you love them enough to make their repair a personal hobby, complete with all the tools of the trade.  Either way, yes, this is the BEST time to buy a new Saab.  The prices will be good and you’ll never have this opportunity! Ever again!

You wrote to TTAC because you like Saabs. And you get them serviced at the dealer, which implies you have the money to keep them running properly.  So if you want to run a 2011 model into the ground, you might have that opportunity.  And who knows, the whole GM-SAAB-China thing is still unfolding, perhaps you will have ample supply of spare parts in the future.

Your last question: would I buy one?  I already bought one of the last Ford Rangers back in 2011…so no, I’m gonna enjoy that same feeling but without the nightmarish downsides of Turbo Saab ownership.  And yes, there are still 98 new Rangers for saletwo are of the 4-cyl, 5MT variety like mine–if you wish to join me on the dark side. Or bright side. Either way.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry.

 

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105 Comments on “Piston Slap: The Last SAAB = Good Deal?...”


  • avatar

    I like the way the back of the car looks, but I don’t like the front end. With some aftermarket parts from Ebay, I’m sure I could make it look better.

    Thing is, for $20,000 off, it’s a tough choice. I’m sure you’d be able to get replacement parts and possibly warranty service for 6 years (I’d hope so), but I could never bring my self to buy stuff that sold so poorly it had to be cancelled.

    If it’s fully loaded with nav, moonroof, etc – maybe I could. But, I think I’d rather just buy a fully equipped Dodge Charger. These SAAB were so expensive that $20,000 off probably still puts the buy price around that of a Charger/300/CTS/C-class/3-series and a bunch of other cars as well that I can depend on.

    And before anyone makes a quip about “Chrysler reliability” – my 300SRT8 hasn’t given me A SINGLE problem besides burning tires to dust every 25,000 miles after I put a supercharger on it.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      “I could never bring my self to buy stuff that sold so poorly it had to be cancelled.”

      Says the guy who drives a car from a bailed out company.

      • 0 avatar

        Oh snap.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Its all semantics, true while Chrysler and GM were directly controlled, other manufacturers benefited from big gov’t money… including Ford for its energy loans and Toyota for tax credits which helped sell hybrids in the first place (not to mention the Japanese gov’t helping to fund hybrid development in the 90s). Did not Volkswagen and the other German marquees not benefit from gov’t money in rebuilding after the war? All manufactures are whores for tax money.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Ford Credit got more in bailout $$ than GMAC, not to mention the $5.9 billion in basically zero-interest loans that Ford Motor received.

      • 0 avatar

        Ubermensch

        I’m sorry…what do you drive?

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        @BTS @ Youtube
        I drive a Subaru. Not that it says anything about me, or for that matter, I don’t really say anything about it given the slightest opportunity like some do.

        You are right about Hyundai. They haven’t really catered to the image conscious buyers yet. I will most likely give them a look next time I am in the market which probably won’t be very soon.

      • 0 avatar
        drw1926

        @bd2: I think you must get your “facts” from Jalopnik (talk about a slippery slope) because they are the ones who pushed that Ford Credit took “bailout” money. Ford Credit is not a bank, so they need to take out loans from the Fed to make loans to customers if credit is not available from other sources. The consumer credit arms of BMW, Chrysler, Toyota and GMAC also received loans from the government during that same time frame.

        The $5.9 billion loan Ford received in 2009 was for EV and hybrid development and tooling, it was not a bailout either. GM received about $50 billion in bailout loans, Chrysler about $11 billion, Ford $0.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Why would you buy a Dodge Charger when you could buy a superior car like a Honda Accord V6. Don’t like front wheel drive? Buy a Hyundai Genesis, which isn’t a hodgepodge of late 1990s Mercedes parts and a truck engine.

    • 0 avatar
      Synchromesh

      My manager had a PT Cruiser. It was a piece of junk that he traded in with about 60K on the clock. Then I rented a couple of Jeeps in last few years. A Compass and a Liberty. Both were tremendous junk in many way. Even a rented last gen Focus bested them easily. So thanks, but no Chrysler products for me.

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      I would ask the dealership to put the car on ebay autos with a $1.00 starting price and no reserve. Let the market decide what it is worth. I’d probably bid $15k tops.

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      I believe the leftover Saabs are sold without warranty, the company that backed it is out of business. Though the parts inventory was bought out so there might be parts.

  • avatar
    Robstar

    There is one not too far from me that is 40k msrp and 25k retail. There is another that is like 53k msrp , on sale for 30k.

    I looked at the wikipedia entry for 9-5′s and I just can’t see the attraction: either fwd or awd, 300hp or less and super pricey and probably terrible resale value due to them being a dead brand. Bad gas mileage as well and most of the ones I saw were autos. UGH.

    I’ve never actually sat IN a saab so I imagine I just don’t get it….Anyone care to shed some light on them?

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      They have fabulous seats, an excellent driving position and a very driver-focussed instrument panel.

      The 9-5 (assuming it’s a five-door or a wagon) has excellent versatility. In my opinion GMs decision to end the hatchback 9-3 had a lot to do with the brands demise.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    There are a number of forums that help diagnos issues plus my 2-drawer toolbox is all I need. Decade and half old Saabs are not any different than other cars with 225,000 miles to 330,000 miles that spent time as a suburb hauler or a highway cruiser, respectively. For most replacement parts are ridiculouly inexpensive as there can be from six to over a dozen vendors to choose from.

    All of them from 2000 or so are turbo charged and for a couple of hundred bucks can be putting out 250+ horsepower and even more torque which is similar to other turbo cars today. And don’t let turbochargers scare you away as eBay sells $29.00 rebuild kits.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Yeah, well, Ebay also sells electric superchargers for $49.99..

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      The hits just keep on comin’ Norm. I own an ’02 9-5 aero wagon, since new. It’s now my youngest daughter’s college car. Someone crunched the rear tailight assembly in a parking lot and wasn’t kind enough to leave a note. The cost to replace? $205.19 for the part from a “guaranteed lowest price” internet outfit.

      With the company out of business, I’m sure prices for this kind of stuff will go nowhere but up, reflecting basic principles of supply (limited) and demand (increasing as more tailights get crunched in parking situations).

      If that’s your idea of “ridiculously inexpensive” you are a richer man than I.

      • 0 avatar
        Robstar

        A few winters ago I was on the highway and there was a CLUSTER of semi trucks all together on the 3 lanes to the right of me. One of them had a sheet of ice approximately 6′ tall by 4′ wide fly off the top & land on my WRX STi left front and destroy the headlight.

        Part cost alone was > $800….so $205.19 sure sounds cheap to me.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Now 02 9-5 wagon tail light is $50 shipped on ebay. Frugal or cheap? :P

      • 0 avatar
        PartsUnknown

        Perspective – quote from my local dealer for a tailight assembly for a 2012 made in ‘murica, can’t-swing-a-dead-cat-without-hitting-one Toyota Camry – $256. So, yes, $205 is inexpensive. I can’t fathom the replacement cost for an A4, 328i, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        PartsUnknown

        Also Bruce – although Saab Cars NA is out of business, the parts business is not.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        @Robstar — IIRC the STI has HIDs and $800 for an HID headlight is not too terrible, they tend to be very expensive. Lots of mechanical components in them. For my GTI each HID headlight is $550 or so last I checked. Tail lights are $100-200/pair.

        @partsunknown, the cost usually has more to do with how common the vehicle is for aftermarket support. BMW and Audi taillights can be found for anywhere from $50-250… just depends. Our Honda CRV taillights are $75, but our MR2 taillights are crazy expensive, esp for later years, because there are so few cars, no aftermarket support, and everyone wants to upgrade to the newer look.

      • 0 avatar
        PartsUnknown

        mnm4ever – i was envisioning the LED tailights so common now on many cars, including Audi, M-B, etc. I can’t imagine those are $50 for a complete unit.

        In any event, my larger point is that $200 for a Saab 9-5 tailight should not be considered expensive, IMO.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Good point I hadn’t considered those. But I agree with your point, $200 is not too bad!

      • 0 avatar
        Power6

        Standard taillight vs HID headlight assembly with bulb and leveling motor?? Hardly a fair comparison, $8xx is a good deal!

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      That’s only true if you are talking about the 2009 and older 9-5. The 2010+ 9-5 was a completely new redesign, and it barely sold for 1 year and some before Saab kicked the bucket. So you are not going to be able to find any internet knowledge base on fixing this car, not are you likely to find any junk yard parts to keep it running.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        It’s fundamentally a GM car, shares MUCH DNA with the German-built Buicks. So hardly exotic. That said, not special enough for me to bother with, and I have owned and liked a good number of Saabs. 1/2 price is not cheap enough…

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    My mom’s 04 9-3 has been very reliable. It’s just turbo ecotec, nothing to be scared of there. It’s over 100k miles now.

  • avatar

    No I would not buy a Saab, despite the Price! What you save now, you will end up paying much more over the ownership of the Vehicle in question, even if I have the Money to buy one. Buying any vehicle has its ups and downs, why take the chance with a Saab?

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    If you’re into driving a severely overweight Opel badged up by GM’s marketing geniuses and manufactured by bitter labor with excessive sense of privilege, by all means, buy the 9-5, it just approached its true retail value which it should have had back when they were producing them.

    If you want to buy a Saab that the Swedes used to be proud of, sorry, they haven’t made those in about a decade.

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    I would buy a SAAB wagon with stick, in a heartbeat; but only if I had needed a new vehicle and had saved the cash. I’m lucky that there are still small shops where I live who are very good with these – plus most of the service parts are GM/Opel anyway.

    Oh! Oh! Oh! You’ll never guess what I got last fall at the library collection paring sale: That’s right… a Swedish cookbook! I still can’t believe my luck.

  • avatar
    Mykl

    Are they really that bad from a maintenance/repair standpoint? (not a baited post, an honest question)

    I would like to think that these cars could at least go 100k without too much fuss.

    • 0 avatar
      Snaab9-3

      I bought my 2001 9-3 at 98,000 miles and the worst repair I’ve had was replacing the fuel pump in November. I haven’t had any of the sludge issues because I bought the car from a Saab specialist who drops the oil pan and cleans it. The guy had great attention to detail. Besides that repair in November everything I’ve done has been ordinary maintenance that you would have with any other car. If you buy one from someone that drove and took care of their Saab as if it was a beater then yes, problems aplenty. Saabs can’t do 15k oil changes, but why is that considered a flaw?

    • 0 avatar

      Answer: It depends.

      My friends (Alex R., who is also a commenter on this website) have had good luck with their ’05 9-5 wagon. 200,000kms and no major issues. SAAB engines and transmissions have been fine for quite a while now. Generally with the more recent SAABs I go with this rule:

      9-3: Buy 2007 and up.
      9-5: But 2004 and up, preferably 2006 and up.

      Then you should be fine, some quirks aside. Engines are solid, electronics are solid, interior quality is still just as questionable as always, but the seats will be great.

      • 0 avatar
        toplessFC3Sman

        I have a 2006 9-3 with the 2.0T engine that I bought with 20k miles 4 years ago, it now has 105k, and besides normal maintenance (10k oil changes, filters, brake & coolant flush at 100k), it hasn’t needed anything. The front suspension bushings are a bit looser now than when new, but I’d imagine any 100k+ mile car, especially one that deals with MI winters, would show a bit of that.

    • 0 avatar

      Echid is right: it depends. You can take a big gamble with a Saab (especially a used one) or you can get drive just about anything else and it will be a far smaller gamble.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        This.

        Buy the Saab if you fall in love with it, can pay cash, and have another reliable car to drive around when something electronic takes a dump and you have to order an ECU cracker from an ebay seller in Hong Kong.

      • 0 avatar
        Richard Chen

        So the situation with the computers got resolved?

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/saab-pulls-the-plug-on-repairs/

  • avatar
    Snaab9-3

    I’m sorry but Saabs despite having been a Frankenstein like construction of GM bin parts over the last 10 years still offer a distinct driving experience. You’ll never be able to convince me that a Turbo Elantra can offer the same kind of driving pleasure that a 9-3 or a 9-5 can. I could see buying one of the last 9-3′s made but the lack of replacement parts of the NG 9-5 does scare me. It is all about how you care for a car, as far as used Saabs are concerned. Saabs don’t like to be neglected. My 2001 9-3 hasn’t been a pain to own, and I guess caring for it is sort of my hobby, I’ll admit that. They also don’t like Merlot…they only drink Pinot Noir.

  • avatar

    I’m going to go against the grain and say YES. First of all, recent ownership of SAAB Turbos really isn’t hellish at all. If you’re referring to their engines, these are typically the least of your concerns. Engine sludge issues existed in the 9-5 2.3 from 1999 to 2003, yes, but there were ways around that and its since been fixed. Whereas there are numerous stories about turbos going on VWs and Subarus all the time, I rarely hear the same stories from SAAB owners. Plus, since both powertrains offered in the new 9-5 were shared with pretty common cars, I think you’re okay.

    Typically with SAABs its electronics. Now, when SAAB switched to GM electronics in 2006 (9-5) and 2007 (9-3) a lot of those issues have disappeared. I can only assume that they would be fairly minimal now, as well, but you could check the reliability of other Opel/Vaukhall imports to North America (Buick Regal, Saturn Aura, Saturn Astra, etc.). In other words, this should be okay.

    Two other areas of concern:
    1. Body parts. Things that are unique to SAAB. Check up on availability. Check up on warranty. Some dealers offer their own warranties but there was some news about an agreement a few weeks ago on this, no? You may have issues repairing body panels as time goes on, or it may be very expensive.

    2. First year teething issues. No doubt they exist, research hard on this one. European forums may be able to detail that a lot more thoroughly.

    I say go for it. Its an elegant large sedan, and by all accounts it drives very nicely. What other opportunity in your life are you going to be able to purchase the last of a dying brand. Hey, take good care of it and you could have a valuable classic one day. Lord knows if I had the money I would go for it.

    • 0 avatar
      MarionCobretti

      I thought about that, but I wonder if 9-5s would rise to the level of valuable classics. Will Saabinistas* really fancy these cars at future Barret Jacksons? Seems to me that these SINOs be overlooked and the really valuable cars will be the last “real” Saabs.

      *Saabtuagenarians? Saabomites? I’m not really sure what to call Saab enthusiasts…

    • 0 avatar
      bikephil

      We owned a 2000 9-5 wagon from October 2003 (48k miles) to Feb 2005(80k miles). Worst car we ever owned. It drove great when it worked, but went through 2 turbos in the time we owned it, as well as 2 DI cassettes, and there was a mystery problem where the car would not start after it was warmed up and then shut off, like when you ran into a store for a gallon of milk. It just was dead. never figured it out. After 15 minutes it would fire right up again. I have never felt so insecure with a car in my life.

  • avatar
    Nedmundo

    I would not buy one either, but these final 9-5′s are actually excellent cars. When they were released, I tested a four cylinder FWD model, and could not believe how agile it was despite its size. It drove like a much smaller car. And, with its abundant torque, the four cylinder was perfectly adequate. Since then, BMW and others have adopted the same approach. I’d wager the V6 model with AWD loses some agility, but the power and traction gains might be worth it. The interiors are excellent, and the trunks are humongous.

    Poor reliability was a serious Saab weakness, and I would stay away for this reason alone. But this should not be confused with poor durability. If properly maintained, Saabs could maintain their performance and structural integrity for years. My 2001 9-5 Aero suffered numerous problems up through 50k miles, two of which required tows, but then was almost trouble free until I sold it at 137k, when it was still rock solid.

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      I had a first-gen Cadillac CTS with the same 3.2 V6 used in SAABs. It wasn’t my favorite engine. It uses a timing belt, has a hard-to-find oil filter and made something of a racket on the throttle.

  • avatar
    Summicron

    “to purchase the last of a dying brand.”

    Why doesn’t that sound seductive to me?

  • avatar
    jschinito

    i’d consider a 9-2x if they still had those… basically a subaru with nicer interior right?

  • avatar
    gslippy

    If the dealer gave me that car for free, I’d turn around and sell it. There is no nobility in buying the last Saab. Spend your 20 grand on a good car.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      The more I think about this, this purchase would be like buying a project car, because in 5 years that’s what it will be.

      Would you also consider buying a clean MG or an International Scout? Sure, these makes have support groups, but you’ve gotta be pretty committed to the car to own one. Fun for a project car, but not for a daily driver.

      And you should embrace the fact that your cheap Saab will have no resale value, except to another Saab lover.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        And your not on the Prius forums?

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I disagree Gslippy, in this market everything has resale value. This is demonstrated by the very high mileage decontented Camcords people snap up for 3-5K in Steve Lang’s posts. Unless that north of 180K, ten plus year old, average-condition-at-best car comes with a blow up doll strategically placed under the steering wheel, there is no way any beat plebeian car is worth close to that figure (realistically speaking). Yet they sell… and if wholesale is 3-5K, what’s retail?

        As I speculated in a later post if you go into it with your eyes open, I think these later Saabs present a fantastic opportunity if you can get them at the right price. Sure you’ll take a nice black eye when you go to sell… but would the same customers who snap up beat Camcords be interested in your newer, nicer, and loaded lower mileage Saab for the same money?

        There is a whole class of people who buy cars literally every 6-24 months and drive them into the ground, and their retail price range seems to be the $2,000-$5,000 range.

      • 0 avatar
        gslippy

        @NormSV650: Not sure what you mean. I drive a Leaf.

        @28-Cars-Later: “taking a black eye” on resale is virtually the same as “no resale value”, a term I used as hyperbole. And yes, I’d take a beat Camcord before a used Saab.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I can’t recall the exact figures but all cars deprecate something along the lines of 40-50% in the first three years. You’re taking a bath on any new car to start, that figure may increase on the last of the Saabs, but as I said at the right price I think its value.

        Would you rather lose 50% on your 27K out-the-door loaded Camcord or up to 75% on your <20K out-the-door Saab?

        Ah but to each his own.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    You’re basically assuming the risk that if an accidnet happens you’ll have to turn the car into whatever GM car it is sharing a platform with (at least body panel wise.)

    • 0 avatar
      Secret Hi5

      Interesting point, PDan; it raises the question of how much it would cost to insure a “brand new” Saab.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        At some point in the next decade you know at a stop light, across the intersection you’re gonna see a Saab with a Buick Lacrosse front clip. I’ve seen a Olds Bravada with a Chevy front end already. (FYI it made me want to cry. For god’s sake at least use a Buick clip, have some class man!)

  • avatar
    rpol35

    It gets down to what you really want. There is nothing wrong with buying a car from a “cancelled” company or a “bailed out” company (other than the fact the bailed out one is still going and the cancelled one isn’t). And that’s the root of the issue.

    It’s probably a good deal per se, in the sense that it is cheap; the issue will be what you need to do to keep it running, knowing what you know about Saab’s reliability issues and more importantly, how & where to get parts and service on-going. That part of the equation will be what determines whether it is ultimately a good deal or not.

    Good luck!

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    Sajeev – “The question isn’t about buying this Saab, but about buying any Saab: are they ever a good deal? NO!”

    Sajeev, sorry, this is the biggest canard in the history of the automotive universe. I will allow that the new 9-5 is a conundrum, a great car by all accounts, but with real challenges to owning one. EChid lays it out very effectively above.

    I’ve owned six “old” Saabs, including my current 2004 9-5 Aero, and have racked up well over 150K miles between them all. Here are some truths:
    1. They are durable. 300-400K is easily attainable.
    2. They are easy and cheap to maintain, if you can do some of the work yourself.
    3. They are day to day reliable.
    4. Each model has its weaknesses and quirks (ask any 9-5 owner about the coolant bypass valve), but none of them are catastrophic.
    5. As someone stated above, they do not like being neglected. They require conscientious ownership.

    I get that some people don’t “get” Saabs, and that’s fine. They are not for everybody. But, to me at least, they are rewarding to drive AND own.

    • 0 avatar

      Your comments, while valid, prove the point: why is this car a good deal when you can buy so many other cars that will be cheaper/easier to fix? And probably perform better, impress more people, etc.

      Requiring “conscientious ownership” is just asking for trouble when you hand the keys to the casual reader of car blogs. You aren’t gonna see me recommending that…unless you love Saabs.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Find me an impressive $2,000 Camry on ebay right now? You can’t they are all $4,000 on up compared to similar age 9-5.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Steve Lang wrote about ten year old 200K Camrys going for that much at auction. The 9-5 is a gamble but if you know what you’re doing with a little luck you can come out ahead.

      • 0 avatar

        I’m sure the same is true for E38 BMWs, which I have a huge soft spot for.

        There’s a reason why people pay more for Camrys, even if they are neglected POS-es. Not that I agree with the reason, I think a similar Nissan, Ford, GM, etc. are a better value.

      • 0 avatar
        PartsUnknown

        If by “this car”, you mean the 2011 9-5 in question, than yes, I agree. Buying one of these is a gamble – parts, service, insurance, warranty coverage are all question marks. You are buying a car of which relatively few were made, from a defunct manufacturer. I think these appeal to risk-takers looking for a cheap luxury ride, or to true blue Saabophiles. For anyone else, I’d recommend buying anything else. I thought about it, but my ’04 is just too damn good.

        I think it’s a different analysis when you’re talking about older 9-5s, 9-3s, etc. Parts are plentiful and (mostly) cheap, the drivetrains are proven, they are easy to work on, there is a ton of online support, and they are a blast to drive and own.

        Bottom line, I just want to be careful about painting all Saabs with a broad brush.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        You would not own one of these unless you really wanted it.

        Also, WHERE you live makes a big difference. Owning a Saab in Portland Maine is a doddle – they are EVERYWHERE! Every mechanic has at least some experience on with them, and there are 4-5 shops who do nearly nothing but, because they are EVERYWHERE. In Houston, I imagine you would be well and truly screwed trying to get one fixed.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    I wouldn’t buy a Saab, but I am looking for one of the last of the SX4 AWD 6spd hatchbacks. Can’t find them anywhere around Chicago. Can’t find any of these Saabs either.

    If I can find parts for a 1987 Daihatsui Hijet in the U.S. still, I can handle one of these. I’m a mechanic though, and can fix anything on it myself, so I’m sure my perspective isn’t shared with everybody.

  • avatar
    skor

    Can I get parts at a reasonable price? Can I get the factory repair manual? Will my scan tool work with this thing? If all the answers are “yes”, it would be a good deal for me.

  • avatar
    Toad

    I’d be curious about the insurance rates for this car. If body panels are no longer made, one fender bender could make the car cosmetically not repairable. Same with air bags. Are there enough last generation Saabs to support the production of affordable aftermarket parts?

    Would these issues drive up insurance rates?

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      A coworker’s 2010 9-5 Aero costs him $600/year vs his 2006 9-5 for $450/year. Same coverage limits in Cleveland suburb.

      I pay $55/half on a 13 year old 9-5 with just liability.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      No, because the value of the car is so low. It’s a $20K car – that is the insurance companies maximum exposure (really more like 80% of $20K). And ultimately, the value of the car doesn’t really play into it anyway – I pay the same for full coverage on my 11yo beater Jeep Grand Cherokee as on my 18mo BMW which is worth more than 10X as much.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I’m not sure what you were quoted, but for $15K out the door I think its a good buy. Somebody will someday give you at least 4K on trade, probably more if you trade it before it turns ten. For five years/60K of nice driving, ten grand or so depreciation doesn’t seem too bad… only $2500 cash money per annum.

  • avatar
    Zombo

    A 2011 Ranger 2wd regular cab for 19-20K ? A 2011 super cab Ranger 2wd for 25-26K ? No wonder they can’t sell them when you can buy a 2013 comparable Tacoma for thousands less !

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    To the original poster: the unnamed Falls Church Dealer is International Motors. I know because I bought my ’02 9-5 wagon there and had it serviced there while the car was under warranty. I did not find International Motors service department to be particularly competent — or cheap. I used VOB Saab in Rockville once, and I thought they were better.

    The go-to Saab repair shop in metro DC is S&S Motors, southwest of Gainesville, VA. The do Saabs and Volvos exclusively. They have been keeping my Saab going for several years. They are reasonable, accurate and just all-around good guys.
    The bad news?
    The place is for sale. My daughter’s car was just there a few weeks ago for a complete check up, etc. before she returned to Madison, WI. The mechanic said he really didn’t know if the buyer would keep the shop open or simply tear down the building and use the real estate (which, by now is much more valuable than it was) for some other purpose.
    So, think about who’s going to keep your Saab running in the future.

    As for reliability, to the extent my experience is predictive: not so good.

    The worst condition is the both main oil seals are leaking at about 85K miles. This is not a “take care of your car or else” issue; this is a design flaw, pure and simple. Cost to repair (which requires pulling the engine): $2,700 — from S&S Motors.

    Other biggies: automatic transmission started misbehaving about about 65K miles. A flush seems to have largely fixed the problem. Ignition cassette replaced twice. Alternator replaced. Engine mounts at about 60K miles. None of these are “neglect” issues; these are just failures.
    As others have said the turbo is still original; and I have had no sludge issues, having faithfully followed mfr.’s recommendation regarding motor oil.

    AFAIC, repeating my response to NormSV50, the biggest issue in my opinion will be the availability and cost of body parts — light lenses, etc. that are unique to this vehicle. And, if I’m not mistaken the 2.3 liter engine in my car is a Saab motor, not a GM motor (unlike the 2 liter engine in the 9-3 and the various V-6′s). I do not know if that’s true of the newer 9-5′s.

    • 0 avatar
      NormSV650

      I have accumulated 70K miles between a handful of 9-5′s and have only spent about $295 in replacement parts.

      • 0 avatar
        TEXN3

        That doesn’t say much that you’ve deferred those 70k miles over a handful of SAABs. Why not just one? I imagine your replacement parts costs may be a little different.

      • 0 avatar
        baabthesaab

        I have accumulated over 500k miles on 4 of them. A ’94 900S needed a fuel pump, a 2000 9-3 needed an ignition cassette, a 2001 9-5 needed a backup light switch and a fuel pump, and a 2006 9-5 has needed nothing yet. I traded the 900 at 145k, and the ’01 9-5 at 210k. the others I still have. The ’06 9-5 I bought CPO with 31k on it – 122k now with no glitches.

        Maintenance nightmares indeed!

  • avatar
    fvfvsix

    In one word, No.

    In a few words, there’s a story. My FIL spent part of his post-GM career as a dealer liason for Saab during the Spyker era. He was given a brand spanking new 9-5, exactly the same as the photo above. After Saab blew to bits, they offered to sell him the car for about $18K. He declined because he didn’t think it was worth that much. I did ride in it once-it is a nice car, but IMHO I’d take a new Accord any day at full price vs the 9-5 at cut rate.

  • avatar
    MarionCobretti

    I’ve got to admit, this one is tempting. Red, and six-speed manual. Could be the last of the new manual Saabs. I wonder how cheaply it could be had?

    http://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?zip=45402&endYear=2014&showcaseOwnerId=0&startYear=2011&makeCode1=SAAB&listingType=new&listingTypes=new&transmissionCode=MAN&sellerTypes=b&transmissionCodes=MAN&searchRadius=0&mmt=SAAB&listingId=293373161&listingIndex=1&Log=0

  • avatar
    albert

    $ 20.000 off? I’d go for more rebate!
    But why would anyone with a good 9-3 trade it in for a new car?
    A SAAB unreliable? Who told you so?
    Well, maybe the pre-1993 99 or 900.
    I am driving my third SAAB since 1994 and only the first one could have been better.
    My current 9-3 is now 6,5 years old and nearing the 160.000 kilometer mark . Defects: two screenwasher pumps.
    Told my dealer at the last inspection that I am planning to keep it for another 6,5 years.

  • avatar
    segfault

    I wonder what the actual bottom line transaction prices are on these leftover “new” Saabs.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    This model was sold for only two years, and in very low volume. So that means that there will be few parts available in the aftermarket, whether new or salvage.

    I don’t know what these cars use from the GM parts bin, but anything unique would make me nervous. It might be fine if you want to keep it as a low-mileage garage queen, but otherwise, I wouldn’t touch it without knowing a lot more about how you’re going to be able to fix it when it breaks. (Either that, or else import from Cuba the sort of backyard mechanic who can figure out how to cook up axle grease from mango juice or use empty food tins to make engine parts.)

  • avatar
    Mrb00st

    Nice picture choice Sajeev (James from Carthrottle.)

    that was a pic from when I reviewed the 2011 9-5 Aero while saab was still floating. I found it nice in a lot of ways: cavernous, comfortable and feature laden interior. Great ride. Quiet.

    On the other hand, it felt like the 4200lb(!!) car it was, the 2.8L turbo V6 didn’t really have the guts needed for that class, the transmission was meh, and it was VERY GM. You could play count the malibu parts for hours.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    I worked at a Saab dealership, and I also knew several Saab drivers. I never met any of the happy Saab owners that have materialized on the internet. There are reasons they fought it out with the British at the bottom of the JD Power quality indexes. There were reasons they wound up in GM’s hands over twenty years ago. There were reasons why the people who liked them when they were independent generally rejected the GM Saabs, even though the independent Saabs were the worst cars I’ve ever been affiliated with. It isn’t some cruel twist of fate that has liberated the market from Saab. Recommending Saab ownership is something you should only do to someone you know personally, and hate passionately.

    • 0 avatar
      Larry P2

      “You can take a big gamble with a Saab (especially a used one) or you can get drive just about anything else and it will be a far smaller gamble.”

      Some day, someone will run an honest article about the real horrifying costs of owning Saabs, Volvos and virtually anything British. Oooops! I forgot, this is TTAC.

      I traded my one and only convertible Saab in on a Miata. The difference was/is night and day. The Miata easily out accelerates and out handles the Saab, inside and out. It costs 2 cents on the dollar for maintenance and repair versus the Saab. Miatas are indestructible and wear like iron. It is the most reliable and dependable car I have ever owned. It is a real revelation. With virtually the same number of miles on both, the Saab cost well in excess of $4,000 in repairs its last year, and I was eager to take a bath on trade-in as a result. Every single year that I owned that hunk of junk was about $2,000 in repairs. In seven years of hard driving I have spent under $300 on repairs on the Miata.

      I agree you would really have to hate someone to recommend a Saab to them.

  • avatar
    cargogh

    It is a very nice looking automobile. 20 years from now Murilee will have to be quick to find an unstripped one.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    Well, this car is very similar to a Chevy Malibu or Buick Lacrosse. It is worth a test drive. As for long term reliability, I am not sure. If I were you I would instead buy a Volvo S80 or Audi A6, you get what you pay for.

  • avatar
    genomad

    Is anything fun a good deal?

    If you like the car I say go for it. Its a good price for a brand new near luxury car which should be near trouble free for at least the first 5 years.

    I don’t understand all the doom gloom, My 2006 9-3 is the most reliable car I’ve ever had (previously owned 2 Chrysler, 1 GM, and a ford… Never again!), Its fun to drive with its 2.8l v6 and a 6 speed manual. I buy all my cars used and I bought this one with 50k miles, and have put about 30K trouble free miles on it so far.

    Its hard to find fun front wheel drive cars that are affordable.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Doesn’t even $20k off sticker though still make it a $30k+ car?

    It would have to be under $20k for me even to consider, and even then I would pass just because I don’t think the headache is worth it.

    The real hit would not be the service or parts though, it would be when you went to sell it after 3-4 years. I could see it being worth about $7k if you were lucky.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    “In Houston, I imagine you would be well and truly screwed trying to get one fixed.”

    Yes, it is tumble weeds down here, even when SAAB was fully marketed. But there are 5-6 independent shops who know their SAAB stuff, so we’ll make it.

    In 30k on my 2004 9-3 Aero convertible, my repairs have been a headlight and the top’s hydraulic mechanism. I wisely bought the extended warranty. My only remaining challenge is one of my wheels has a slow leak – have to air it up every week. Oh and my passenger door lock hasn’t worked with the remote from Day 1.

    Meanwhile, my car is a blast to drive. I have the 6 speed with the sport suspension, and it flies.

    I love the look of the 9-4X, and I’m in the market for a small crossover, but not sure if I’d pay $45k for one. 25? Maybe….

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Any car that has sat and sat for 2 years is not a true ‘new’ car anymore. Dry rot and deterioraed fluids. Also, weren’t most of these ‘new’ SAABs sitting in NJ lot next to ocean, and salty sea air?

    The excuses people make to have own ‘something different’ are funny. WHy not just buy a newer Buick Regal? What was the big deal about GM SAAB’s, other than Swedish name and the silly key in the console?


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