The first-generation Saab 9-5 has been around for 20 years now, and yet somehow, The Smoking Tire‘s Matt Farah had never driven one prior to this review.
Despite its age (this is a 2002 model), Matt says he thinks the Swedish sedan would make for a sound cruiser – perfect for road trips. And that’s exactly what the owner uses it for each year as he attends the Coachella music festival. Coincidentally, this author uses his Saab each year to truck it from Pennsylvania to Michigan for the Electric Forest music festival. Maybe it’s just a Saab thing.
Before the shoot, the owner fitted this 9-5 with a fresh set of BFGoodrich Sport Comp 2 tires, new EBC pads and rotors, and new struts all the way around with Bilsteins in the rear and Sachs in the front. These handling components in conjunction with the turbocharged 2.3-liter four-banger and 5-speed manual transmission make for a pleasant drive, even with a failing third-gear synchro.
Yet with all its other merits, by far our favorite thing about turn-of-the-century Saabs is how affordable they’ve become. If you think you might be in the market for a cheap daily driver or music festival hauler, you’ll definitely want to watch this. You might also went to check out Farah’s review of this Saab 9-3.