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Average User Score
4.3 ⁄ 5 stars
Based on 7 reviews
2004 Saab 9-5 Overview
Overall User Score
Based on 7 reviews
There are a couple of notable additions and subtractions for the 9-5 lineup in 2004. The Linear sedan has been dropped, reducing the total number of 9-5 variants to five. The Linear Wagon is still available. The Arc's unique 3.0 liter V-6 has been discontinued, in favor of another turbocharged inline four. The Arc is also available with a five-speed manual for the first time. This mid-level 9-5 trim loses its standard ventilated seats, but gains a more aggressive exterior trim and a new sport package option. In an attempt to further differentiate the sporty Aero from the new-look Arc, Saab has redesigned the Aero's lower body cladding for a more athletic look.
The 9-5 continues with three engine options, determined by trim level, but all models are now powered by turbocharged 2.3 liter four cylinder engines. The Linear Wagon houses a lightly turbocharged variation, which generates 185 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. The Arc's power plant delivers 220 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque. The top-of-the-line Aero is supplied with 250 horses and 258 pound-feet of torque. All engines are available with a standard five-speed manual or an optional five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is estimated at 21/29 mpg with the manual and 19/28 mpg with the automatic.
The trim levels are unchanged for 2004, although the base Linear is only available with the wagon. Along with the previously mentioned equipment changes, bi-xenon headlights are added to the options list for the Arc and Aero.
Reviewers agree that the 9-5 is a driver's car, with strong acceleration in all models, solid and stable handling, and powerful brakes. The mid-size sedan's cabin is well-protected from engine and wind noise, but road vibration can become a bit intrusive. Drivers will also have to tolerate a slight turbo lag during initial acceleration, which impedes on the 0-60 mph time.
There are frequent complaints about the 9-5's ergonomics, which often distract from the stylish interior design. The automatic transmission's steering wheel-mounted shift paddles are awkwardly placed and the flimsy dash-mounted cup holders may lead to some nervous moments. Poorly positioned and difficult-to-use climate controls may also draw a driver's eyes away from the road.