2003 Saab 9-5 Overview

9-5

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2003 Saab 9-5 Overview

After substantial upgrades for the 2002 model year, the Saab 9-5 receives just a few updates for 2003. Saab's Sentronic manual-shifter is now included with all five-speed automatic transmissions, and a new electronic stability control system is standard across the board.

The trim levels, body styles and engine options are unaltered for 2003. The sedan and wagon return, and both are still available in Linear, Arc, and Aero finishes.

The three Saab 9-5 engine options increase in power as the trim level ascends, although both the base and top tier models are powered by a small 2.3 liter engine. The base Linear uses this turbocharged 2.3 liter inline four, which supplies 185 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. The Arc houses 3.0 liter V-6, which generates 200 horsepower and 229 pound-feet of torque. The Aero is also powered by a 2.3 liter four cylinder engine, but with a more powerful turbo boost here. The Aero's engine produces 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Linear and Aero models come with a five-speed manual or an optional five-speed automatic transmission. The Arc's V-6 is mated with the five-speed automatic. The 2.3 liter-powered 9-5s have EPA estimates of 20/30 for the automatic and 21/31 mpg for the manual, while the Arc's V-6 achieves 18/26 mpg.

Safety continues to be one of the 9-5's top selling points, according to reviewers and owners. Other positive attributes include a soft and stable highway ride, gas mileage, seat comfort and distinctive styling.

Many test drivers have reported that the 9-5 does not offer a suspension system ideal for all driving conditions. The Linear and Arc models' suspension is tuned a bit soft for a true sporting feel, while the Aero's stiffer system might be a little harsh for many drivers. Linear and Arc models are clearly a better choice for those in need of luxury feel, as ride quality is well-protected from most bumps and thumps. Unfortunately, body lean will be more noticeable to those who attempt to drive this models aggressively through the turns.

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