It’s been almost seven years since Saab fizzled out of existence, bouncing around between GM, Spyker, and bankruptcy filings. Most of us already view the company as some sort of nostalgic icon of quirky style, despite most of its final cars being low-effort, badge-engineered blobs thanks to General Motors. But it’s worth it to revisit the last Saab 9-5 and see if there was really anything there to miss.
In Doug DeMuro’s latest video, he rents a 2011 Saab 9-5, the last in the line of Saab’s sturdy sedans:
The 9-5's style is still heralded today as a modern look that could probably pass off as attractive if it were still on sale today, which is high praise for a mainstream sedan introduced almost a decade ago.
Doug says he always viewed Saab as willfully geeky cars that were otherwise pretty straightforward, but seemingly enjoys the quirks he covers in the video. It’s funny how Saab was trying to suggest a “green” element to this car with the “BioPower” labels and green instrument cluster dials, despite this being an otherwise straightforward four-cylinder car that could take E85 gasoline.
Doug says the driving experience isn’t exactly fun so much as standard and fine. What’s more, the interior feels like something out of a much cheaper car, certainly much cheaper-feeling than what you’d find in a modern car valued at the 9-5s MSRP of over $48,000.
But the 9-5 was not exactly the downfall of Saab. It’s just a symptom, not a cause, cheapened out under the rule of GM.
But it sure looks better than anything from GM proper at the time, so it has that going for it.