Fleet News

Saab 9-5 2.0t SE auto - 6,630 miles

Review

I KNOW Saab is big on safety, but, if you will pardon the pun, there is such a thing as overkill. If any of your drivers are brave enough to venture into the glovebox of their new Saab 9-5 or 9-3 in search of the driver's manual, they might wish they hadn't bothered.

Within the 258 pages of the 9-3 manual for our car (our test car is a 9-5, but they gave us the wrong manual) are no fewer than 160 warnings and cautions about using your new form of Swedish transport. Most of them are adorned with a bright yellow band and an official-looking warning triangle and if you decided to follow Saab rules to the letter, you would have adhered to 77 of them before the parking brake even came off.

Forget the latest suspense novel - if you want disaster and mayhem, wade through the latest Saab manual. It builds up from 'pinch hazards' to frying animals, doors bursting open in accidents and car jackings. The controversial subject of mobile phones and their brain-frying potential is even tackled - weighty stuff. The person who wrote this could be the next Stephen King.

Did you know that electrically-operated seats are just lying in wait to injure your children? However, there is a serious safety point to all this, as it hammers home the huge risks we take in driving.

With the Saab, at least you know your safety is taken seriously and the car has a plethora of airbags, along with anti-lock brakes and even an annoying little warning bell to tell you to wear your seatbelt.

Ironically, for such a safety-conscious car, it is a huge amount of fun, even in automatic form. On winding roads, the front-wheel drive helps the car perform like one half its size. It is comfortable and quiet when cruising, although the suspension is a little harsh for my liking.

As compensation, it achieved 32mpg on its most recent tankful, though a 6,000-mile service, that seemed cheap at £29.31, rocketed to £111.99 after adding labour and VAT. In short, a good combination of safety, style and speed, which I know has won many loyal drivers, despite the rather anonymous badge and conservative styling.

But don't dare to venture out of the driveway without first looking in that glovebox.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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