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2005 New Car Model Guide, Model Guide, New Car Reviews, Saab Cars, Trucks, & SUVs


2005 Saab New Car Model GuideSaab, Sweden's distinctive automaker backed now by General Motors, returns its two luxury and performance lines in 2005 but adds two new models to double the line.

Repeating products are the mid-size 9-5 luxury sedan and sport wagon, and the compact-class 9-3 line with three sports sedans and a premium open-top convertible also in three trims.

A fun-to-drive new compact five-door hatchback named 9-2x becomes Saab's entry-level car packing all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction and optional turbo action. Then comes the 9-7x, a bona fide sport-utility wagon for the mid-size segment with AWD and two powertrain choices.

Saab 9-3
2005 Saab 9-3

Saab's compacts include three versions of a premium sport sedan and three more for the drop-top convertible variation. Themes for 9-3 sedans are Linear, Arc and Aero; the latter dressed with a sporty flair. The convertible appears in Arc and Aero trim plus new base Linear. Saab developed the convertible 9-3 concurrently with the sedan so there are shared features like chassis and powertrains, although the drop-top was fortified with a ring of steel around the cabin to unify its structure and maintain rigidity in the absence of a roof. Saab's DynaCage concept goes to work in the event of a rollover incident with pop-up roll bars concealed at the rear of the cabin.

9-3 cars offer a choice of two aluminum engines, each a 2.0-liter four-in-line with turbo boost. The base 9-3 Linear sedan or convertible draws from a version rated at 175 hp with a five-speed manual shifter. Arc and Aero get the more powerful plant for 210 hp. A five-speed automatic is optional for all, as is Saab's Sentronic manual shift mode.

Saab 9-7X
2005 Saab 9-7X

The class of 2005 from Saab culminates with the rolling out of a big truck-based SUV. It's a mid-size wagon with seats for five, two trim and powertrain choices and standard AWD traction. The foundation for Saab's SUV is the GM platform that also underpins Chevrolet's TrailBlazer and GMC's Envoy wagons, although Saab applies its distinctive design traits and luxurious cabin appointments. A smooth aerodynamic package projects Saab's familiar three-port grille up front on a shapely hood followed by a big cabin that culminates with rear windows which seem to wrap around the rear roof pillars. Inside, the plush cab sets two bucket seats in front of a bench for three that splits and folds, with a generous cargo bay in back. Standard powertrain for 9-7x Linear is a 4.2-liter V6 that delivers 275 hp with a GM Hydra-Matic four-speed automatic transmission. The 9-7x Arc shows more muscle from a 5.3-liter V8 spiked to 300 hp. The wagon employs a smart AWD system that distributes engine torque between front and rear wheels. Also on-board is a standard limited-slip differential at the rear, self-leveling rear air suspension and vented disc brakes with four-wheel ABS.

Saab 9-5
2005 Saab 9-5

Cars in Saab's flagship series include a luxurious four-door sedan and the five-door SportWagon with elegant appointments aboard and performance gear on top editions. The SportWagon for 2005 splits into three versions labeled Linear, Arc and Aero; with Linear as the standard, Arc for luxurious touring and Aero tipped toward performance. The 9-5 sedan shows Arc and Aero issues. The SportWagon Linear has soft leather upholstery, heated front seats and twin automatic climate zones. It also carries such standard mechanical assets as an anti-lock brake system (ABS), electronic traction control (TCS) and Saab's electronic stability program (ESP). Arc editions get perforated leather seats while the Aero brings bolstered sport buckets.

The engine for the 9-5 Aero -- a high-output turbo-charged 2.3-liter four-cylinder plant -- pushes 250 hp and ties to either a manual five-speed or Saab's automatic Sentronic five-speed with control tabs on the steering wheel for thumb and finger shifting. Other 9-5 models stock a 2.3-liter light-pressure turbo four that achieves 185 hp with standard manual shifter or optional automatic. A new DVD-based navigation system is available this year, along with new exterior paint colors like Parchment Silver and Chili Red.

Saab 9-2
2005 Saab 9-2X

Conformed as a five-door hatchback, Saab's new entry-level product is packaged as a fun-to-drive vehicle rigged with sticky AWD traction and optional turbo power. The newest Saab actually comes together in Japan, rather than Sweden, in a collaboration between Saab and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (Fuji) with its automotive division, Subaru. There are two versions. The entry issue 9-2x Linear uses a Subaru 2.5-liter horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine scored to 165 hp, while 9-2x Aero fires up a 2.0-liter horizontal-four turbo to make 227 hp. The Aero 9-2x also has a viscous limited-slip differential at the rear plus ABS brakes.

Both models carry a rear cargo bay and foldable back seat that expands the compartment to 61 cubic feet. The area is designed to carry the equipment of an active lifestyle such as surfboards, skis, bikes or camping gear. Standard equipment for Linear includes aluminum alloy wheels, air conditioning, power controls for windows and door locks, plus an audio kit with CD player. Aero adds paraphernalia like fog lamps, aluminum pedals, sport buckets and a six-disc in-dash CD changer.

Read our Review: Saab 9-2x