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Discussion Starter #1
Saab lovers, one and all, I've come across the opportunity to upgrade if you will, to another Saab in the very near future. I've been happily driving my '99 Saab 9-3 hatch (manual) for the last year without so much as a whimper in problems.

While I love hatches, I've recently had the chance to test drive a local 2004 Saab 9-5 wagon for sale, an Arc at that. While it's not the much coveted Aero wagon, it is nonetheless well maintained and comes in the beautiful Glacier Blue Metallic.

I'm not asking which is better, nor to start a thread on which is superior. I love both cars, but can only own one. For those of you who have owned both, I'd love to hear your insight into why you switched, or for that matter, why you like each car.
 

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Comparing a 1997 NG900 with a 2003 9-5 wagon, the 9-5 is obviously more solid and secure on the highway. The 9-5 feels a bit heavy and oversized for urban driving. There's a lot of instrument and control similarities between the two cars.


The supply of parts for NG900 is getting scarce, and I would expect the OG9-3 to follow. The 9-5 is still reasonably well supplied.


By 2004, the 9-5 was starting to be decontented. I would look carefully at the condition of the upholstery.


The one 9-5 feature that is great, and not available on any 9-3, are the ventilated seats. If the car you are looking at has them, that's a big bonus.
 

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Is this the Glacier Blue wagon that's on OfferUp? I asked the seller for a few more pictures of it since I was looking for a reason to buy it myself. :cheesy: Unfortunately it didn't have anything tempting enough for me, like ventilated seats. I have a '97 900 and a pair of 9-5s. One of the 9-5s is my daily driver since I have two little kids and it makes a much better family car, mostly because it's bigger and is more comfortable to drive, even in the Aero trim. I really like the size of the NG900/9-3, but by today's standards, even a 9-5 is tiny. My main complaints about the 900 are that the rear suspension is archaic and it crashes over bumps, and no matter what I do, the front suspension parts just don't last. The 9-5 is more work to maintain with all of its bushings, and the interior parts, while very nice when new, don't age particularly well, especially the soft-touch buttons on the SID, radio, and ACC. The 9-5 also isn't as much fun to drive, but it's fast, and it keeps up just fine with today's 300+ hp family sedans and SUVs. I can't always say the same about my NG900, even with a stage 4 tune. I can get left in the dust at a stoplight by most any newer economy car, unless I completely abuse the clutch. On the freeway, it's a completely different story.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Is this the Glacier Blue wagon that's on OfferUp? I asked the seller for a few more pictures of it since I was looking for a reason to buy it myself. :cheesy: Unfortunately it didn't have anything tempting enough for me, like ventilated seats. I have a '97 900 and a pair of 9-5s. One of the 9-5s is my daily driver since I have two little kids and it makes a much better family car, mostly because it's bigger and is more comfortable to drive, even in the Aero trim. I really like the size of the NG900/9-3, but by today's standards, even a 9-5 is tiny. My main complaints about the 900 are that the rear suspension is archaic and it crashes over bumps, and no matter what I do, the front suspension parts just don't last. The 9-5 is more work to maintain with all of its bushings, and the interior parts, while very nice when new, don't age particularly well, especially the soft-touch buttons on the SID, radio, and ACC. The 9-5 also isn't as much fun to drive, but it's fast, and it keeps up just fine with today's 300+ hp family sedans and SUVs. I can't always say the same about my NG900, even with a stage 4 tune. I can get left in the dust at a stoplight by most any newer economy car, unless I completely abuse the clutch. On the freeway, it's a completely different story.
Jeremy, you are correct. This particular 9-5 wagon is the one advertised on OfferUp. I went to see it and do a quick test drive in it last week, and while it is nice, it probably isn't enough to tempt me to give up my 9-3.

To my surprise, my OG 9-3 was a bit quieter. As many have mentioned, the 9-5 platform is solid and makes a great highway cruiser. The car's front end felt like it needed shock replacement, but otherwise drove just fine.

So in all likelihood, I'll hang onto my 9-3 and upgrade it in stages: I know the rear sway bar is highly recommended, as is a suspension swap, among other things. I'll order up a GS sway bar for starters. As for ECU upgrades, I've looked at Brew City, but if anyone has any feedback on their ECU experiences, I'd love to hear about them.

Jeremy, I'm in Bellevue, so you're not far away. . .
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Comparing a 1997 NG900 with a 2003 9-5 wagon, the 9-5 is obviously more solid and secure on the highway. The 9-5 feels a bit heavy and oversized for urban driving. There's a lot of instrument and control similarities between the two cars.


The supply of parts for NG900 is getting scarce, and I would expect the OG9-3 to follow. The 9-5 is still reasonably well supplied.


By 2004, the 9-5 was starting to be decontented. I would look carefully at the condition of the upholstery.


The one 9-5 feature that is great, and not available on any 9-3, are the ventilated seats. If the car you are looking at has them, that's a big bonus.

EdT - thank you for your insightful thoughts on the 9-5. In following SC, I know you are one of the more knowledgeable on here, and for that, I really do appreciate your input.
 

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So in all likelihood, I'll hang onto my 9-3 and upgrade it in stages: I know the rear sway bar is highly recommended, as is a suspension swap, among other things. I'll order up a GS swap bar for starters. As for ECU upgrades, I've looked at Brew City, but if anyone has any feedback on their ECU experiences, I'd love to hear about them.

Jeremy, I'm in Bellevue, so you're not far away. . .
Hanging onto your car isn't a bad idea. I've done a lot of work to my 900 over the years. It's a completely different car than it was when I bought it, and I still love it! If I had a Cosmic Blue one, I'd really have a hard time getting rid of it. :cheesy: I test drove a 2004 9-5 Aero wagon a couple of years ago with the thought of getting rid of my NG900 if I liked it. It checked all the boxes. It had the more aggressive-looking 2004-2005 front bumper, the rare bridge spoiler on the back, and the more heavily bolstered Aero seats with ventilation, but it was a silver car with a monochromatic light grey interior, and it was just too boring looking. Amazingly enough, my wife doesn't want me to sell my NG900, so I'm hanging onto it for when I get to go places by myself or with just my daughter, who loves riding in a booster seat in the back, and the Aero wagon for family trips. I'd have a hard time picking just one, but if I found a 2004-2005 Aero wagon in a more interesting color than silver or black, and with something besides the light grey interior, I might consider getting rid of my NG900.

If you ever need some help working on your car, let me know! I'm in North Seattle.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Hanging onto your car isn't a bad idea. I've done a lot of work to my 900 over the years. It's a completely different car than it was when I bought it, and I still love it! If I had a Cosmic Blue one, I'd really have a hard time getting rid of it. :cheesy: I test drove a 2004 9-5 Aero wagon a couple of years ago with the thought of getting rid of my NG900 if I liked it. It checked all the boxes. It had the more aggressive-looking 2004-2005 front bumper, the rare bridge spoiler on the back, and the more heavily bolstered Aero seats with ventilation, but it was a silver car with a monochromatic light grey interior, and it was just too boring looking. Amazingly enough, my wife doesn't want me to sell my NG900, so I'm hanging onto it for when I get to go places by myself or with just my daughter, who loves riding in a booster seat in the back, and the Aero wagon for family trips. I'd have a hard time picking just one, but if I found a 2004-2005 Aero wagon in a more interesting color than silver or black, and with something besides the light grey interior, I might consider getting rid of my NG900.

If you ever need some help working on your car, let me know! I'm in North Seattle.
Jeremy, I see we have similar tastes in Saabs. The 9-3 reminds me of my older C900 in some ways, at least the hatchback configuration. Mind you, the 9-3 is a more refined ride and doesn't have the raw feeling of driving like the 900.

As for the 04-05 9-5 wagon, my thoughts exactly. Those years hit the styling high mark in my book, as you so keenly have observed.

While I don't have a deadline, I'm ready to start adding bits & pieces to my trusty 9-3 soon. I'll order the sway bar, and if I'm lucky, maybe someone will put up some Konis/Bilsteins I can grab. If not, I'll just add what I can in stages.

Thanks for the generous offer to help out with my Saab. I'd love to glean some of your knowledge.
 
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