From Abba's uncomplicated pop music to Ikea's follow-the-arrow shopping, Swedish exports are famous for simplicity. Simple, though, the 9-5 lineup was not, so the refreshed 2006 edition of Saab
's flagship is offered in just one trim (2.3T) and two body styles (sedan and SportCombi wagon). There's only one engine-a 2.3-liter turbo four, even though the smaller, less-expensive 9-3 can be had with a turbo V-6.
Saab claims it made 1367 alterations to the 9-5, including a wider rear track, a cabin makeover, and cleaner front and rear styling. With retuned dampers, springs, and antiroll bars plus quicker steering, this latest 9-5 is more responsive and handles better. But the car still suffers from torque steer-most noticeable during overtaking maneuvers-and an overly floaty ride, an issue even with the Sport package.
Ultimately, all of the changes add up to a better car, and Saab's simplified product strategy makes sense in a crowded entry-luxury market. But with the current car dating back to 1998, an all-new 9-5 is long past due.
SPECSPrice: $34,820 (Sedan), $35,820 (SportCombi)
Engine: Turbo 2.3L I-4, 260 hp, 258 lb-ft