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Discussion Starter #1
Expanding my MDX comparison shopping beyond ML320 and Volvo XC...

I wonder whether anyone in the forum has a perspective on Saabs in general, and the 9-5 Wagon in particular (01 or 02). I have never driven a Saab (I have owned audi, mb, odyssey). While walking the floor of an auto show, I came across a Saab 9-5 wagon. I believe it was a 2002 "Arc", the 3 liter turbo (200 hp), stickered for around $40k. The high-performance 250hp Aero tops out around $43k.

The reviews in various magazines in US and UK are favorable to driving, handling, and winter performance, such as it is with a front driver.

Visually, the most impressive aspect of the 9-5 wagon, to me, is the knockout interior, in tan leather and a beautiful walnut panel across the whole dash. I believe a wood wheel is a dealer option. Very handsome, spacious, airy cabin. Seats are typical swedish comfort and support. These seats were perf'ed and ventilated and heated.

Rear seat room is quite spacious (36.8" legroom) for a sedan or wagon, though still falls short of MDX, and of course MDX is much wider.

The wagon is about the same length overall as the MDX, and with seats folded down, rates 73 cu ft of cargo (9 ft less than MDX?). No 3rd row, of course. 37cu ft with seats up.

Safety features include special whiplash-protection headrests, dual-stage & side airbags, traction control and new for 2002, Elect. Stablilty Control. OnStar is included. Bi-xenons were optional. Pretty good IIHS results, not as strong as MDX, but Good in most categories (including head restraint). Bumpers didn't compare favorably.

MPG @ 18/26 for the V6t, and probably similar good pickup, with a new 5sp auto, like MDX 0-60. Car and Driver said the hi-performance Aero pulled .86g on the skidpad, so there seems to be a strong bias towards flat cornering and handling at speed in a Saab wagon.

Insurance for the 9-5 Wagon, per progressive.com, is about 20% less expensive than MDX. Also includes free 3yr/36k maintenance.

Plusses:
Good feature content, safe, nice interior. Stability/Traction/Onstar. Insurance, gas, & maintenance savings.

Minuses:
Overall capacity. no 4wd. No 3rd row. Ground clearance.

Unknowns for me:
Don't know how it drives or have any idea regarding reliability and ownership/dealer experience.

Any Saab owners with any sob stories to relate? Anyone else cross-shop MDX against these wagons?
 

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I too considered the Saab. I find the Saab interior very beautiful and I really like the exterior. It is a little smaller inside than the MDX and of course is fwd.

I currently have a 2000 Acura TL and am considering a wagon or a MDX. My short list includes a Saab, a Volvo an Audi or an MDX.

I think the MDX wins out for the over all mix of features, cargo room and price.

The Saab is very expensive for what you get. There have been reliability problems and the safety ratings are actually lower than the MDX, Check out the IIHS ratings: http://www.hwysafety.org/vehicle_ratings/ce/html/0113.htm

While the MDX is too similar to the TL and lacks the interior wow factor of the Saab or Audi, my practical nature has won out in favour of the MDX
 

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smart choice brightTL. welcome to the board. I can't really comment about the Saab b/c it was not on my short list-mainly because of the fact that its too small for us, a poor reliability record, and the fact that it is owned by GM. I did check out the volvo cross country but, again it was too small, expensive, ugly grill, and i just don't want a turbo in my wagon/suv. if i was buying a weekend sports car toy, then i would consider a turbo charged engine.

just my 2 cents.
 

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If you're looking at AWD wagons, please don't overlook the Subaru Outback LL Bean or Outback VDC, or the Volkswagon Passat 4motion wagons.

The high-end Subarus have nice interiors at a price significantly lower than a Volvo AWD wagon, though they're somewhat smaller inside. The VDC has Subaru's implementation of stability control and can be bought not far above invoice nowadays. Should be much more reliable in the long run than the Saab and the Volvo.

The VW wagon has Audi's excellent quattro system in it, lacking only stability control (which Audi has now begun to add to U.S. models). While not as luxurious as an Audi's interior, the VW's interior is very good. Could use a bit more power, but at least there's no turbo in it (only comes with the V6). Reliability is probably going to be average on it.
 

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I looked at the Subaru Outback v6, VDC, and all the other options and the Volkswagon Passat wagon with the v6, 4motion, and all of the other things. They were very impressive, but the MDX won out because of the extra space (which is sometimes needed in our family) and I felt as if I were getting much more for my money. The Passat and the Outback are both very good cars all around and I would recommend them, but the MDX was just better suited for my family. The Audi Allroad is also a good car to consider, it has all of the amazing Audi features, but also with what Audi calls ESP. I sat in the Audi and it has the amazing interior that you were talking about in the Saab. It is definately worthwhile lookind at the Audi.
 

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I have a 97 Saab 900SE hatchback (the precursor to the 9-3). I really like the way it drives, and it can fit a surprising amount of stuff in it for a smaller car.
I just picked up my MDX, and although I haven't had time to bond with it since picking it up (a business trip the next day, then home 4 days before my wife went into labor on Dec. 12th), I'm really happy with it.
I considered the 9-5 wagon, since I like my 9-3 so much. It's a little more expensive than the MDX, even the endof year 2001 model. I test drove one about 2 months ago, and it felt much less sporty than my 900. I actually prefer the drive ont he MDX. No argument that the 9-5 looks good, but the benefits of the MDX (4wd, 3rd seat, more capacity, seating up high) won me over. I don't regret my choice!
I still enjoy driving my little Saab too. As for the Audi allroad A6, I just saw one today and agree its nice looking, but too small for me (and I like the passat wagon for less money).
 

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Saab Owner Responds

I've driven a 9-5 wagon for three years. The lease is up in a few months and I'm shopping now, and considering a new Aero wagon, and Audi allroad, or an MDX.

The 9-5 was my fourth Saab, and by far the best. I had the base model, with the 185 hp turbo four. Adequate power, great ride, fair handling, good low-end torque, great in snow, and nice overall size for kids and cargo. I'm craving the third seat in the MDX, but have never been much of an SUV fan and can't do the minivan thang.

I think the Saab is the best value among the European wagons. The only problem I had was a stubborn air bag warning light that took three trips to the dealer to fix. Otherwise a really nice car. I may just keep it a few more years.
 

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What I want to know is why are we comparing an MDX which is a light duty SUV to a WAGON????????????????

Please.............If you want to compare wagons compare it to Subarus, VW, Volvos, Fords, etc etc etc....Sh*t...compare even to a Honda Accord Wagon BUT PLEASE dont compare it to an MDX.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
epilogue, Saab vs MDX

I went with the Saab today, actually ended up with a 9-5 Sedan, 2002 3.0t Arc. With the fold-down back seat, there is ample cargo room for my needs. Ended up with a fantastic price, thousands less than what I could get an MDX for despite both having equal MSRP's, and in the final analysis I didn't need a 3rd row seat, and preferred the Saab interior, FWD with Electronic Stability/Traction Control will be fine for my weather issues, and I liked the OnStar and the interior amenities and the comfort, safety, and driveability of the Saab. Saab also was better on my trade, Acura was talking down the idea of a trade, projecting a very low value.

Finally, had a discouraging 2nd visit to Austin Acura. Despite being on their list for a month, never received a single phone call or status update. Drove out there over the holiday to see any inventory for myself, and my salesman didn't even recognize me. And I was the one who drove an MB 320 onto his lot for him to look at the first time I visited. What a fumble. Unsolicited advice: Go to San Antonio if you want an MDX in Central TX, Gunn would treat you better and you don't have the traffic snarls getting to it that you do in Austin, or the vacant stares when you do arrive.

Thanks for the discussion from this group, much appreciated.

PS -- Fireblade6, your plea for people to avoid comparing SUV's and wagons doesn't change the fact that many people cross-shop all kinds of vehicles. This isn't a science, or a spec-sheet automated process. Many factors go into the decision, and when there are lots of wagons that offer some combination of AWD, great cargo room, terrific style, excellent driveability, ground clearance, seating for 7, as good or better economy/emissions, great price/value, and quality dealership and sales experience, you bet they are absolutely going to be cross-shopped with SUV's. Why limit your choices? You'd miss a lot in life! I had a great time testing and comparing, and it gives me ideas when I'm ready for "what's next" in several years.
 

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Well Said

Couldn't agree more. I'm completely undecided between the MDX and a new 9-5 Wagon. Put a deposit down on a new MDX yesterday, but spent today wondering if the Saab wasn't the better overall call. The comparison makes perfect sense to me, and they are both great vehicles.

I was especially interested in your comments regarding the Saab dealer's willingness to horse-trade. That may tip the balance.

Enjoy the 9-5
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Saab horsetrading

Bumpjump,

Since you already own/lease a Saab, you'll have pretty good leverage at the dealer. I know in Jan there are at least the following:

- 0% financing
- $2k customer cash rebate from GM (not sure if this is in addition...)
- As a Saab customer, I think there's another $1k Loyalty discount, too.

The kicker is whether there will be any "dealer cash" from GM to Saab in Q1. I expect so. In december, they ran a "2002 Preview Promo", with $4k in dealer cash. They put that on top of the deal I negotiated -- invoice price, and a good trade value. It ended Jan 2. I may have had more leverage because of the Sedan, if you went for the top of the line Wagon (Aero), they'll deal but perhaps not as strongly, those aren't in the same volume production as the lesser models. But then, you'd be getting the best Saab and a more rare, special vehicle, too. I'd say it's worth it.

The 02 Aero will have a 250hp engine, and a 5sp Auto available. I love the new tranny, very responsive.

Good luck with your choice, either way you aren't going to make a "mistake", but the Saab will leave more $$ in your pocket.

Sorr for all the Saab talk, this is an Acura board! www.saabnet.com is a good forum if you need more opinions...
 
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