NORCROSS, Ga. - There are many products engineered to be versatile and functional, but few that are simultaneously valued for their distinctive design. The Swiss Army KnifeTM is one rare example - the Saab 9-5 Wagon is another. Featuring a wide range of features and options that provide a level of versatility once thought only available in an SUV, the Saab 9-5 Wagon proves form and function can go hand-in-hand.
Unlike many wagon versions of cars, the Saab 9-5 Wagon is not just an add-on design. Even though it shares many components with the Saab 9-5 Sedan, the Saab 9-5 Wagon was planned, conceived and styled separately as a wagon from the very beginning. It features a roof and rear doors that are different from the sedan model.
This relative clean-sheet approach is why the design works as a whole. There are no awkward shapes or strange add-on solutions. The new car offers everything that a Wagon in the segment needs - delivered in a Saab package.
Aerodynamics and Visual Appeal Led Exterior Design
"We wanted to give the Saab 9-5 Wagon a more dynamic feel than what is usually found in a wagon. Instead of aiming for a box-like load-carrier, we decided to go for something with a visual appeal worthy of the Saab brand", says Simon Padian, one of the designers at Saab Automobile responsible for the exterior and interior design of the new Saab 9-5 Wagon.
With a drag coefficient of only 0.31, the new Saab 9-5 Wagon places itself among the very best in the premium wagon segment.
The sleek aerodynamic properties of the Saab 9-5 Wagon are immediately apparent when looking at the design of the rear of the car. A lot of effort has been put into designing a car that will pass through the air with as little friction as possible. Most of the attention was concentrated on the rear edge of the roof, because the airflow at the rear has a great effect on both drag and lift forces. After numerous experiments and testing in wind tunnels and on high-speed test tracks, Saab engineers found that a small "lip" would provide a distinct separation of the airflow at the rear roof edge. "We had expected that a slight drop-off at the rear end of the roof would be the most efficient way of leading the airflow down and reduce turbulent airflow," said Padian. "But after a lot of development work and experiments, we found that a small Ôlip' at the rear end gave the result we wanted: A clear separation of airflow. This design reduced drag without adding any lift forces."
High Speed Stability and Low Wind Noise
A great deal of effort was also put into perfecting the curvature around the corners of the car, especially around the D-pillars. The Saab 9-5 Wagon's design is very successful at providing the car with a clear separation of airflow around the sides, adding to the stability of the car at high speed. Both the aerodynamics and high-speed characteristics have gone through extensive and extremely successful testing in wind tunnels and at the Nardo high-speed test track in Italy.
The 9-5 Wagon's sleek aerodynamics have also greatly reduced wind noise to such low levels that Saab engineers had to find the quietest wind tunnels to even get a reading, because operational background noises were too high. The end result is a high performance, sleek and dynamic wagon that is also one of the roomiest and most functional in its class.
Flexible Cargo Capacity
Saab's designers also placed high concentration on the vehicle's interior design. For starters, the 9-5 Wagon's cargo loading area is flexible and adaptable. For normal loading, with the rear seat up, the 9-5 Wagon offers class-leading cargo capacity of 37 cubic feet. The floor is flat, without awkward corners to limit space. For increased cargo area, both sides of the split fold-down rear seat can be quickly folded or removed entirely. With the rear seat fully folded, the 9-5 Wagon provides a generous 72.9 cubic feet of space.
Loading cargo is easy thanks to the low loading height and optional sturdy sliding floor that can be rolled out nearly 20 inches. This optional load floor, when fully extended, can support up to 440 pounds, making it possible for two adults to sit comfortably on it or use it as a table for a picnic or tailgate party. The loading area is equipped with a replaceable extended rubbing strip on the upper surface of the rear bumper to minimize the risk of scratching the paint when loading and unloading the car. Additionally, the tailgate requires little lifting effort and opens high enough for an average adult to stand beneath it. For loading and unloading at night, the tailgate will illuminate the cargo area inside the car, as well as the surrounding loading area.
The cargo area also features a standard rigid, foldable parcel shelf that fully covers the cargo. It provides additional loading flexibility by allowing the driver to store items on top of it. The thick shelf also helps insulate the passenger compartment from road noise.
For additional cargo carrying flexibility and versatility, a number of cargo handling accessories such as straps, elastic nets, cargo guards and a complete roof rack system are available for the car.
The Saab 9-5 Wagon features an innovation from the aircraft industry called CargoTracks. This unique, standard mounting system forms the basis for safe and versatile loading in the Saab 9-5 Wagon. CargoTracks are a pair of special aluminum rails embedded into the floor of the cargo area. They utilize adjustable one-grip locks and load securing belts to make sure that cargo doesn't shift under emergency braking or during an accident. Load straps and an elastic loading net that fit the one-grip locks are available as accessories. When the CargoTracks aren't used, specially designed covers keep them clean and ready for their next use.
Versatile on the Inside, Too
Saab designers also included a high level of versatility inside the 9-5 Wagon's passenger compartment. Eleven storage spaces include bins in the lower front door panels, stowage pockets under the leading edge of the front seats, map pockets in the seatbacks, a large glove box , and a bin under the hinged lid of the front center armrest. There are also small elastic net pockets on the lower part of each B-pillar to store a compact umbrella or folded magazine. Four cupholders are standard. There are also four storage compartments in the rear cargo area of the 9-5.
A duct from the air conditioning system is fed to the glove compartment to keep drinks chilled or chocolate bars from melting in hot weather. Fully open, the sliding vent can chill the glove compartment to about refrigerator temperature, or 42 degrees F. In addition, customers can order the 9-5 Wagon with an extra power outlet and cooler, and take lunch or dinner along - chilled until it's time to dine.