For 2006, the Saab 9-5 receives a mild makeover and a trimming of the line-up. The Linear, Arc and Aero trim lines of 2005 are merged into a single model, offered in Sedan or SportCombi (wagon) body styles. All are powered by 2.3-litre inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine that has a 10 horsepower increase over 2005. Both Sedan and SportCombi use a five-speed manual that can be optioned to a five-speed automatic.

Other changes include new hood, fascias, front and rear lamps, front fenders, tailgate and trunk lid; a new instrument panel appearance; new interior door handles, steering wheel and door panel trim inserts; standard MP3 capability; 17-inch wheels; a Sport Package with sport chassis, sport seats and metallic interior trim; a larger anti-roll bar and softer springs on the standard chassis; and Parchment interior colour replaces Sand Beige.

Both models can be ordered with the Sport Package, or with the Visibility Package, which includes Xenon headlamps, rain-sensing wipers and rear parking assist.

Both Sedan and SportCombi include leather seating, leather-wrapped wheel, cooled and lockable glove compartment, dual-zone automatic climate control, power front seats with driver’s-side three-position memory, power windows, heated mirrors, six-CD system with wheel-mounted audio controls, split folding rear seat, power locks with remote, anti-theft alarm with immobilizer and, on the Sedan, a rear-seat centre armrest with pass-through.

The Saab 9-5’s freshening breathes a bit of new life into this sedan, which offers supportive seats, a supple ride, crisp steering, and in the SportCombi, the added functionality of a nicely-sized wagon. Although its front-wheel-drive configuration isn’t to the liking of many enthusiasts, it offers a viable alternative to many higher-priced sedans and wagons, and with a nameplate that may be quirky to some but also means quality.

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