IMPORTANT NEWS: National Electric Vehicle Sweden has agreed to buy the assets of Saab Automobile and the sale is expected to be finalized during the summer.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Saab 9-5 SportCombi vs. generic design

Okay, so after days writing about retirements, payment troubles and generally anything but cars, let's change focus and look at one thing that makes the new Saab 9-5 SportCombi so unique and classy.

In my opinion, in the last 10 years car design has become more and more generic. Soon you can't see the difference between an Audi and a Toyota. And that's not Audi's fault. Audi, together with BMW, Mercedes, Volvo, Saab and some other brands, have design cues that they hold on to. But many other brands, and maybe especially Asian brands, look to European car design and tries their best to give their cars a European touch.

Saab has some design cue that has been with them the last forty years: Hockey stick roof line, the wedge like stance, sloping C-pillars and rear window, wraparound windshield, three piece grille with a wing in the middle, front lights that sweep over to the sides. Even Saab has launched cars that haven't been 100 percent true to Saab's design cues, but these cues are more or less the Saab characteristics.

So over to the new 9-5 SportCombi. What makes this car so special? From the front and all the way to the rear doors it is more or less similar to the Sedan. But let's look from the C-pillars (the pillars behind the rear doors) and further back.

Here Saab use a modern take on the same design as on the previous Saab 9-5 SportCombi and more or less the same as on the upcoming 9-4X. The C-pillars are painted in the same color as the body and run from the roof and down to the rear arches, just like on the sedan version. From the C-pillars and back the windows and D-pillars are "blacked out". They look like a whole. It's only the roof line that is painted the same color as the body.

Picture "stolen" from Golfhunter at flickr.

First look at the picture of the Saab 9-5 SportCombi above, and then scroll down and look at the Audi A6 (Audi is coming with a replacement but it will probably look more or less the same), the BMW 5-series touring and the Mercedes E-class. They (and almost all other wagons like Skoda Superb, VW Passat, Toyota Avensis, Mazda 6, Peugeot 508, Citroen C5, Ford Mondeo, Opel Insignia etc etc) basically use the same generic design solution at the rear! Saab is a breath of fresh air in a gray mass of Wagons.

Also notice how flat the windshield are on all these cars except the Saab. That's another nice design element that makes the Saab unique.