What's Next for the Swedes

#Saab, #S60

Design Analysis - Saab 9-5 and Volvo S60
Where Volvo's S60 looks small, agile, and aerodynamic, Saab's 9-5 looks big, heavy, and rather blunt, as one might expect from General Motors. After all, GM simply restyled Opels (and Subarus and Chevrolets) into ill-fitting Saab suits. But the Saab's drag coefficient is likely better than the more coupelike Volvo's.

These latest models are curiously alike in concept and execution: front corners beveled off in plan view, windowsills rising to the rear, quite similar lower openings in the front fascias. Their door handles even look interchangeable, although they're (probably) not. Both are handsome in generic, non-marque-specific ways, and both should do well in the marketplace, although not necessarily with their traditional buyers. - Robert Cumberford

1: Seen from the same angle, the Saab's taillight triangle points up, the Volvo's down.

2: Complete blackout of front and side glass surround on the Saab contrasts with chrome outline and simple pillar blackout on the S60.

3: A major difference is the almost-flat Volvo windshield against the very rounded in plan view Saab, much like old 99 through 900 models.

4: Both meet European pedestrian-strike safety standards, but with different solutions. The Saab is high and flatter on top, the Volvo lower with a bulging centerline profile.

5: The front corners of both cars are cut back for better aerodynamics, a tighter turning circle between walls, and to give some visual thrust to their short front ends.

6: Same side crease line for door stiffening, but the Saab's is negative below, Volvo's above.

7a: A subtle crease on the 9-5 runs from taillight to front wheelhouse bulge, washes out, and is barely picked up again at rear of headlamp.

7b: The Volvo's crease is continuous, more pronounced, and has a sinuous curve that recalls the Audi A5.

8: Another very different treatment is the driving light in the air inlet on the 9-5 and on the side of the grille-shell molding on the Volvo.

9: The trapezoidal lower center opening on both cars is much the same. The Saab is more elaborately worked, with a crossbar, but there is a difference in size for outer air inlets

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