That’s ‘Darwin’ theory reversed……
I’ve latched onto a thread commenced by Edusaab over at SaabCentral. Eduard is a passionate Saab fan from Spain and always makes his arguments with plenty of feeling. His point here, and I think it’s one that’s well worth making, is that the commonality between GM interiors is an unwelcome trend as far as Saab is concerned.
Distinctiveness has always been a hallmark of the Saab brand. The sharing of highly visible componentry between brands is more of a devolution than an evolution, hence the headline.
Let’s see some examples, shall we?
Here’s the Cadillac BLS interior:
Finally, the interior that will apparently grace the new Saab 9-5 (sorry about the small size).
What’s interesting to see is that the 9-5 appears to have the same steering wheel as the 9-3 and the same controls for ACC and audio as the Cadillac. There’s similar entertainment units available on the Buick Lucerne, Saturn Aura concept and the Pontiac Solstice (pictures here).
Call it snobbery if you like, but I cannot see how this helps the Saab brand.
What’s more, the controls look out of place in the Saab cockpit. That steering wheel might suit the sportier 9-3, but lacks the refinement I’d have wanted in a 9-5. Go take a look again at the 9-5 interior shot, above. It’s a real concern to me that the interior lacks a certain amount of symmetry within the design. The Nav panel, for instance, is way off-centre compared with the instruments around it. The grey panel it sits on bears little or no relationship, size-wise, to the air vents above it or the ACC controls below it. In short, it looks like it was put together by a 5th grade meccano class.
Have a look at the 9-3 interior above it. See how the Nav Panel and buttons relate to the other elements of the dashboard around them. Everything appears to be in proportion and balanced. Even the Caddy features a distinct centre section with balanced positioning of the various controls. The same can’t be said for the current picture of the 9-5.
Whilst there’s been much more acceptance of the exterior shots, a few people have commented on various pictures saying “oh well, it’s only for a few years”. I fear that I have to feel the same way about the interior if this photo is accurate.
I don’t mind some parts sharing with upper-eschelon models, and I don’t necessarily thing that the generic dashboard components are unattractive. My problem is that Saab’s DNA is rooted in a distinct order where form follows function and both are centred around the needs of the driver – not exclusively around the needs of a bean-counter that got a bulk deal from Radios-R-Us.