Yet ANOTHER 9-7x test – in a blizzard

Sometimes you plan for one thing and another thing happens all together. A few weeks ago I planned on driving the new 9-3 V6 Aero for a few hours, mostly around town and a couple of sprints around a few local streets. That turned into Matt ‘The Fudgepacker’ and I chasing each other around Mt Wellington using the Aero and my own Viggen as both cat and mouse.

I’m sure that when Scott Wasser (nj.com) picked up a 9-7x for evaluation he counted on a similar sort of thing. A decent ride around to test the long-haul capability and otherwise using the vehicle to just get about and facilitate normal daily life.

What he got instead was one of the worst blizzards in New York for some time. Well, when life gives you lemons – make lemonade. Wasser took the 9-7x out for a run in up to 18 inches of snow in places. On mostly empty streets and highways, he got to test the stability and traction controls in real life tests rather than simulations:

The Saab’s performance was impressive. Beginning on a side street blanketed by about 15 inches of snow, the 9-7X effortlessly exited a driveway. Proceeding slowly, there was almost no slipping or sliding as I turned and headed toward a wider street. This one had been plowed, but there still was close to a foot on the ground and no sand or salt to boost traction. The 9-7X provided great grip as it accelerated.

By the time I reached a gently curving highway entrance ramp, my speed was 35 mph. I slowed while approaching the ramp, which was covered with hard-packed snow. Since the area was deserted and the 9-7X felt surefooted, I got frisky. As I entered the ramp, I nudged the throttle and elicited the intended reaction from the 9-7X. It started to fishtail a bit before its Stabilitrack anti-skid program –standard equipment on the Saab — kicked in.

A few minutes later, I also was able to test its four-wheel antilock disc brakes. Another desolate highway ramp covered with hard-pack –this one an exit — provided an opportunity to brake later than any prudent driver would have done so. As expected, the dual-caliper pistons squeezed the vented 13-inch discs and locked the wheels. But the ABS circuitry kicked in immediately, pumping the brakes to help me retain steering control while halting the vehicle in a surprisingly short distance.

I was impressed.

It’s a great read. The 9-7x impressed Wasser for several consecutive days, not just in the snow test. He’s complimentary of the SUV in general, as well as the adjustments made by Saab in particular (ride, interior etc).

The 9-7x certainly seems to be winning over a lot of fans if the tests published in the last week or so are any indication. My guess is that none of the journos are Saab traditionalists, but who cares. It’s about time GM kicked a goal with Saab and if the writeups are anything to go by, they might have done so in the US market with the 9-7x.

More power to ’em.

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1 Comment

  1. Yes, I am one of those Saab purist/traditionalists that lament GM rebadging a Chevy trailblazer (built in Ohio, not Sweden) and calling it a Saab, but that being said–I was impressed with both the drivetrain and fit and finish of the 9-7X. I think Saab realized the folly of the 9-2X being built by Subaru and that it was only a Saab on the surface, but other than the sheetmetal, it was a Suby all the way.
    As for the 9-7 the upgrades in suspension, power, and quality interior materials (and a center-console mounted ignition) demonstated Saab’s commitment to co-opting another GM platform the right way.
    15″ of snow? I would expect that anything of the drawing boards in Trollhattan would be a champ at handling winter conditions.

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