Another happy 9-7x reviewer

Regulars to this site will know that I’m a fan of the 9-7x. I’ve read the complaints of the purists and I’ve read the reviews as well as writings from the few people that own one and have sought out the online Saab community. There’s a few threads over on SaabCentral that just baffle me sometimes. The occasional owner of a 9-7x drops in, says hi, and cops a barrage about how his new vehicle is a load of shite etc etc.

I’m not a fan of big SUVs and I’m certainly not the target market for such a vehicle. With the fact that Saab did need to get into the market, and given the base they started with, I think they’ve done a remarkable job. It certainly seems to be well received by those that take the time to drive it.

One of the things that keeps popping up in the various reviews of the 9-7x that I read is that the 9-7x is quite distinct from it’s GM900 siblings. Yes, you know it’s related. But the trim and most importantly, the ride, are quite different and consistently reported as a marked improvement over the rest of the GM stable.

Put simply, the consensus opinion from my reading seems to be that the 9-7x is GM’s best midsize SUV on the market. And that’s the way it should be. Whether you like this class of vehicles or not, the important thing for Saab USA (and other markets that are now receiving the vehicle) is that the Saab satisfies the needs of everyone that IS looking for a vehicle in that class.

You’re a fan of a struggling automaker that’s re-engineered a vehicle and introduced it, with distinction, as its own. What would you prefer, Mr Purist? That a customer should leave your struggling automaker for an XC90, or an X5, both of which the 9-7x has been compared favourably to – by owners.

Sounds like a no-brainer to me. Live and let live. As long as Saab do the job properly and the consumer is happy, then the 9-7x’s business has no conflict with my business and I wish it well.

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This latest test is from a publication I haven’t seen before, called LiveArticles. Written by James Raia.

Once again, I’m impressed by the 9-7x’s ability to make a strong impression. This probably belongs in the commentary above, but I think one of the things that I like about this vehicle is its apparent quality – a trait that has carried it through an absolute deluge of ‘rebadging’ jokes and criticisms. Now that the rather repetitive lines have worn thin, automotive writers are forced to do their actual job – assess the vehicle on it’s merits.

So. What does James have to say?

More than 30 SUV options are available in the $35,000-$45,000 price range, but the 9-7X’s Saab traditions immediately differentiate the vehicle from rivals…..

…..The ride quality equals or betters many SUVs I’ve tested and there’s plenty of head and leg room and a nice step-in feel into the cabin…..

…..Nonetheless, Saab’s maiden journey into the SUV market isn’t necessarily a bad thing just because the vehicle isn’t outright Swedish.

On the contrary, the 9-7X offers a lot of Saab traits and it’s unique enough to fare well against the major players of the category — the Acura MDX, Lexus RX and Volvo XC90.

I don’t know about you, but that sounds to me like a vehicle that’s made an impression – and for all the right reasons.

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9 Comments

  1. The 9-7x is definitely not for me, and I thought a large SUV was definitely not Saab. However, I recall Saab-Scania being a manufacturer of Very Large Trucks some time ago. Considering that, making a big SUV isn’t such a stretch.

  2. I hope GM stays on top of all the 9-7X reviews out there and can realize that they have a valuable in-house handling/tuning specialist called SAAB, who should be called on to massage all of GM’s special performance vehicles.

    Remember the 80s Isuzus had the fender badge: “Handling by Lotus” ?

  3. Ken I believe you’ll now see that badge on a Proton. Never driven one so I can’t comment byond that.

    Scania SUVs. Now that has a ring to it. Shame someone didn’t think of it 15 years ago.

  4. “Scania SUVs. Now that has a ring to it. Shame someone didn’t think of it 15 years ago.”

    I’m sure someone did. But if they didn’t have the money to do a V8 engine, I doubt they had the money to do an SUV.

  5. Well, there it is again in plain black and white what the market wants and what this is telling Saab: we are embracing a Saab SUV aka 4 Wheel Drive in our neck of the woods. I am too not a 4WD fan even if one rolls out of Trolhattan itself. However, the market is responding very well to what is being offered with our beloved badge. Like it/agree or not this is a dam success despite not being for everyone. And it does not matter to the public where the assembly line sits, the origin of the parts etc etc as long as it has a true Saab look and feel. Well put Swade, you certainly have a very clear business and economic mind which is what Saab needs too.

  6. I’d like to throw in my 2 cents worth. I’ve been driving Saabs for the last six years and just bought a 9-7x.

    My first Saab was a new 2000 9-5 wagon that I traded a Ford Explorer for. I wanted a sporty car that could tote things around. It delivered. And I was hooked on Saab. After three years and with kids that by then could drive themselves around, I traded for a new 2003 9-3 Arc. I loved the way it drove, but missed the cargo space.

    So when the 9-7x came out I was intrigued. At first I thought it was too Chevyish. But after reading the reviews and taking a long test drive, I was sold. It IS the best mid-size SUV in the GM stable – possibly the best truck-based mid-size SUV from any manufacturer – and at a fair price.

    I live in Texas, where SUV’s are the norm. I wanted a vehicle that was versatile, comfortable, safe in bad weather and handled well. I considered the 9-3 Sport Combi, but thought it offered less for almost the same price. And I didn’t want to look at the exact same dashboard for the next three years.

    The 9-7x expands the Saab line to a new category and needs no apologists. There’s enough Saab character in there to make a Saab-lover that wants an SUV happy. Mission accomplished.

  7. Ray, a big welcome to you. As far as I know you’re the first 9-7x owner to comment here.

    It’s good to hear from someone that took the trouble to find out about this vehicle and actually made a decision on one.

    Some good pics would be welcome for the Saab O The Week section of this site.

    Cheers.

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