TTAC reviews the 9-7x

Readers of The Truth About Cars recently voted the 9-7x as one of the Ten Worst Automobiles Today (irreverantly termed the TWAT awards).

Finally, one of their reviewers actually gets his butt into one, which I’d bet is one more than the total number of voters in the TWAT awards that would have had such experience, a theory that’s acknowledged by the writer.

I suppose most TTAC readers who voted the 9-7x into the TWAT Hall of Shame never set butt in Saab’s SUV. Its inclusion was a vote against badge engineering and brand mismanagement.

This discussion of the brand – rather than discussion of the 9-7x itself – is the one topic that dominates the comments, which are yet another textbook definition of groupthink. But that’s by-the-by.

I wouldn’t expect a TTAC review to be overly favourable towards the 9-7x. The site builds it’s name on taking a big stick to anything less than what it sees as the best. In this light, given the 9-7x’s place a quality gap-filler rather than a ground-up Saab, it’s an easy target.

At first glance, the Saab 9-7x looks just like a Chevy TrailBlazer. On second glance, it looks like a GMC Envoy. Stand to the side and squint and the 9-7x resembles a Buick Rainier. Behold the grille from the straight ahead and, finally, you gaze upon a vaguely Saabish vehicle…..

…..The 9-7x’ engines are coupled to a knuckle-dragging four-speed transmission that’s two cogs short of a quorum. Passing other road users requires an extra two seconds or so for the dim-witted mechanism to select the right gear. With so few cogs to choose from, you’d be forgiven for wondering why the 9-7x doesn’t respond a little faster to throttle input. But then Saabistas might also wonder why the brand didn’t stick to front wheel-drive turbo four-powered hatchbacks. Just sayin’…

There are some words of praise however, and a final admission that the 9-7x is the best what TTAC sees as a bad bunch.

Despite deploying equally unconvincing ersatz wood and sharing many of its dials and buttons with its platform partners, the Saab SUV’s interior achieves an elegance denied its sisters under the skin…..

….Saab’s suspension tweaks are the brandgineers greatest contribution to the GMT360 platform…..The 9-7x’ underpinnings achieve the “just right” ride to satisfy the most discerning automotive Goldilocks…..

…..The 9-7x’ existence begs the question, why aren’t all Chevy TrailBlazers this refined?

The article’s worth a look. It’s more objective in some areas than what I’d expect, and yet not in others. The comments are recommended reading if you’ve finished hacking your arm off with a blunt spoon and are looking for some other form of punishment.

I don’t think anyone would profess that the 9-7x is the ideal Saab SUV – by any means. But what it’s done is fill that void temporarily and as I’ve said a bunch of times before, I haven’t heard one complaint from someone that owns one. I’ve heard from a bunch of happy owners though, and how often is it that there’s a bunch of happy owners and not one complaint?

Gunnar, the comments section is open….

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3 Comments

  1. I’ll bite…

    And proceed with questions > have you, Swade, driven the 9-7X?

    Have you ever driven a GMC Jimmy or Envoy?

    If you knew both cars, you would recognize as a Saab enthusiast exemplar that the 9-7X has no business being a Saab.

    It’s existence just runs counter to everything that’s Saab.

    I ran across a quote today from Gandhi and I think it appropos in this case.

    It went something to the affect of “be the change you want to see in the world.”

    Is the 9-7X the representative essence of what Saab wants to be?

  2. In Comments, the writer writes:

    “I also don’t think I was beating on the 9-7x other than for its incestuous relationship with other GM SUV’s. I point out that it has authoritative acceleration, an elegant interior and refined suspension. It’s not best in class in any of these categories, but overall it’s a decent vehicle.”

    Another poster responds to previous comments with this:

    “You’re right about the 9-7 originally being built from the SRX. I remember reading that the SAAB guys did such a great job engineering their version that it put the SRX to shame, and Cadillac through a hissy fit to get it canceled.”

    Anyone know if this latter claim is true? (It sounds believable, based on what they did with the 9-7X)

    Just thought I’d pick out the two comments I was interested by yesterday.

    ~Peter

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