LLN claim 9-4x sighting

Left Lane News have picked up some photos from Brenda Priddy claiming to be a 9-4x test mule.

I can’t show them for copyright reasons, but you can click here to check them out.

What you’ll see is a mish-mash of 9-7x and Trailblazer panels that make me wonder if it’s not a 9-7x Aero mule rather than a 9-4x mule. It could realistically be anything as it has a Saab front with Trailblazer badges on the back. Actually, I think I recall these being seen on the back of a truck a few months ago….

Anyway, rest assured that this is NOT a representation of how the 9-4x will look when it arrives. I haven’t seen it, but I’ve heard enough to bet my house on it.

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  1. Certainly it is a mule of some kind, testing a different chassis/powertrain in a 9-7X body.

    It could be used to test almost any (GM) vehicle as well as a 9-4X. No news here, I think.

  2. Have to fear that picture has absolutely ZERO representation of what the 9-4X looks like other than the fact that both have four wheels.

  3. Oh please not this, Saab. It looks like a cross between a Ford Explorer and a LandRover Freelander.

    I’ve just climbed back in from the ledge having calmed down. Like the other comments here, lets stay calm and pray this IS a mule.

  4. Shouldn’t ALL gas caps be on the side of the car that equates to the side of the road you drive on? That way if you run outta gas, you are off on the sholder on the opposite side of the vehicle from traffic when you’re trying to add some gas?

  5. There’s no way this is even a mule for th 9-4x. The GMT360 platform should have nothing in common with the Theta platform, as the former is a truck based platform and the Theta platform is a compact car based platform.

    Even if it were, GM would’ve wasted $$$$ adapting that disguise, when they could have easily used a current Chevy Equinox or Saturn VUE for “cover.”

  6. Steven,

    What happens most often: runing out of gas, or filling up at a gas station? The most simple gas station is one with 1 row of pumps. By having tha cap on the same side as the driver, you keep the same traffic pattern inside the gas station as on the road. 🙂

  7. Yeah, something seems off about this 9-4x claim…who’s to say it’s not another brand such as Chevy who borrowed a Saab maybe? They could be learning from Saab on how to tweak suspension and handling the right way… 😉

    Actually I like having the gas cap on the opposite side of where I drive. Why? So that when I get out of my car, there’s always space for me to exit. Otherwise you always end up smacking your door against the pillars/barriers at some point along the way.

  8. Please remember that a “mule” body has nothing to do with the final car at all, hence the name. This is merely a shake down vehicle for the 9-4x chassis. If anyone thinks this looks anything like the car, rest assured that a production body would be under a heavy disguise this early in development. It is not a 9-7X Aero mule as the track and wheelbase are all wrong.

  9. I’ve been thinking about the gas cap side issue and I’ve determined that all of these scenarios makes sense to explain it, but there’s really no rhyme or reason.

    For example, in the U.S. we drive on the right side of the road. My American designed and built company car (a Dodge Stratus) has the filler cap on the left (driver) side. You would think that if the side of the road/gas pump argument were true that the filler would be on the right side, like on my SAABs.

    My grandfather figures that his Toyota Camry has the filler on the left (driver) side because it’s mechanically easier for the gas filler door release to put it there. Then again, they drive on the left side of the road in Japan…

  10. weel, one thing is for sure: it ‘s neither a trailblazer or a 9-7!!!
    The car on the picture has a nice independend rear axle, whereas the 9-7 has a live rear axle.

  11. To add credence to the theory that this is a wolf (9⁴X) in a sheep’s (9⁷X) clothing, the photo was taken recently and the 9⁷X Aero is already in production. I rode in one about a month ago in Washington D.C. So what need would they have to test it now? It’s already developed.

    Also, after design work why would they be testing a vehicle manufactured in the U.S. in Sweden? I can understand why they’d be testing a vehicle to be made in Mexico in Sweden as it’s still in the development phase.

    I too think they threw a 9⁷X body on top of a 9⁴X chassis and drivetrain. You can see how ill-fitting the body is on this and the fact that the fuel filler is on the opposite side of the vehicle (seemingly modified in an ad hoc manner) leads credence to the 9⁴X mule theory.

    Remember the great lengths SAAB has gone to in the past to disguise upcoming developments…

  12. Swade: Are you sure this is not the same group of folks tha gave us that Saab Honda a few weeks back? Looks likethe same collge kids who just stole the badges and glued them on.

  13. I was way out of touch when I didn’t think that the Turbo-X would appeal to hardcore SAABophiles as it looks like it’s pretty universally admired (I’m the only one who hasn’t been won-over that I know of).

    What I’m wondering now is if any of you are really interested in purchasing the upcoming SAAB crossover (9⁴X, if that’s what it’s called)? I’m not talking about the jacked-up ruggedized 9³X, which is as-of-yet unnamed. I’m talking about the vehicle which is to displace the 9⁷X in the SAAB model lineup.

    Remember when the 9⁷X came out we were told by SAAB that the brand was losing a lot of customers as owners wanted to trade-up their SAAB for an SUV and SAAB didn’t have an SUV offering? That was the reason for the 9⁷X allegedly. I know the vehicle has sold pretty well, but I wonder what percentage of buyers are previous SAAB owners that the marque is retaining and how many are first-time SAAB buyers.

    In my long-winded manner, as usual: please post a comment here if you’re seriously considering buying a 9⁴X. Because as far as I can tell (and I could be wrong about this like I was with the Turbo-X) nobody is really clamoring for this thing.

    Maybe when it comes out and people see it it’ll create its own market, but I thought I’d learned that in business you find out what product your customers demand and then produce it for them, not create something and then try and create a market for it. But if I knew so much about business I’d be rich instead of spending my spare time spouting off here! 😉

  14. @1985 Gripen: Over the past couple months, Saab and Hummer are the HIGHEST in GM’s stable of brands in terms of customers coming over from other companies. For that time frame, about 61 percent of new Hummer sales/leases involved a non-GM trade-in, according to the PIN & Automotive News. And nearly 50 percent of Saab buyers (9-3 was 58.1%) during the period dropped off non-GM vehicles. Those numbers compare with a corporatewide GM rate of 35.5 percent from other (non-GM ) car companies. Granted this is data is for trade ins and does not cover folks that got rid of or kept their non-GM car… SO SAAB conquests should be even higher.

    Also for those of use without fancy extra character sets sitting at public terminals today, please just type the number on the keyboard as we can’t figure out what this new “9⁷X” is. It looks like 9 “very small box” X to some of us.

  15. As living in the north of Sweden I would definitely bye a SAAB SUV. I’ve driven the Trailblazer and I like it. But I would’t mind a more SAABisch SUV, something that feels like my 9-3 TID to drive…..

  16. Steven: I was looking for how many SAAB customers SAAB was retaining, not how much market share they’re gaining.

    As for the “small character” it’s a superscript number, just like on all of SAAB’s press materials and the badge on the cars. I really dislike putting a dash between the numbers because there’s no dash in the name of the vehicle.

  17. Gripen,

    I don’t know whether we’d buy one new, but my wife definitely wants an SUV, and I’d much rather buy a 9-4x for her than an Xterra or 4Runner.

    Yes, I’m clamoring for such a vehicle- in part because we’ll eventually have a couple kids and need to haul more junk around with them; in part because I still want a decent handling vehicle; in part because I still want safety for my family; and in part so I can have the ability to haul utility and/or recreational trailers when I need to.

    So yeah, when the 9-4x rolls out, I’ll be keeping an eye out for the specs so I can talk my wife into wanting one. 😉

    Also, the prospect of a twin-turbo diesel-engined Saab sounds very encouraging!

  18. 1985 Gripen,

    I for one am keenly waiting for the 9-4x. The fact that it is not going to be here for 12-24 months is not a problem. I have a growing family and may well go to a used 9-5 estate next but need to see what the 9-4x brings to the table. There is a question mark over pricing and that maybe the obstacle for me.

    Remember that the 9-4x has been described as more car than SUV. It is possible it is along the lines of the BMW X6 shown at Frankfurt which rather than being a Coupe-SUV as BMW would have you believe is actually an AWD Hatchback. BTW it also has BMWs own equivalent of the Haldex XWD system but likely with RWD bias.

  19. Anyone else note the twin pipes running out of the back? The standard 4.2i and 5.3i models have 1 single oval exhaust pipe.

    Secondly, who said this was in Sweden? LLN has no id on the locale or time frame of these pics, which makes you go “Hmmm…”.

  20. Nevitz, the mules were sighted some time ago and I’m pretty sure that was in Sweden. Check the Wednesday Snippets entry – go to the TTAC link and they’ve ued one of those old “spyshots” of this mule there.

    The LLN pics are either these old photos re-hashed, or more recent photos of the same vehicle.

  21. @1985 Gripen: Sorry, that was the only sales stat I could pull outta my head (actaully the only published article that I could recall that was somewhat close to meeting your querey).

    In 2004, JD Power said Saab retention was somewhere below 39%. About the same as VW, but higher than Volvo which is last among European brands at 31.9%. In the 2006 J.D.P. Study, Saab was at 33.4% and has been passed by Volvo.


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