9-7x Crash Tests not Saaby

The IIHS has just concluded some SUV crash tests, with the Chevrolet Trailblazer included. The results for the Trailblazer are counted as results attributable to the Saab 9-7x.


It’s something to seriously consider as the 9-4x continues it’s development that Saab place a huge value on safety. As well as they’ve made the 9-7x handle, and as good as they’ve made the vehicle compared to its siblings, it’s hard to make a bullet proof vest out of kleenex tissues.

Scores awarded by the IIHS are Poor, Marginal, Acceptable and Good. Good is as good as it gets.

Side testing:

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave marginal scores in side-impact tests of 2008 versions of the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Jeep Grand Cherokee and two SUVs built by Nissan Motor Co. — the Pathfinder and Xterra without optional side air bags.

Front testing:

In frontal testing, all of the SUVs received the top score of good except the TrailBlazer, which improved to receive the second-highest rating of acceptable. Previous versions of the SUV had been rated marginal.

Rear Testing:

In rear crash testing, only the Grand Cherokee received the top rating of good. The Nissan Pathfinder was rated marginal while the remaining SUVs received the lowest score of poor.

The 9-7x is a good SUV when it comes to doing what a luxury SUV should do – driving well. But when doing what a Saab must do well – protecting its occupants – it’s got to be seen as wanting.

The 9-4x must be better.

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  1. The side impact test is particularly revealing. The car is not a Saab and never was- that is why it lacks the patented Saab “Pendulum” design to the B pillar- which lets that base of the pillar and sill collapse to absorb energy and keeps the top rail intact to reduce thoracic pressure and chest injury.

    instead – as you can see the middle height section of the B pillar has caved in further than the base of the pillar- the complette opposite of the Saab pendulum design….Which is why this car could damage your neck and push your ribs through your lungs and kill you – as opinioned in the IHS narrative.

    Saab and Volvo understood how to collapse the floor and direct side impact forces down and away from the drivers chest years ago. I also know this because I am alive thanks to a Volvo SIPS side impact system.

    The lamentable 9-7 performance is teh perfect example of what happens to marque integrity when you go for badge engineering Mr Lutz. Shades of British Leyland circa 1975 methinks..

  2. I drive a Saab 9-5 , but there is still a sonorous 5 cylinder 2.5litre 20valve Volvo engine inthe family… As I have said here before, its actually rather good!

    And unlike every Saab 9-3 I have seen recently -old, middle aged our just a few weeks old, the leather on the frotn seat bolsters is not shot and creased- at as little as 1.000 miles.
    (See Oz motor show entry comments ont hat one too…)

  3. Dear GM – What makes a Saab a Saab? If you were to list the top 5 most important attributes, I’m sure safety would have to be in that list. What does that say about the 9-7X (and while we’re at it, that bloody 9-2X as well)?? I’m worried, because a company stupid enough to force-feed the European market with unwanted Caddys when it already has a RESPECTED, high-quality brand in its portfolio will probably be too stupid to realize the harm it’s doing to Saab’s reputation. Knock it off, GM. And speaking as a Massachusetts resident, thanks alot for sticking Saab under the same dealership roof with Cadillac. My next Saab purchase will be much less enjoyable with all those damn ugly-mobiles around!!!!!! I’ve been driving nothing but Saabs for the past 20 years, but GM, you’re getting on my LAST NERVE.

  4. As the resident GM appologist, even I can’t explain this one. Safety should be in all cars, not just Saabs. It only requires some engineering and air bags to make better.

    On the other hand, the IIHS is known to minimize the good and magnify the bad to grab headlines which may have happened here.

    If I were a lawyer suing GM on behalf of a crash-injured person, I would have a field day with this one:
    GM owns a safety technology superpower in Saab, yet they chose to build passenger vehicles without the safety features they know to save injuries and lives. Certainly, your honor, this shows that GM was negligent when they built and sold the Trailblazer.

    Doesn’t that ring true? Especially with the margins they get for SUVs?

  5. Quite right Eggs mate – no excuses.

    The 9-2x by the way folks may have been a Subaru, but they are suprisingly strong- although I have never liked the very narrow B posts – you need nice wide B psots with ‘elephants feet’ bases – wide at the base to stop door intrusion by presenting an overlap to the door as it is pushed inwards -to sop overiding of the door- but at the same time, the B post base must swing under a la Saab pendulum design -to keep the upper section of the B post from caving inwards to the chest area.

    If you ake teh sill too strong and too high, it amkes the door override into the cabin- thast why Saab adn Volvo know about sills that drop down under the car. On the previous Volvo 850/ V70 range, half the visible sills/door kick plate were a plastic moulding to amek the buyer think the sills were massive, in fact under the plastic skirting, they were low down cut away jobs- just like the Saab 99 and Classic 900.

    And whislt we are at it, door bars are no good at all if they float in the door and do not link into the door frame and A – B post. This was the danger of ‘add-on’ door bars that got stuffed on to most cars in the late 1990s. Door bars are there to acheive lateral compression and resist intrusion, but if you just bolt them into a door with no load paths into the surrounding frame, in a heavy crash they simply push into the cabin thru the door and casue more harm than good. They also make rescue very difficult.

    Proper side imapct protection is a Saab hallmark -those first doors bars in the 1972 model year 99 were properly engineered -not stick on scaffolding…

    Notice on the IIHS Saab 97 side impact test that seat is ahead of the pillar -imagine if it were at its rearmost setting -it would have been compromised by that half height B post collapse.

    Mike C – the new C70 is damn good- but it remains a boulavardier of a car – the new 93 cabrio is so much better if you want a sporty soft top. And that C70 front looks far too short compared with its long rear deck.

    And are we going to see a 93 Black Turbo cabrio soon Swade?

  6. I guess I will have to be the contrarian here and suggest that maybe these crash-test ratings aren’t all that big a deal. I wonder if car buyers really pay that much attention when they comparison shop vehicles, or are other features more important to them.

    A personal example: My wife recently bought a crossover SUV. She was on the manufacturers websites and Edmunds comparing features on all the models she was looking at. Nearly drove me crazy when she would print out 10 or 12 page comparisons of competing models for me to look at. This went on for a couple of months before she decided on the Mazda CX-7. In all her comparisons, not once did she talk about crash test ratings. Price, power, gas mileage, heated seats, interior and exterior colors – but not crash test ratings.

    So notwithstanding Lance’s near obsessive focus on crash test structural engineering, does the average consumer really care?

    ps: The Mazda CX-7 is one sweet ride.

  7. Sam: The point is that Saabs historically weren’t built for the average consumer. They were built for people that really did care about the engineering that went into the car — including the safety provisions.

  8. Sam: The average consumer tends to really care once they have been (a) injured or (b)died becasue the car they were in FAILED to protect them as well as it could have done if the known technology had been employed by the maker of the car in question.

    IE: There are lots of people either dead, bereaved or paralaysed because they made a purchasing decision that ignored known facts.

    I am alive because side impact technology designed into car that I chose to buy, worked.

    If you don’t care about your safety -fine. Me, I’ll remain obsessive thanks- an obsession borne of attending many, many crash tests, NCAP tests, and inspecting many vehicles in make -to -make crash testing.

    Call me obsesssive if you need too…

  9. I think I’ll stick with lance on this one. The Saab and Volvo auto’s are far superior to anything on the road today when it comes to safety. I drive a 2002 9-3 SE convertible that I love. My wife drives a Volvo XC-90… I WILL NOT PUT MY WIFE AND KID’S IN ANYTHING ELSE BUT A VOLVO OR A SAAB. You come to realize why these cars are what they are after they are totaled and YOU AND YOUR FAMILY WALKED AWAY. Leather, Bose sound and parktronick are nice but, they won’t help you in a collision.

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