There have been a couple of reports in the last week, however, that are a cause for concern. The one that I’d like to respond to here is a short test from Car and Driver, which popped up on my feeds earlier today.
So how does a motoring journalist raise the hairs on the back of my neck and inspire a response article with as little as his first eleven words?
What Is It?
It’s a Cadillac SRX crossover in Swedish clothing
I’m not here to pick a fight with Car & Driver, but this opening is so formulaic and it doesn’t do justice to what’s supposed to be a review by one of America’s premier sources of automotive information.
More than that, though, it’s just plain inaccurate.
The Saab 9-4x and the Cadillac with which it shares a basic common architecture formed a project that was led by Peter Dörrich – a Swede and an employee here at Saab Automobile. Yes, he led the project whilst being based in the US, but he’s always been a Saab employee and the Saab 9-4x was built as a Saab from the ground up.
I’m playing with some educated guesswork here, but the Cadillac SRX hit the market first for two likely reasons – 1) it was GM’s preferred launch pattern, and 2) because Cadillac was never placed in “sale mode” like Saab was back in 2009. If the 9-4x had been launched first, would we be reading such an opening?
I’m loathe do to it, but if sibling comparisons have to be made, maybe the Cadillac could rightly be referred to as a Saab in Wayfarers.
A few more alternative opinions I’d like to offer:
While the interior has quality materials and soft surfaces, its sea of black plastics is much too drab for the luxury set
We sell Saabs and that implies a level of design and ergonomics that goes beyond a simple “make it look opulent” philosophy. Our basic dashboard layout has existed for over 25 years, appearing first in the Saab 9000, and we continue to refine it rather than replace it, because it works. And our customers tend to appreciate it.
We do like the multifunction display in the gauge cluster, though, especially the altimeter-like redundant speed display.
I’m glad you liked it. It works extremely well. But I’d take some issue with the ‘redundant’ descriptor used for the altimeter display. Ask anyone who owns a new Saab 9-5 or a Saab 9-4x and I think you’ll find that the altimeter speedo is the one that’s used the most. It’s the traditional ring-type speedo that becomes redundant.
I’ve now done two long-haul trips in the 9-4x of over than 1,000kms each and I can tell you that I used the altimeter the whole time. The only time I used the ring-type speedo is when the altimeter display area was being used for other trip computer functions (e.g. fuel economy readings, etc).
This top-level 9-4X Aero XWD starts at a substantial $48,835. That’s more than…..
I’d personally have been more pleased if you’d gone on to mention the fact that the 9-4x Aero has extremely generous levels of standard equipment compared to whatever is perceived to be the competition. I’ve done the comparisons for you – Saab 9-4x equipment and pricing compared to competition from BMW, Audi, Volvo.
The Saab 9-4x only has three options in Aero spec – power moonroof (a weighty item that will add to your fuel usage, but also gives one hell of a view), rear seat package (handy for the kiddies) and a compact spare tire. Everything else – heated and ventilated seats, Drivesense, navigation, XWD with eLSD (still the most modern and best AWD safety system in the world, designed right here in Sweden (and available on the Caddy)) etc etc, is all standard in the US market. Three options. Other brands have three pages of options!
Comments are also made about the steering, braking and engine performance. I’ll withhold my response on those because people should drive the Saab 9-4x and make up their own minds.
The 9-4x has Saab suspension rather than Cadillac suspension. It’s differences like the suspension settings that get overlooked when writers simply resort to talking about common architectures. Yes, the ride will be firmer with European-sourced suspension settings but the 9-4x is not a bumpy vehicle by any standard. It’s very solid and hunkered down on the road and the ability to switch between comfort and sport modes using Drivesense gives ample adaptability.
…..we noted a supple ride in both Comfort and Sport suspension settings, but the Saab felt overly firm on the roads surrounding our Michigan HQ.
Those who don’t live next to C&D’s headquarters in Michigan should be fine 🙂
As I said at the beginning, I’m not writing this to pick a fight with Car and Driver. I’m glad they got a chance to drive the vehicle and write about it. We appreciate that.
A Saab is a Saab for a reason and our buyers tend to know that. The 9-4x is not perfect, but then no vehicle is perfect. Every automobile involves a compromise in one area or another: weight, comfort, equipment, price. The one thing we don’t compromise is safety and the Saab 9-4x being named as a Top Safety Pick confirms its credentials. The challenge is to come up with the package that has the best balance, a mixture that represents your company properly. The Saab 9-4x does that for us.
We’re proud of the 9-4x and personally speaking, I’ll stand up for it when I see something that simply doesn’t do it justice. A deadpan reference to the SRX is just such a thing. It sells the Saab short and it sells C&D short as well. I really hope they press for an opportunity to speak with Peter Dörrich prior to any longer Saab 9-4x test they do in the future, and learn more about the 9-4x’s beginnings and what’s gone into the vehicle.
The bottom line – people should always do their own road tests in addition to reading the reviews of others. You are the best judge of a cars suitability for your tastes and adaptability for your own needs. Drive and judge the car on its merits.