By KBB.com Editors
The 9-7X represents something of a philosophy change for Saab, a company that built its reputation producing midsize performance vehicles with off-beat good looks. With no SUV in its portfolio, Saab turned to parent company GM for a quick fix. Borrowing a platform shared by the GMC Envoy and Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Saab engineers have produced a vehicle that looks the part, but falls somewhat short in the areas of ride comfort and engine refinementat least as expectations of those characteristics might be for a Saab. Still, for Saab loyalists looking for something bigger than a SportCombi, the 2008 Saab 9-7X has much to offer, including off-road and towing capabilities no Saab car can possibly match.
If you're in the market for a practical SUV, but would rather be shopping for a European sport sedan, you may find the 2008 Saab 9-7X delivers the utility you need, the badge you want and an attractive window sticker as well.
If a European badge means nothing to you unless you get the typical European driving characteristics along with it, the Saab 9-7X's truck-based architecture may send you running from the Saab dealer straight into the arms of the competition.
No major changes for 2008.
Driving Impressions Unlike the scores of increasingly popular car-based SUVs, truck-based SUVs like the Saab 9-7X still struggle to combine a smooth ride with confident handling. So, although stiffening the suspension imparts...the 9-7X with increased straight-line and cornering stability, it also results in a rougher ride, especially for those in the rear seat. In addition, while the in-line six-cylinder and V8 engines offer plenty of power, neither conveys a sense of effortlessness under heavy acceleration and both would benefit greatly from a more sophisticated transmission than the four-speed automatic. Steering and brakes are both responsive, and a tight turning radius helps make the 9-7X surprisingly easy to maneuver in parking lots.
Big, supportive, comfortable leather seats provide a creamy center for the 9-7X.
An impressive in-dash six-disc sound system is both loud and clear.
Saab purists, rejoice. Unlike the Subaru Impreza five-door that wears a Saab badge and a 9-2X nametag, the 9-7X has its ignition cylinder right where Saabs have always had them: Between the front seats. That, in addition to the sport-styled seats and chrome-ringed gauges, helps reinforce the European performance mindset while contrast stitching, wood-like trim and familiar air vents help further differentiate the 9-7X as a premium European-like vehicle. Interior space is as generous as you'd expect from a mid-size SUV, and the big leather seats are comfortable.Exterior
Given that most of its exterior panels are borrowed from its domestic-branded cousins, Saab's designers did an excellent job of giving the 9-7X its own identity. Key differentiators include a familiar three-port grille, wraparound-look rear glass and sporty 18-inch aluminum wheels. Combined with sleek bumper treatments, an inch-lower ride height and tastefully flared wheel arches, the 9-7X comes across as far sportier and more sophisticated than any of the vehicles with which it shares so much. The view from behind includes silver, clear-lens taillights that evoke Chevy's smaller and less-exclusive SUV, the Equinox. And, a trailer hitch beneath a Saab logo may seem odd.
A base Saab 9-7X 4.2i is complete with a full stock of standard equipment that includes a 4.2-liter six-cylinder engine, four-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, leather seats, wood-like trim, moonroof, Bose audio with in-dash six-disc changer, XM Satellite Radio, OnStar, dual-zone automatic climate control, power windows/locks/mirrors, heated power front seats, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, load-leveling rear air suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels. Standard safety equipment includes electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and front and side-curtain airbags.
Stepping up to the Saab 9-7X 5.3i delivers not only the 5.3-liter V8, but also xenon headlamps and power-adjustable pedals. Optional on both trim levels are a navigation system and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system.
Although the big V8 makes the 9-7X a more capable hauler (maximum towing capacity is 6,500 pounds), the in-line six will prove plenty powerful for most drivers. If you're leaning toward the V8, it's nice to know that the mileage penalty isn't that steep, thanks in part to active fuel management technology which allows the engine to operate on just four cylinders when the power of all eight is not needed. Unlike other European SUVs, the 9-7X doesn't offer manual tap-up/down shift capability.
4.2-liter in-line 6
285 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
276 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4600 rpm
EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 14/20
300 horsepower @ 5300 rpm
321 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA estimated city/highway fuel economy: 13/19
By Fiona on Thursday, May 02, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 102,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Still have the original engine and transmission."
Cons: "Don't buy unless you live near a SAAB dealership."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Had I known that this car was built on the same platform as a Trail Blazer, I would not have purchased it. I have not had major problems with it, but just a lot of little annoyances that proved to be expensive. I had the gas sensor replaced before SAAB sent their letter, but after the car was out of the warranty period. The interior of the car is just falling apart: most of the rubber door moldings are gone; I've had the console cover replaced - cracked all to pieces;the cup holder is broken; the passenger seat is cracked,; the stitching on the passenger door handle has unraveled. To make matters worse, there is no SAAB dealership within 50 miles of my home. There are very few after-market parts. Most parts have to be bought from a SAAB dealer."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Polis on Wednesday, May 01, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 56,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great overall value, performance, and many extras"
Cons: "They no longer produce the SAAB"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have not only owned many vehicles, but also drive rental vehicles on a regular basis. I will have a hard time finding a replacement vehicle when this one is gone now that SAAB production is no more."
By Hadman on Thursday, October 18, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to Drive"
Cons: "Nice cup holders and the enterment system is good"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"At first a dream come true. Than as the miles came into play about 35 ~ 45k is when the problems started. First replaced transmission twice (good for warranty) but now I’m faced with an oil leak top of engine near the oil sending unit. Not Good. Like the style and still looks good when cleaned up. But if I would have known it was a Trail Blazer. Would had went with Chevy."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Zonny on Monday, October 08, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Cheap to buy and cheap to own. Luxury and power"
Cons: "poor cup holder placement, no heated seats in rear"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I am the second owner of this vehicle. I was very hesitant to even test drive an SUV that was a "fancy" Trailblazer. Boy am I glad I did! I owned a 2003 Jaguar S-type R (400 HP supercharged V8) at the time and was looking for something all-weather. Although the 97-X looked similar to the Trailblazer, it is sooo much more! Other than the size and general shape, it has nothing in common with the Trailblazer or Envoy. It is more refined and sports oriented. Steering is tight and firm. The turning radius is small and can make a turn from curb to curb on any street. Acceleration is quick but full power is not truly appreciated till you try to pass some one. A firm press on the accelerator and you are firmly planted in your seat! But not too much, it still remains refined. The air suspension provides a gentle but firm ride. Cornering can be done at speeds that an SUV should not be able to handle. But it does! Never losing grip, the All Wheel drive system and Stability management lets you bend all the rules of an SUV. Controls are easy to reach and well designed. The front seats will rival your favorite easy chair. Firm where they need to be and soft where they don't. They are wide and well upholstered with a heating system that could bake your buns! Long trips are a breeze, with ample room inside and a comfortable ride. This vehicle should cost way more then it does. Oil changes, tire rotations and love and care are all that are need to keep it on the road for many many years. Living in Michigan demands a 4 season vehicle. The 97-X allows me to enjoy all of them with comfort and style. And on those summer days, find some twisty roads an let it roar!!!"
7 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By Nupe on Friday, August 17, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 164,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great ride and power"
Cons: "Poor design on cup holder and gas tank meter"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"We have owned our Saab since 2005, and we are still rolling!! The only problems we face is the gas meter is broke (Which is a common problem that was recalled by Saab), and the cup holder(poor design). Our SUV has traveled the United States, and for 7 years it has kept us safe. One of the best cars I have driven!!"
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Vinnie on Thursday, March 29, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great car for money and features"
Cons: "low mpg wind noise a"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"Overall it is e very nice car .Love the AWD style comfort and its power. Dont like the MPG and wind noise on the highway."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful