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 refinement – at least as expectations of those characteristics might be for a Saab. Still, for Saab loyalists looking for something bigger than a SportCombi, the 2009 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 2009 Saab 9-7X and 9-7X Aero 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.
A special Altitude Edition is offered on 4.2i and 5.3i models. It includes a DVD touch screen navigation radio, polished 18-inch alloy wheels and a choice of Carbon Flash or Diamond Silver Metallic. Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity is now available.
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 short-lived 9-2X (a thinly disguised Subaru Impreza WRX wearing the Saab 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 9-7X Aero features a more aggressive look, with a tighter suspension and big 20-inch alloy wheels. 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 and mirrors, heated power front seats, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, load-leveling rear air suspension and 18-inch alloy wheels. Standard safety equipment includes StabiliTrak 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. The 9-7X Aero is powered by a 390-horsepower, 6.0-liter V8 and wears 20-inch wheels, unique exterior colors and custom interior adornments.
Although the two big V8s 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 5.3-liter 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. The Aero, on the other hand, has plenty of power to play, but you will pay a price at the pump. Unlike other European SUVs, the 9-7X doesn't offer manual tap-up/tap-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: 14/20
390 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
400 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/16
By Chas on Friday, July 25, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Handles great for a SUV"
Cons: "No place to put your phone, cup holders"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"For a SUV this thing is fun to drive. I had 2 Envoys before the Saab and they rode nice but they did not handle like the Saab. The Saab rides a little lower and has a quicker steering ratio and a stiffer suspension. The interior is not as convenient as the Envoys (less storage compartments) and the cup holders may be novel put not very practical. All in all I like the vehicle and would buy another."
9 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By CKD Haven on Tuesday, May 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 73,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good car- European styling, American engineering"
Cons: "Bose sound system is weak and no ipod/aux input"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"My 2008 Saab 97X has been a good vehicle for the past 4 years of ownership. The 5.3 V-8 (300 hp) makes it move nicely and has loads of power for effortless towing. The 4 speed transmission can be sluggish and makes it feel/sound old compared to newer/smoother shifting cars and trucks. Mpg is so-so with 16.5 most of time regardless of speed, temperature or type of gas you buy.The body style has aged well despite it being 6 years old. Paint is good quality and shines nice after a wax. Mine has seen 6 winters in Wisconsin salt and has no rust anywhere. Tires have been the only cost item that I needed to replace (expensive because of unique size). The original tires (Dunlops) were loud and worn thin by 30K miles. It handles good in the snow - not great due to the wide tire treads on the big wheels, but AWD means you'll go anywhere in bad winter weather. Interior was held up well to wear- not showing much except the gear selector. It's biggest detractor is GMs lousy stereo (Bose) ( I cant believe it really is) with good sound only in the front seats. Back seat sound is a joke with El-cheapo speakers in the rear doors. No Ipod Aux connection either!! Interior noise level on the highway is fair, but far from quiet. Ride is fairly stiff compared to other GM vehicles like trailblazer. Far better looking,performing and loaded with features ( heated seats, backs, sunroof, leather, video system, hid headlamps, built in aircompressor and rear seat hvac controls) than the others for about the same price. Look for a low mileage model and you'll have a BMW X5 looking/ performing car with low cost of entry/upkeep."
4 people out of 12 found this review helpful
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."
6 people out of 6 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."
2 people out of 6 found this review helpful
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."
4 people out of 7 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!!!"
14 people out of 18 found this review helpful