Last post on Jun 12, 2012 at 8:45 AM
You are in the Saab 9-7X
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Saab 9-7X, SUV
#259 of 355 I Drove a 9-7x Linear Today
Jun 30, 2005 (7:35 pm)
This afternoon my wife and I stopped by the SAAB dealer to see if they had received a 9-7x. We were surprised to learn that they had recently received two; an Arc and a Linear. The Dealer Principle had taken the V8 Linear for the long weekend, so we drove the Arc with the inline 6. We are original owners of a 1996 Impala SS and a 1999 Tahoe 2wd Police model. I also have experience driving my father's 2001 Deville. So these are the benchmarks that our impressions of the 9-7x are based upon.
The exterior of the 9-7x looked attractive and bore no immediate resemblance to the TrailBlazer, Envoy or Rainier. It looked unique in a positive way and better in person than in photographs. The lack of garish bodyside moldings was a definite aesthetic plus, but may be a parking lot liability discovered only after the damage has been done. This clean bodyside approach is also being applied by Cadillac on many of its A+S models. Only time will tell if this fad is folly. With the engine running, and the AC set to auto, I walked around the exterior and listened to the vehicle. The sound was not completely pleasant. It sounded like an air compressor running. So much so that I wondered if the vehicle had such a compressor to assist the rear suspension. In the time that I was outside of the vehicle the sound did not go away so maybe this is the way that the I6 exhaust sounds at idle.
The interior was very good. Not quite to VW Touareg standards but certainly in B+ territory. I saw no evidence of the typical mouse fur that GM has exposed its drivers to for the past decade or so. Very nice gauge cluster and comfortable steering wheel. Excellent feel on the HVAC and radio switch surfaces and their actions. The turn signal lever also had a great action to it, but lacked the rubbery tactile of the other switches - and because of that felt a little out of place. The transmission shift lever looked attractive and felt good in the hand - but unsubstantial when used. So much so that I tapped on it with a fingernail to learn that it also sounded like a hollow piece of plastic. The seats and their leather felt very good and looked to be completely practical for many future years of service. The seatbelts worked effortlessly and were comfortable to wear. The carpet was the typical GM crap that they are even using on Cadillacs these days. However, I did not see the individual floor mats as they were stored in the back. In true GM fashion the HVAC worked flawlessly but I did find the fan a little louder than I'm used to for comparable air flow rates - particularly the rear HVAC fan. I sampled FM radio on the Bose stereo. While it sounded good - it did not sound natural to me. The unit has several EQ presets - and I tried each one at least twice - but I couldn't find a natural sound. Too much subwoofer and either too much or not enough tweeter. Perhaps this can be manually adjusted, but I didn't have the time to find out. Suffice to say that if you are a fan of Hip Hop and Urban music this system may appeal to you more than if AOR or Baroque are your bag. I know that Bose can get it right for my ear - I find their system in the Deville to be most appealing. I was disappointed to discover that there was no electrochromatic rearview mirror - it is a manual day/night mirror! This is an oversight that needs to be corrected by Saab. If you do any night driving you will quickly appreciate the benefits of an electrochromatic. Trick Saab cupholder on the dash and pleasant feeling centre armrest with useful storage. No nav system but this is apparently coming in 2006. Unfortunately no rear parking assist. This is a nice to have - especially with light-truck bumpers that fold up like lawn chairs when they suffer the slightest impact. Why can't they mount these on enersorbers like those for automobiles?
The engine and transmission were well matched. If there is anything that GM can bring to the Saab table it's their automatic transmissions. Just consider BMW, Rolls Royce, Lincoln and others that have or currently use them. The transmission was flawless. The engine was the smoothest that I have ever experienced. I have read that an inline six is the most inherently smooth firing engine design, but even with the AC on - and at idle - there was absolutely no vibration. While driving I never found that the engine lacked for power - even when ascending a poorly designed highway on-ramp - but due to traffic I never drove it above 50 mph. I should remind you that this was with the AC on, which I find can place a noticeable drag on either of my 5.7 litre engines. The I6 engine was eager to rev similar to the way that my father's Northstar wants to rev like a sewing machine. This may be a trait of dual over head cam engines.
The ride and handling are harder to describe. I have only driven one vehicle that had a harsher ride than my 99 Tahoe Police - that was a 2005 Acura RL. The RL rode so poorly on rough pavement that I stopped the test drive to double check the tire pressures! The ride quality of the 9-7x was generally rougher yet more compliant on sharp impacts than my 96 Impala SS with less rebound and less head-shake than my 99 Tahoe Police. So overall I would describe the ride quality as comparable to both - but more refined. Do you need a kidney belt when riding in a 9-7x? No. Will you fall asleep driving it? No. Do you want to ride in this on the way home from the Chiropractor? Probably not my first choice - but better than most. On corners I found the 9-7x a little tippy or top heavy when compared to my clean-roof 99 Tahoe Police. This may be due to a higher centre of gravity further raised by the weight of the 9-7x's optional sunroof and standard roof rack. As well, this vehicle had just over 1/4 tank of gas. A full tank of gas and no sunroof may noticeably lower the vehicle's centre of gravity. Although this 9-7x had less than 25 miles on its odometer - I found the brakes to be solid, confidence-inspiring and easily modulated when executing a smooth complete stop. The interior was very quiet and well isolated from road noise - but not as quiet as my father's 2001 Deville.
The 9-7x appealed to my wife. She did not find that the I6 lacked power, and the 9-7x raised no driver or passenger-related concerns with her.
Would I buy this 9-7x? Yes, with the following cavaets: 1) electrochromatic rearview mirror; 2) nav system; 3) some more exterior colour choices (white, yellow, green, red); and, 4) I was offered a fair price.
I have looked seriously at five vehicles this year: Acura RL, Cadillac SRX, Cadillac STS, Saab 9-7x, Volkswagon Touareg. If I was asked to pick one of these, to be used 365/12, my choice would be the 9-7x.
#260 of 355 Re: I remember [saaboy]
Jul 01, 2005 (1:59 am)
The key things that make a car safe are the crumple zones and the design of the car. So since the Malibu and 9-3 (I don't think the 9-5 shares a platform with the Malibu, but correct me if it does) have different structural designs, then they will perform differently in crash tests. Saab invested more $$$ into strengthing the key components that make the car safer than Chevrolet did.
The Malibu and Malibu Maxx are still quite safe though.
#261 of 355 Re: I remember [jchan2]
Jul 01, 2005 (8:28 pm)
hmmm, yea. I didn't think about the crumple zones. But I remember reading that the 9-3 AND 9-5 shared the same platform, and went on to read it a couple more times. I thought to myself, how is that possible? Kinda like 3 and 5 series sharing the same platform?
#262 of 355 Re: I remember [saaboy]
Jul 05, 2005 (2:26 am)
The current 9-5 shares a platform with an Opel, I think...
It's possible to share a platform between cars of different size classes. The Odyssey, Pilot, MDX, and Ridgeline all share a platform. You can make the frame longer if you want, and cut down on development costs...
The Camry, Highlander, Sienna, and RX330 share a platform...
If you look around and actually think about it, a lot of cars share platforms nowadays, despite being sized differently.
And No, the 3 and 5 Series don't share platforms. BMW has enough $$$ to build seperate ones, but the 5 Series and X5 share platforms, as do the 3 and X3.
#263 of 355 Re: I remember [jchan2]
Jul 05, 2005 (6:18 pm)
Yea, SAAB does share wit opel. Ew, all these platfor shareages. Does a civic and a TSX share platforms?
#264 of 355 Re: I remember [saaboy]
Jul 06, 2005 (5:14 am)
no. The Acura TSX shares a platform with the European Honda Accord.
The Civic shares a platform with the RSX/Integra.
#265 of 355 saab or chevy I just don;t know
Jul 06, 2005 (7:29 am)
I saw my first 97x across the street from where I was getting a slice. It looked quite attractive from the front when I walked past it, the saab grill is a great touch. The car just happened to be black. As I am eating my pizza a black trailblazer parks right behind it. An amazing coincidence that proved the overall distaste for design in GM. Saab a company that has always had quite varying designs from the rest has finally fallen victim to the invasion of the GM (car) body snatchers. Check out some pics on carlist.com
chevy = 27,000
saab = 38,000
#266 of 355 Because the alternative would be nostalgia.
Jul 19, 2005 (7:42 am)
>Because the alternative would be nostalgia.
Nostalgia would be better.
Nostalgia is inevitable for every make of car, what matters is how it is met.
Seeing the frankenSaabs on the road for a few more sad years has now taken most of the nostalgia away from me. These simply are not saab cars. Why do so many people pretend they are by even making reference to the past? The name was bought in order to sell other cars.
#268 of 355 Re: this may be of interest [steve_]
Jul 19, 2005 (2:39 pm)
He says its important to build Saabs with Saab character.
Where does that leave the 9-2X and 9-7X?