For years Saab has been making cars that do lots of things well, the Saab 9-7X is a perfect example of such a vehicle. For that reason I very much like the 9-7X.
This is Saab's initial offering in the SUV space. The 9-7X is neither best in class nor worst in class for any evaluation criteria. But in Saab's unique way, they have managed to create an SUV that performs well in many diverse areas. This ability to perform well is both the 9-7X's big appeal and Achilles heel. For those looking for an SUV that maximizes utility, the Saab is a winner. For those looking for a sporty ride, they Infiniti FX 35 or 45 will be preferred (the trade-off being interior space where the FX is lacking).
By way of background, the 9-7X is built on a GM chassis that is shared with the GMC Envoy, Chevy Trailblazer and Buick Rainier. But that is where the similarities between the vehicles end. While Saab starts with a shared chassis, that foundation is then significantly modified by the folks in Trollhattan Sweden. Some of the more significant modifications include:
These modifications modifications nicely complement GM's 5.3 Liter V8 which puts our 300 HP and 330 lbs of ft. torque. The end result is a very comfortable SUV that drives surprisingly well. It should be noted that Saab also offers a 9-7X 4.2i that includes a in-line 6 cylinder engine and 290 hp and 290 lbs of ft. torque. I strongly recommend the 5.3i over the 4.2i where spending an extra $2000 (5% more) will get you an SUV that is far quieter and smoother. For those with a boat to trail, the extra torque is significant.
Beyond the 9-7X's drive-train, the vehicle has a nice interior which features 60/40 rear folding seats and 80.1 cubic feet of space. Again neither the largest nor the smallest amount of space in its class. Other things I like about the 9-7X include comfortable seats, ergonomic dashboard with Saab's signature ignition between the seats. Luxury appointments include a premium Bose stereo and XM Satellite radio which sound amazing.
The MSRP of the 9-7X 5.3i is $42,000 and is fully loaded with options including 36,000 miles of scheduled maintenance. Its my understanding that the vehicle may be purchased in the $40,000 - $41,000 range making the SUV a good value.
In the final analysis Saab has built a fine SUV in the 9-7X 5.3i. The vehicle will have the most appeal to buyers looking for an SUV that does everything well. It will appeal least to those looking for an SUV that achieves greatness in one particular area. Overall I rated the vehicle a 3 out of 5 where being average in the luxury SUV market is quite good.