This week we’re looking at the 2006 Saab 9-7 X SUV. If you’ve been following this column you know that this Saab sits on the same platform as the Chevy Trail Blazer and the Isuzu Ascender.
This of course carries the Saab Badge and if you like the marketing blitz about being spawned by aircraft engineers you’ll feel comfortable driving this Swedish / American Saab.
Public Service: The Diamond lane can be a great asset and it encourages people to car pool. But it almost seems criminal that the governmental transportation agencies don’t seem to get it. Car pool lanes are appropriate during rush hour but during the off traffic times the lane should revert back to all traffic. That has been the policy in northern California for a very long time. In southern California the 14 freeway does a great job of utilizing the lanes to handle heavy traffic periods and allows their use by all drivers when off peak. I encourage you to take the time to voice their opinion in support of such policies when not utilized. Call Cal Trans or the Highway Patrol to make your voice heard. A second issue around the Diamond lane is the fact that when it is “Not” a Diamond lane it should be open for entry and exit anywhere. The Highway Patrol says NO. I say YES. What do you think?
Parts – N/A
Assembly – Moraine, Ohio, USA
Class: – Special Purpose
Cars: 9-2X, 9-3, 9-5, 9-7X
Handling & Performance:
It feels heavier than the other siblings so it’s a solid ride but soft at the same time. The All Wheel Drive (AWD) makes this sure footed and gives that added comfort. In contrast the 2-WD Trail Blazer I compare it against won’t feel so different until you go into the corners. But with high profile SUVs it is a false sense of security. I suspect this is not so important in mild climate areas around the globe in similar latitudes of the test area of the southern part of North America. Specifically California, USA. But if you’re in northern latitudes where snow and ice are common conditions, I would look at AWD vehicles in a totally different light.
A bit upscale from its siblings because of the Saab badge, which you just have to wonder how much premium you pay for that “Name Plate” over the other sisters. Beautiful 6 spoke alloy wheels give it that modern look for today.
Fit and Finish:
Pricey and as much as $10,000 more than its sisters.
“Loaded” as car salesmen used to boast. I guess there is no free lunch and you get what you pay for. All those wonderful toys, Batman.
If the Saab is of interest I suggest you test-drive three of the listed SUVs along with it as a start. Volvo XC70 (not because it is also Swedish) but because it is a very nice product (a Ford company). The Lexus RX 330 is another I would include in the initial comparison (Japanese). And finally General Motors’ Cadillac SRX.
Saab 9-7 X $39-42,000, Lincoln Aviator $41-44,000, Cadillac SRX $36-44,000, Chevrolet TrailBlazer $24-30,000, Volvo XC70 $36,000, Land Rover LR3 $38-53,000, Toyota Highlander $25-32,000, Toyota 4Runner $28-38,000, Ford Explorer $27-36,000, GMC Envoy $26-38,000, Mercury Mountaineer $29-36,000, Honda Pilot $27-35,000, Nissan Pathfinder $25-36,000, Dodge Durango $28-37,000, Lexus RX 330 $36-38,000, Mitsubishi Montero $36,000, Acura MDX $37-44,000.
A very comfortable and solid highway vehicle. AWD can be a plus in colder climates and “ESP” (Electronic Stability Program) type controls like the Stabilitrak used on this Saab is fantastic technology and a must.
5.3-liter V8 300 hp displacement on demand engine, 4-speed auto trans, automatic all wheel drive, limited slip rear differential, 18 X 8” 6-spoke wheels, rear air suspension, Stabilitrak stability control, theft deterrent, OnStar with 1 year service, front and side curtain airbags with roll over sensors, fog lights, full size spare tire, trailer hitch receiver, integrated roof rails, heated front seats, power heated mirrors, memory driver seat and mirror settings, power windows and locks, cruise control, remote keyless entry, driver information center, headlight washers, power moon roof, adjustable pedals, Xenon headlights, Bose audio with 6-in dash CD player, XM satellite radio service (first 3 mos included), rear seat audio controls, leather seating and steering wheel with audio controls, climate control, compass, 8-way power front seats, split folding rear seats. Options: Rear entertainment DVD $1,300.
15 City and 20 Highway MPG