A closer look at the Saab 9-4x

I know the readership here at SaabsUnited is into details. I know that somewhere out there, someone is wondering what the tie-down hooks in the Saab 9-4x look like.

So I photographed them. And many other smaller bits and pieces of the Saab 9-4x for your viewing pleasure.

I know there’ll be something I missed, but here goes…..

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Let’s start at the back, where the 9-4x is set off with a set of tail lamps quite similar to those on the new Saab 9-5.

Here’s a look at the lamps once again with the 9-5-esque exhaust outlets thrown into the mix. The Saab 9-4x video featuring Christopher McKinnon had a good comparo sequence between the 9-5 and 9-4x and they really do speak the same design language.

Here’s a look into the trunk. The space is pretty accommodating. I don’t know if you’d get a ride-on lawnmower in there with the seats down, but it should take car of the vast majority of people’s needs. The U-rail system is featured in this car once again, with a handy storage space for the rack, which I’ll show a little bit later on….

Here are the aformentioned luggage hooks and nobbly bits for securing your load. The same points feature on both sides of the trunk….

Under the airplane handle in the floor there is a decent size storage area, good for a fair pairs of muddy boots….

Peter Dörrich, one of the guys responsible for this car, wanted to make sure that people could carry the U-rail system in the car when it’s not in use. Believe it or not, sometimes product managers and engineers have to fight to get some features included in cars. This is one of those times, so when you have this handy place to store your U-rail system, utter a word of thanks to Peter.

The U-rail system can be unclipped from the track and stored on clips under the storage compartment lid.

The rear window might prove to be aesthetically pleasing, but restrictive in terms of rear vision. I guess a test drive will bear that out. The rear hatch is a substantial unit, which has power assistance available, though I’m unsure as to whether that’ll be standard on both models at this point.

And I know that somewhere, someone wants to see the struts holding this hatch open, with the electronic connection…..

Moving toward the front a little, here are the roof rails, along with a top view of the panoramic sunroof….

An aside…….

Yesterday I was checking out the Acura ZDX with one of the guys from Saab and he pointed out some of the reinforcing bars going across the roof just behind the sunroof in that car. The Saab 9-4x doesn’t have any of these reinforcing beams because the reinforcing is built in to the body structure. This is a strong car.

/aside

The Saab 9-4x also has these little bits of brightwork on the doors, presumably to break up the visual as it’s a tall body, even with the two-tone business going on there.

Speaking of the door, the handles get the same two-tone treatment as the handles on the Saab 9-5, though it’s notable that the side mirrors don’t.

The side indicators on the car look quite neat with a blue glassy look to complement the front headlamps….

And speaking of headlamps, I guess we best get another look at the latest expression of Saab’s iceblock theme. Here are the headlamps and the foglamps.

Open the hood and there’s the engine. Not a lot to see, really, except another engine cover with a big Saab badge on it. Hate to say it, but my guess from seeing the lettering on the engine cover is that the same engine cover could probably be seen with a different badge on the Cadillac SRX. It’s probably one of the fights that the product managers lost.

Now we will move inside the vehicle.

The instrument binnacle looks the same as the Saab 9-5 and features the same instruments, including the animated center gauge with the altimeter speedo. Unlike the current 9-5, however, it also has leather in top of the binnacle, with exposed stitching that adds a touch of class to things (this might be an Aero-only feature – I’m not sure. Details as to the trim of the base model were not given).

Here’s the center stack.

One interesting thing about this…. it’s largely the same as the 9-5 with grey panelling and a textured highlight piece along the side. It’s been criticised in the Saab 9-5 for not looking sophisticated enough for a luxury sedan, which is a fair call, I think. I got used to it and liked it, but criticisms remain.

In the Saab 9-4x – I don’t know if it’s the lighter colour material – but it looks a lot more suitable. Maybe because it’s a slightly more utilitarian vehicle. The coloring is perhaps still a little too uniform, but I found myself liking this straight away, whereas I had to take some time and get used to the 9-5.

Here’s a look at the front seat squab and footwell area. The seats in the 9-4x are very comfortable. These are, I believe, the sports seats with perforated leather and seat ventilation.

The glovebox is a two-story affair….

This is the drivers’ door, in the open position. Note the additional switch for the electric tailgate….

And here’s the passenger door in the closed position….

Bose speaker fitted in the A-pillar….

Here are some of the interior handles and hooks (for your shirts, jackets, etc)

And finally, to the all-important interior space issue.

This is guess-who sitting in a comfortable driving position. Note that I’m a shade over 6 feet tall. There is plenty of adjustment in the seats to find a suitable position and visibility to the front is excellent. I didn’t test or look for rearward visibility (my bad).

Leaving the driver’s seat in position, I then went and sat in the back seat, directly behind the driver’s seat.

I read an article about the Saab 9-4x from Kicking Tires and once again, someone’s got shirty over the issue of rear head space. Once again, I didn’t have a problem at all and I’m nearly two inches taller than the guy who claimed he was hitting the roof. I had about an inch of space above my head.

And the panoramic sunroof is quite big indeed. I’m not sure how well it’s shaded, but it could get hot back there if the internal cover wasn’t being used.

I have the seat a fair way back when I drive (must have longer legs and a shorter torso than the KickingTires dude) so sitting in the back almost had me short of legroom. My legs weren’t touching the back of the seat, but it was very close. Bigger than the 9-3 but less than the 9-5.

I should also mention that the rear seat reclines. It’s easier to see the degree of the three-step recline from inside the trunk. I’ve only reclined one seat for illustration purposes, but either/both sides of the 60/40 split rear seat can be reclined.

In the more upright position:

And below is the reclined position:

It’s great that the rear seats do this, though I think Saab might have to make the adjustment an electrical one. Right now, it uses a lift-up lever to operate the catch that frees up the seat back. The lever is located at the outer shoulder of the respective seat backs and one would have to be much more flexible than I am to operate it whilst in the car (admittedly, I’m totally unflexible and always have been. I could even sit on the floor with my legs crossed when I was a school boy).

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I hope you enjoyed this look around some of the Saab 9-4x’s details. It’s a car that I enjoyed more and more as I looked closer at it, and one that I enjoyed much more than I thought I would.

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