More Saab 9-3x road tests

There have been two more road tests of the Saab 9-3x published in the last few days and I thought I’d share a little about them in comments.
There are a few themes that are coming through in just about all of these tests:

  1. The Saab 9-3x rides extremely well.
  2. The XWD system performs brilliantly in this style of car.
  3. Saab should have bought this car out 5 years ago, when they originally conceived the idea.

Of course, that last one would have been a little more difficult without the XWD system. We know that Saab could have fitted some sort of AWD system, but would it have been as effective? We’ll never know, but I’m sure it would have made an impact back then.
The first test is from the Gothenburg Post. Johannes has been kind enough to email me a summary translation (with a couple of edits from me, which may or may not be true to the source):

At the last minute, SAAB shows the new Saab 9-3X in a windy Jukkasjärvi. The car is good – really good – and Saab show how good they are at building cars for the Swedish climate and bad roads.
At first glance, it looks like Saab have just tidied up a Saab 9-3 and hung a little bit of tough plastic on the 9-3X. But they did more than that, they have created a crossover, a mixture between SUV and family in a new class. Perfect for anyone who wants a little better traction but does not need a big car like the Volvo XC70.
The 9-3X is 35 millimeters higher than the usual Saab 9-3. It does not sound much but it makes quite a big difference for mobility. . But above all gives the extra height and extra suspension that is needed on bad roads.
The winter road down to the lake is really rough but the suspension swallows the uneven surface and it is possible to maintain high speed despite the poor surface.
The road between Jukkasjärvi and Esrange rocket base is a bit smoother, but the Saab 9-3x still shows that it is made for these roads.
The Saab 9-3 is already quiet but the 9-3X is actually a little quieter. . I could have a conversation with the passengers in the rear, despite the icy noise from the roadway.
Saab starts to produce 9-3X in early summer and in late summer, it will be for sale.
Although the new 9-3X can not save a failing Saab, the car is clear proof that Saab can and want to build really good cars.
Prices will start from 319900 SEK
Total 44 of 50 point.

Thanks Johannes!
The second is one that you can go and read yourself. It’s from The Sun newspaper in the UK, which my office firewall classes as a suspicious publication, hence my not reading it until this evening.
The writer, Ken Gibson, gives a very good introduction covering the dilemma that Saab are in and the sadness association with such a storied brand enduring such a difficult time.
And here’s a good sample of the actual road test. It sums up the author’s feelings pretty well, I think.

THE 9-3X perfectly sums up Saab’s potential – and their problem. It’s a car that could have been launched back in 2003, but lack of resources meant that GM put it to the back of the queue.
Back then it would have been a trendsetting estate with its 4×4 capabilities bundled in a smaller, more eco-friendly package.
Now it will join the Audi A6 Allroad and the Volvo XC70 Cross Country that have become established in the last few years, alongside the new Audi A4 Allroad.
The 9-3X is a stylish but slightly rugged-looking estate with an all-wheel system that is technologically outstanding when it comes to coping with extreme conditions.

It really does seem like Saab have nailed it with the 9-3x.
It makes you wonder if this would have been a better launch vehicle for XWD than the Turbo X. Should they have emphasised practicality rather than performance?
It doesn’t matter now, I guess. The Turbo X is here and it’s brilliant. The 9-3x is coming and it seems like it’s brilliant, too. I just hope enough people get the chance to see it for themselves.

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