SvD’s Initial 9-4X impressions

The first of many 9-4X reviews due out this week (as they’re testing them in rural Virginia outside D.C. as we speak) comes from SvD (English translation). While only a preview, it gives us a good look at the process. I was invited, but unless I can get out of a very important meeting tomorrow morning, there’s likely no chance I’ll make it down (but I’ll have my own 9-4X video review up soon after if I have to drive to Detroit to do it!). Sometimes I wish I my day job were an auto journalist :-P.

Apparently Victor did make it after all, even though Michele Tinson, SCNA’s PR head, told me on the phone last week he probably wouldn’t be able to. All that means is that the man is a machine, and works harder than anyone I’ve ever met.

“He sits in the back seat of a white 9-4X front of me and waving to the gleam of gold buttons on his blue blazer,” says Karin Henriksson (SvD’s US correspondent) and laughs.

More of Karin’s observations after the break.

On the 9-4X’s competitors:  

“Now I have only driven a few miles, but BMW’s X3 rival feels and faster while the Mercedes GLK feels sluggish. Driving edge of the Saab 9-4X will lie somewhere in between. Solid, but not boring,” the tester went on.

What about the quality?

“It is comparable to BMW and Mercedes.”

I can confirm this having sat in it on a few occasions. It actually feels more premium than the Audi Q5 to me.

How the other journalists are responding to the 9-4X:

“Most are positive. They think it’s a good car with Saab-esteem, who will deliver high-quality feel. Some think it shares a lot with GM though, for example the navigation system.

On American perception of Saab:

It has not been written so much about the company Saab in American media and in a way it’s lucky for Saab. My colleagues from the U.S. are almost exclusively talking about the car – not Saab’s crisis.

How she thinks it will sell:

It remains to be seen. Saab’s problem is that they do not have such a great brand identity in the U.S. anymore. First, it has been smoothed out by GM and also, many believe that Saab is dead and buried after GM got rid of the mark. But there is a particular need for smaller SUV and there should be a market. But competition in this segment is tough.

We’ll bring you her full review when its published later this week, and a number of other reviews as they pour in.

Thanks to Thomas J. for sending the link in!

5 thoughts on “SvD’s Initial 9-4X impressions”

  1. Jeff,

    Thank you for your posts about the 9-4X. One of my biggest gripes in the past was the lack of coverage of this vehicle. I realize it is not the best fit for European streets, but I truly think it will be a great hit in the US and look forward to test driving it!

  2. Has there been any talk of a car rental company picking up the line? As one who rents for business often I’d love to be able to take the vehicle for a true test drive, not just around the block.

    • I highly doubt that it will be picked up by a rental company, but there’s always a chance and I’ll be sure to ask the relevant people at SCNA for you. That said, if you want a proper extended test drive I’m sure you’ll be able to set one up with your dealer if you ask, there should be plenty of demos available. I think this car will be more popular than Saab even thinks it could be.

      • Test-drivning Saabs have historiacally always been very favourable to Saab. I think dealers should promote this as much as possible. Demo cars shold’nt spend more than 5 minutes in the parking lot (sorry for ranting). Test drives are the key to convincing people to buy Saab.

        Think this report from SvD is very promising and the writer also look quite happy at the seat of the 9-4X.

        The importance of this car for the US dealer network can not be underestiamted, To many it’s a live or die situation and to me it seems that it might even be a smash hit over there. In Europe much of its role will be handled by the 9-5 SCombi.

  3. She also met with the new head of SCNA:

    “…also met with Saab’s new U.S. chief Timothy Colbeck. He succeeds Michael Colleran, which ended in January this year. Colbeck has 25 years experience in the automotive industry in the United States and has held various management positions at Japanese Subaru. Most recently he was the brand marketing manager for a time when Subaru increased their sales.
    – What could be a better way than to begin his new job than to be out driving and simultaneously listen to the press reaction, “he says.
    He has held the job for one hour and fifteen minutes when he hits SvD Business.
    – 9-4X is Saab’s entry into one of the fastest growing segments in the U.S. market. Americans are ready to downsizes and this is Saab’s solution to this niche. says Timothy Colbeck

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