The 9-4X Review I Would Have Written

UPDATE: I’m issuing a challenge to all SU readers., inspired by Saab Dealer Chairman Kurt Schirm in comments. Go over to autoblog and counter any negative impressions you might see on the 9-4X article– false info, idiot commentary, you name it– by writing your own comment there. I’d almost rather see you comment there than here this time around. You first need to sign in with either an aol, facebook, google, or twitter ID. Vote up or down depending on whether or not you agree with the comment. Then my biggest request, make a comment in support of Saab, not just a “I LIKE SAAB! GO SAAB!” comment, but something more than one sentence, why you agree with the author and think that Saabs deserve a shot on CUV consumers shopping lists. Do you like the interior? The price? The blue tinted LED headlamps? Let’s make this the most commented article ever on Autoblog. I’m serious.

As you know, I wasn’t able to make it to the 9-4X review in D.C. last week due to work conflicts. That doesn’t mean I won’t have the chance to review it very soon, and do an even more in depth piece on it. However, I really think Chris Paukert at Autoblog has written the fairest article about the 9-4X that I’ve yet seen. He balances the precarious situation Saab is in while being optimistic about the company’s chances. He nails the description of the driving dynamics and even rightly criticizes where the interior falls flat in its black on black styling (while hoping that the lighter interiors with wood grain come across better, they do Chris). All in all, it’s about as close to the review I would have written (though much shorter 😉 ) had I been given the chance to make it to D.C.

Check it out. Be sure to take a look at the gallery, it has some of the clearest and best images of how the 9-4X looks in real life. Notice that while the interior is quite dark, when it’s outside in the daylight the reflective bits do a fair bit to compensate. While you’re at, police the comments thread and make sure this car gets a fair shot. Of all the reviews online, this will probably be the one most read by prospective Saab customers as Autoblog is far and away the biggest car news site on earth.


Since there was a request for it in comments, I posted the comparison table RedJ made in December, and added the Cadillac to the list so there’s an even comparison. Also, I’ve updated pricing information to accurately reflect just what a bargain the 9-4X is, even relative to the Cadillac.

[table id=5 /]

30 thoughts on “The 9-4X Review I Would Have Written”

  1. I love that car!!

    The pics are just great and if the car continues Saab´s tradition of looking better yet in rel-life then I might be speechless when I see it 🙂

    Apparently the 9-4X is a genuinely outstanding car – thanks GM for lending a healthy base on which Saab´s engineers could do their magic.

  2. How come that the 9-4X is getting much better reviews than the 9-5 is/was? Isn’t the Trollhättan-built flagship supposed to be THE Saab right now? I’m totally thrilled about all the positivity surrounding the 9-4X, but I’m also a bit curious what makes this slightly more GM-ish car better than the slightly more Saab-ish 9-5? Or is it just that the competition isn’t as good in this segment? Any ideas?

    • Honestly, it feels better to me sitting in it than the 9-5 does. It’s also a lot less expensive for more standard equipment (at least in the US). Basically, more car for your money, quieter, more functional, the list goes on. It also looks more masculine in person than the 9-5, which appeals equally to women strangely enough who are looking for a secure vehicle as it does men who want a confident ride.

      If the 9-5 were sold at the prices the 9-4X are going for (start at $34K instead of $38K, top out at $51K instead of $58K), you’d see a lot more positivity about the 9-5 than you do now.

      • I’ll never get used to US pricing..the price difference between the 9-4x and the 9-5 in US is about the price of fitting a 9-5 Linear with leather seats in Denmark. ..hmmm..

        • 🙂 It is not far from the truth. The problem with the us market is the US $. Maybe that is the reason why they can keep down the price of the 9-4x compared to the 9-5. All brands that don’t have production in the US area are suffering from this. It is of course good for the US export and I think US governement want to keep it there for a while thinking of the current situation of the US economy. Beside that, you have insane taxes in Denmark, that is also a fact 🙂

          • Which is why I think it’s foolhearted to move production from Ramos-Arizpe if they have the option not to. I’m not sure they do, though.

      • Even though the very good pics with this review (especially the straight from rear end one) made me realize this car is much more saabish than i thought it was and irl its probably a looker in this segment. But compared to the avantgarde exterior of the 9-5 it falls short and looks a bit “plain”. Not that this is a bad thing and i hope this more conservative look appeals to the more conservative american customers. But besides it being taller and heavier then the 9-5 it cant imagine it is more masculine or has more road presence than the 9-5. This is an opinion partly based on me being european and the roads here are filled with short and tiny cars 😉

        • It’s got a much more hunkered down stance than the 9-5 does in real life. Once we can see a sport body kit on it from Hirsch or even Saab, then we’ll really be in business. That would double sales if priced right, no joke. There’s a reason why Volvo made R-Design its own separate model for 2011 on the XC60. Buying an SUV is about image, and Saab should get a more muscular body color painted bumper/sill package on this as soon as they can. They’re aware of this though.

  3. Really a fair review from Autoblog. That he mentions that Saab was an engineering center for GM shows he has some background info and that Saab communicated the 9-4x quite well at the press events.

  4. Background and facts is too often left out. This was a good review from a journalist that has made some effort to give a broader view. And they have at least one fine photographer at Autoblog, really nice pictures! From a car crasch perspective you can appreciate the higher weight compared to other brands but I wonder where the weight come from? Is it heavier than the SRX as well? A comparison table for the SUV’s would be nice, someone? 🙂

  5. My congratulations to Top Gear’s Paul Horrell. That’s a very, very good and fair summary of the situation. He doesn’t play down the problems, but he doesn’t join in in the oh-so-popular sport of Saab-bashing either.

  6. Great write up! Thanks SU for the post. When SU posts a review or article we need to get out in our masses and post positive comments following the piece. I know some of us do, but nearly as many as we see pontificating here on a daily basis. Right or wrong, one’s opinion helps form or validate other people’s impressions. Grass roots and guerilla tactics, just like we did when we collectively did our part to Save Saab. Lets use the same energy to help change the general perception of Saab. We can dominate the blog space of any article. SU keep the reviews coming. Everyone else…Griffin up!

    • Agreed Kurt. I think everyone who posts here should go over and make the 9-4X review the most commented article in Autoblog’s history. That would be quite a statement. In fact, I’m now including that in the main article. Let’s talk soon.

  7. Jeff not a bad idea, just out blog them. However, I’m not still convinced blog stuff sells many cars. What sells is product, and what I like and think is important is all the Saab dealers, who are also Caddy dealers, who have to explain the the roughly $ 5000. difference between the two brands on the 4 wheel drive models. I think I would buy the Saab, if I can get a good trade in price on the 9-7X.

    • Agreed, the Saab is the better deal. At my Cadillac dealer, there’s a waiting list to get in an SRX. That can only mean good things for Saab. People will be coming into the dealers for the first time to check out Saabs, there needs to be a very strong message about what’s going on with the company, but that’s a discussion for another time.

      The reason autoblog is so much more important than any other website is that they’ve mastered google impressions (the technology that makes the google search algorithm rank search results). When a buyer goes to search for 9-4X or Saab, their review will most likely pop into search results, not to mention it’s likely to be widely searched internally. It’s also one of the best written, logical, and truthful reviews out there. Chris actually got pricing right and explained how it’s a better deal in plain terms unlike Tony Swan at C&D or Paul Eisenstein from The Detroit Bureau (who I both still respect very highly) who failed to note how well equipped the Aero is with standard equipment. In any event, readers look to comment sections on reviews just as travelers like reading candid reviews of hotels on tripadvisor, it’s reassuring to know that others have confidence in the brand. That’s something our website is in a unique position to do. SU brand ambassadors can make sure that the internet is a Saab bashing free zone, so that when consumers search for articles about a potentially huge purchase, they know they’re buying solid product. While I won’t point out every article, ones like this deserve mention.

  8. Done a couple of comments, and I recommend others to do so. Already one beemer fanboy trying to stir things up there… 🙂

    • Nice work Ken. I did the same. Just slammed that guy. Seriously, we need more positive comments, keep it up guys. Imagine if this BMW fanboy got away with his false commentary unopposed? I can see a few skeptical buyers turning away. Amazingly, it’s stuff like this that turns buyers off, behavioral economics work in strange ways.

      Kurt Schirm would know this– he’s head of the dealer association for Saab. Keep up the comments on autoblog.

    • I put a sledgehammer to the guy’s head, with some strong language and points he couldn’t argue. I dropped about 8 comments onto him to keep the troll busy.

      In other words, who wants to split some barbecued troll? 😀

  9. I added my comments to the Autoblog review without appearing personally challenging but I covered a gamut of things to provide the perspective I think we want prospective buyers to get.

      • I just refreshed the Autoblog page and our “buddy” added two short comments to my post picking up on “if you can find a dealer” and the resale issue if Saab were to fail. I’m guessing he couldn’t argue with everthing else I said or he was worn out from his prior discussion of those issues.

        • He tried to grill me, but I stopped him. He was comparing a turboX wagon to a 335i sedan. Who compares a wagon to a sedan int he first place???

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