Many people have asked during the last days about the 9-4x. I have no first hand information about it but those are two pieces of information that may clarify a little bit the current situation.
We already announced it a week ago, but now there is an official announcement with some information enhancements and corrections.
Here’s a quick video I shot yesterday of the 9-4X at the media launch in New York. I dug a little deeper into details that go unnoticed, and near the end you’ll see a special message from Tim Colbeck about the 9-4X to SaabsUnited readers. Music by Stockholm band Peter Bjorn and John’s new album, gotta keep it Swedish.
For his full multipart interview and my thoughts on how the car was received by the press, check back later this week as I’m still transcribing much of the audio. Later this month you’ll be reading (and watching) my full 9-4X review, which should not only include an Aero test but a 3.0 as well with much more detailed interior shots. I’m continually impressed by just how good the 9-4X has turned out, and even more impressed by the team assembled at SCNA. Their focus was evident, and they’re ready to take on the North American market with their new leader, Tim Colbeck at the helm.
One of the constant issues brought up by Saab fans and reviewers has been the interior material and color choices of the new 9-5 and 9-4X. While I think that in person they come off much better– and the new 9-5 Sportcombi dashboard panel upgrade is fantastic in my opinion– it’s always fun to speculate how changes might look in real life.
Today’s focus will be the 9-4X, as I’ll be eating my lunch beside one today near the East River with Tim Colbeck. If you have any questions you’d like me to ask him in person, let me know here in comments, otherwise I’ll be focusing on the insanely long US pricing thread and constructive dialogue mentioned there. As a jumping off point, see the changes I’d make to this 9-4X’s interior after the break. Then comment on how you’d change it yourself if you could.
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.
Another day, another review of the new 9-4X. This is a realistic, solid review from highly respected auto journalist Paul Eisenstein of the Detroit Bureau. It’s worth a read.
He’s of course a realist, and right off the bat explains what will inevitably be Tim Colbeck’s highest priority as COO of SCNA.
Even if Saab can put Humpty Dumpty back together – and there’s no question the maker’s Chairman Victor Muller is a remarkably resourceful entrepreneur – it’s possible the recent uncertainty will convince at least some potential buyers to steer clear of Saab showrooms. It’s hard to argue against such concerns. Even the most inexpensive automobile is a major purchase, and at $50,000 or so, once you pay for freight, taxes and the typical adds-ons, the 2012 Saab 9-4X isn’t cheap.
That said, I’d love to hear these reviews include information about base model pricing, which is more high $30s than $50K for the Aero. Uninformed buyers who stumble onto these articles need to have a complete picture. Having watched the presentation given to the journalists in D.C., I don’t think they were ever really presented a complete and clear pricing presentation that focused on the value of this car which is in my opinion a missed opportunity. Lord knows we explained it well enough in this post.
I think his concluding paragraph sums it up best.
Based on the merits, the 2012 Saab 9-4X should be drawing (customers) into the showroom as it begins rolling out of the plant (a GM factory in Mexico that has not been impacted by Saab’s financial problems). It’d be too bad if the headlines scare potential buyers off. If it makes it through the current crisis – and we’re cautiously betting on Chairman Muller to pull this one off – Saab should be in a solid position to move forward. The new 9-4X gives us reason to believe there’s life left in the old brand.
I’m including a link to the PDF of specifications page for the 9-4X for anyone who needs a reminder what options are standard and what are part of packages.
If you want to option out and see the features of each package and how they impact the purchase price, go to truecar.com and find out yourself. When I originally wrote about it, there was no local pricing information reflecting accurate dealer discounts. As of this writing, there now are.
The base model goes for in while the Aero sells for $33,245 ($965 or 3% off) or $47,088 ($1,747 or 4% off). That doesn’t include the extra $1,000 your Saab loyalty bonus. These prices are for New York City.
A reminder: The Base model starts at $34,205. For an extra $1,385 you get LED lipped Xenon headlamps, auto dimming/folding mirrors, power lift gate and pedals, and rear view camera and heated seats. That brings the sticker to $35,590.
The Panoramic roof is a $1,400 option and with that it adds up to at a total price of $37,040, it makes the 9-4x a bargain (and in the configuration that nearly all customers will end up in).
XWD is basically a $2,500 option on the 3.0L models, if you add it the total is now $39,535. I expect dealers to sell quite a few of these.
A great review of the 9-4X from Tom Martin. I’m not going to even bother to summarize it for you because it’s short and I’d rather you take the time to read it yourself (it’s one of the best Saab reviews I’ve ever seen actually). Highlights include:
“For those paying attention, the driving dynamics of the 9-4X are positively brilliant.”
And on Saab branding its technology as having real world usefulness:
“We can easily imagine a group of buyers, who are frustrated by zillions of features that work only occasionally, being drawn to Saabs because Saab really tries to design workable electronics rather than stacks of gizmos.”
What I found most interesting was Tom’s chart comparing the premium automakers’ choices regarding branding and image, and agree with his conclusions.
What are you waiting for, go read the article!
And from the Burlington, VT Examiner comes another article which while more generic, backs up the 9-4X’s credibility as a confident performer and credible entrant into the crowded CUV market. As I’ve examined before, with the Saab’s superior pricing, you’d have to be pretty dumb to choose a competitor’s offering instead of the 9-4X.
Of course, we’ll have more to come this week.
Saab has seen better days in France, but they aren’t willing to sit down and wait that the French people decide once again to buy their cars.
The price list for the 9-4X in France has been published by Saab and the prices are very competitive.
There will be 2 models on offer. The 9-4X XWD with the 3.0L engine, and the 9-4x Aero with the 2.8L turbo engine.
The price for the 9-4x is 48.000€, the Aero will cost 52.000€.