Monday, October 1, 2007

2008 Saab 9-7X Review

Built in Ohio instead of Sweden, and structurally similar to other GM offerings, the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy, the 2008 Saab 9-7X was designed to target other upper-end SUV's like the Volkswagen Tuareg and Volvo XC90. It was said that last year's model had the most standard features on any SUV priced under $40,000. This year's model, which has a starting MSRP of $39,190 for the base model, only adds two new options: a new color choice (Cocoa Metallic) and new wheel choices.

The 9-7X comes with a choice of two engines. The standard is a 4.2 liter, 285 horsepower inline six-cylinder engine offering 276 pounds/feet of torque, with the uplevel engine being a 5.3 liter, 300 horsepower V8 pushing 321 pounds/feet of torque. The latter engine also has "Displacement on Demand" fuel saving technology to disable half the cylinders when they're not needed, and provides enough towing strength to pull 6,500 pounds. Both trims come with a four-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive, as well as anti-lock brakes and a rollover sensing system that works in conjunction with the side-curtain airbags.

The combination of Swedish style and GM's platform have given the 2008 Saab 9-7X handling that is much stronger than similar vehicles, with moderate effort needed to steer, and a ride that has tight suspension and good cushioning, if a little too much body movement on choppy pavement.

Inside the 9-7X, the look is traditionally Saab, with the ignition switch on the center concole, and air vents that are the same as other models under this badge. There is seating for five, automatic settings for the climate control system, and both XM satellite radio and OnStar with turn-by-turn driving directions are both standard. A DVD entertainment system for the back seat is optional, but a six-CD changer is standard, and the audio system is supplied by Bose.

Cargo space in the 2008 Saab 9-7X is 80.1 cubic feet if the back seat is folded flat (it also splits 65/35 if you want to only fold down part of it), and 39.8 with the seat up. Estimated fuel efficiency is not yet available.

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