Saab has taken the wraps off the long-awaited new 9-4X crossover. And when we say long-awaited, we mean heavily delayed; this Swedish crossover has been in the pipeline for years.
Based heavily on a US-spec Cadillac SUV and built in Mexico, the 9-4X betrays its old-school General Motors roots: the 296bhp 2.8-litre V6 petrol present from the Insignia is present and correct, allied to Saab’s own XWD four-wheel drive system. It accommodates five passengers in two rows. Will the quality be up to scratch? We won’t know if it’s Swedish enough until we sit in it at the Los Angeles auto show next month.
The 9-4X is true to its badge: it falls in size halfway between the 9-3 and the 9-5. Stylistically, it carries over modern Saab motifs, including the wraparound windscreen, slanted roofline with ‘hockey stick’ C-pillars and the full-width ice block horizontal light bar at the rear.
Saab 9-4X: a third model line for Saab
Don’t get too hung up on the 9-4X’s mixed genes, however. The Saab 9-4X is a totally new model line for Saab and thrusts the Swedes into a significant marketplace. The bastardised 9-7X and Saabaru 9-2X were short-cuts that barely registered on the radar, but the 9-4X is a long-term model that stretches the Saab portfolio to three models and should add useful extra volume.
The 9-4X comes initially with just one engine for now: the 2.8 turbo V6 petrol, with a six-speed auto ‘box. Tellingly, Saab quotes an 8.3sec sprint to 62mph but no emissions or fuel economy figures yet. Such an engine will be popular in some markets but is likely to stymie appeal in Europe; a diesel engine is an urgent priority.
A flexible boot stowage system is available in the new 9-4X, while options include a 10GB hard drive, TV monitors in the head rests for rear-seat passengers’ entertainment and a remote-opening tailgate.
Saab: how the 9-4X fits in
Jan Åke Jonsson, Saab Automobile CEO, said: ‘The 9-4X significantly broadens the appeal of the Saab brand. It gives us entry to the fast-growing crossover segment with a vehicle that reflects our brand values in key areas.’
The new Saab 9-4X will be unveiled officially at the Los Angeles auto show on 17 November 2010. US sales start first in May 2011, while UK showrooms will stock the 9-4X from autumn 2011.
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