Exterior walk around and interior movie.
Saab 9-2x Aero 5 Door
All wheel drive. Accurate steering. Quick engine and stable ride.
Hardly any Saab character. Cheap feeling doors. Import tuner car feel. Small
sunroof. Low level of insulation. Japanese style controls and dash.
The days have come again for the station wagon, as we say in life and
fashion 'what goes around comes around.' Today's four wheel drive wagons
deliver most of what you will find in a SUV with the added benefit of better
fuel economy and sharp, car like handling. Saab, which set an all-time
retail sales record last year in America, offers this 9-2x "sport wagon" as
a new model this year as part of a full onslaught to renew its dying lineup.
9-2x is really not a Saab at all, with 100% of the parts content coming from
Japan and its final assembly point being Ota Gunma, Japan, there is very
little hint of Swedish meatballs in this car. The Subaru Impreza WRX wagon
is the corporate family member that Saab has put its badge on. Saab has
decided to create a market segment called the premium sport compact market
in which it hopes this new 9-2x will be a real player.
"The Saab 9-2X is the ideal addition to our
line-up," says Peter Augustsson, Saab's President and CEO. "Like the
recently-launched Saab 9-3 models, it is extremely dynamic and is a car that
you want to drive. Additionally, its price point will attract some new,
young, enthusiastic customers to Saab. The Saab 9-2X is a milestone in
expanding our model range and our customer base, especially in the very
important North American market. We see a rapidly emerging segment in the
United States for a premium, small car below the Saab 9-3 Sport Sedan. And
being one of the first entries, we intend to shape that segment."
sight the Saab looks very much like a Subaru unless you are staring eye to
eye. The exterior side profile of the 9-2x is pretty much a constant
reminder of a Subaru wagon, from the functional hoodscoop to the BBS style
wheels. "As the new 9-2X range is tremendously
fun to drive and since we are targeting a young and enthusiastic customer,
we decided to express the strong and dynamic character of the 9-2X in its
design and even add a bit more of an aggressive touch compared to the rest
of our line-up," comments Saab's Executive Director of Design, Michael Mauer.
"Additionally, even though it is a functional 5-door vehicle, it shouldn't
look like a traditional wagon. Therefore, we spent a great deal of time
making sure it had a strong face and sleek Scandinavian lines." The face is
about the only part we thought that was Scandinavian. We still wish for a
more traditional Saab exterior with smooth panels and a rounded appearance.
The Saab 9-2x is
available in two versions, the Linear base model and our Aero test car. The
turbocharged and intercooled 2.0-liter, high-performance DOHC 9-2X Aero
engine produces 227 hp @ 6,000 rpm and 217 lb.-ft. (294 Nm) of torque @
4,000 rpm. It delivers only normal gas mileage of 20 city and 26 highway.
The power plant of the Saab 9-2X Linear 2.5 is naturally aspirated and
delivers 165 hp @ 5,600 rpm as well as maximum torque of 166 lb.-ft. (225
Nm) @ 4,000 rpm. Both cars provide a standard 5-speed manual transmission;
a 4-speed automatic transmission is available as an option. The base model
starts at $23,000 while the Aero is price at about $27,000. Both models
feature the same full time all wheel drive system as used in Subaru models.
The Aero model additionally offers a functional hood scoop, a more sport
suspension and a leather steering wheel.
Behind the wheel the Saab is
firm and responsive. The feeling of a Japanese import racer just doesn't go
away. The 227 horsepower engine is powerful with noticeable turbo lag,
which makes the real push come on around 5000 rpm. The engine is also quite
loud, something you would not typically find in a Saab but would be
appealing to the sport compact market. The clutch pedal on our test car was
firm and heavy leading to a jerky gear change, especially from start. Zero
to sixty times we achieved were around 6.5 seconds, though it will mostly
depend on your ability to conquer the shifter and clutch. The Saab 9-2x
also does not allow you to be in the wrong gear at low speeds. Power
suddenly disappears if you travel in fourth at only 20 miles per hour, so
this model is really for those who want a very sporty small wagon and are
willing to keep on shifting.
The ride and suspension of
the 9-2x is typical of a car like Mazda or Toyota. There is mediocre amount
of road feel and the medium setting of the shocks allows you to feel
comfortable doing most things fast, like taking sharp turns. The body does
sway a bit, however it settles down nicely in turns. There is also a small
amount of body bounce on a bumpy road but nothing that we can complain too
much about. Saab states that it revised the suspension and steering
settings for more straight-line stability and better ride. The all wheel
drive system is unnoticeable and quite good. The vehicle moves forward
quickly and grips very well with a smooth even push from all four wheels.
There was little noise emanating from the floor in this four-wheel drive
While driving, wind noise
levels are a bit high especially with the sunroof open. At high speeds
engine and road noise is very noticeable. This may be in part due to the
pillar-less door design which does let in more sound than we would like.
This is no luxury car by any means. We would however like more of a
upgraded package for the Saab name. An important drivetrain feature lacking
is stability control which is something that most drivers should have in
today's world. Overall the driving experience is not what you would expect
from Trollhattan but is very similar to cars such as the Mazda 6.
The interior of the Saab 9-2x
in our Premium trim two-tone leather is attractive and a bit more Swedish
than Japanese, thank god. Front seats are very sporty with big side
bolsters making getting in uncomfortable but holding you nicely for spirited
driving. The rear seat is also comfortable but just a bit too flat.
Legroom is adequate as well in the rear for a car of this size.
All dash controls are
decidedly Japanese with plastic trim in silver color and flush stereo
buttons. The stereo offers a built in six disc CD changer. Power seats are
not available nor are remote stereo controls on the steering wheel,
something we feel are essential on a car in this price range. The xenon
headlamps were a great help at night and offer a switch to manually lower
the beams in three levels so as not to offend oncoming traffic. The
headlamps automatically shut off after you lock and leave the car even in
their 'on' position.
The automatic climate system
also works well and keeps a nice warm temperature for us without blowing hot
air in our faces. In icy conditions we would like better defrosting of
outside mirrors and side mirrors. A heated mirror feature is available in
the optional cold package which our test car lacked. The climate control
system is a bit loud when blasting air in its automatic setting, but it does
actually feel like it is working. A digital clock is located in the center
of the dash and exterior temperature is shown in the instrument cluster.
Electronic dual mirror adjustments are also standard and the switch is found
on the door next to the window buttons. We did find the sunroof buttons and
interior lighting to be dated just as in the past Subaru models. Overall
everything is simple and easy to use in the 92x.
While this is a compact wagon
with a sporty nature, it can hold about 28 cubic feet of cargo with the
seatback up or 61 cubic feet with the seatback folded down. The rear trunk
opening is also quite large for easier access. A 60/40 split fold down rear
seatback is standard in all 9-2x models.
Safety is something Saab
vehicles have built a great reputation upon. The 9-2x features active head
restraints, driver and passenger dual air bags as well as side airbags for
the front seats. Window airbags and side airbags for the rear passengers
are not offered on this mode. Anti lock brakes and electronic brake force
distribution all help the all-wheel-drive system to provide an added level
Our Aero model starts off at
a base price of $26,950. A sport package was added for $1,950, which
included 17-inch alloy wheels and performance tires as well as a power
sunroof. The premium package added $1,695, which brings with it xenon
lights, leather appointed seats and door inserts. No charge scheduled
maintenance for two years or 24,000 miles is also standard on the Saab, a
great benefit. A four year 50,000 mile standard warranty is offered as
Compared to other vehicles in
this category, the Saab 9-2x is a good value for the money, however it just
does not stack up to the German quality found in a Audi A4 or the quirky
Volvo v50 which costs a bit more. The Saab feels like a Japanese car much
more than it should. The competitors are more solid, better built, and
offer a more stable ride with less overall noise. While this is a good type
of car for Saab, we just feel that Saab should have made the entire car from
scratch and should have priced it in the low to mid 20's. Using its
heritage and engineering ability it surely could have come up with a real
competitor in this market segment. We feel that we should have the right to
drive a true Saab when we actually buy a car with the Saab nameplate.
Cold Weather Pkg
Includes Heated Front Seats, Heated Mirrors & Wiper De-Icer.
Premium Pkg • Aero
All Models Include Leather Seat Trim & HID Headlamps.
Sport Pkg • Aero
(N/A Linear) Includes Alloy Wheels, (4) P215/45R17 Tires & Power Moon Roof.
2005 Saab 9-2X
Aero 4dr Sport Wagon (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 5M)
2004 Audi A4
1.8T Avant quattro AWD 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
2004 Lexus IS 300
SportCross 4dr Wagon (3.0L 6cyl 5A)