Saab's athletic, outdoor character is a perfect fit for a sport-utility, especially as the company tries to move sales in the United States beyond the 47,913 record it set in 2003. The question is, will this rebadged Chevy TrailBlazer make the right statement until a new crossover sport-ute finally arrives about two years from now? Saab appears to have gone about the job of making the TrailBlazer its own with typical Swedish thoroughness. The 9-7X has a Euro-style look inside and out, while the all-wheel-drive truck platform has been tuned to the pavement with better body control, a lower ride height, and quicker, more linear steering. Both Gen-eral Motors' 275-hp, 4.2-liter in-line six and its 300-hp, 5.3-liter V-8 are available. GM continues to market Saab very aggressively, but it recently moved Saab's U.S. operations to Detroit from its office in Atlanta and now suggests that Saab's headquarters in Trollhttan, Sweden, might not play a large role in future manufacturing plans. We continue to love the whole idea of Saab, but there's something about a Saab-ified truck that makes us think GM is unwittingly turning this company into a kind of Euro-Oldsmobile.
ON SALE: April 2005
PRICE: $38,000-$45,000 (est.)
ENGINES: 275-hp, 4.2-liter I-6; 300-hp, 5.3-liter V-8
BOTTOM LINE: All-weather sport-ute, but is it a Saab or just a warmed-over TrailBlazer?