First Look: 2011 Saab 9-4x

All Saab 9-4x crossovers come standard with styling you won't confuse for an Acura, Audi, BMW, or any other player in the upscale SUV segments. The 9-4x matches the 9-5 sedan with blackened A-pillars and a forward-leaning body-colored pillar in the back. The Saab's profile is more rounded and subtle than the bolde, angular SRX, which is Cadillac's best-selling vehicle through the first nine months of 2010.

Inside, the cockpit appears to echo Saab's design cues, with a center stack angled towards the driver and mesh-like air vents. Buyers will have their choice of wood or faux carbon fiber trim accents. As with the SRX, the lack of third row seats means the 9-4x's second row should be accommodating. Total cargo volume on the 9-4x is 61.2 cubic-feet, up marginally from the SRX's 61.1 cubic-feet of space.

Spend enough money, and you can add a Bose sound system with 5.1 surround sound, an 8-inch touchscreen navigation system with 10 GB for your music, and two 8-inch screens in the rear of the front seatbacks for on-the-go movie screenings. The 9-4x will also be available with General Motors' powered hatch, which can be programmed to open to specific heights for garages with low ceilings.

The 9-4x actually goes on sale in the U.S. before Europe, perhaps pointing to the promise of the luxury crossover market here. Saab enthusiasts can get their 9-4x crossovers when they hit showrooms next May. Pricing hasn't been announced.

No amount of toys can make a luxury crossover into a Saab, though, and we're still interested in determining whether the 9-4x is more SRX than Saab. Regardless, the mere presence of the 9-4x crossover in remaining Saab dealerships should lift the company's spirits. To fill out the Saab lineup beyond two sedans and the variants, the 9-4x SUV might finally be a credible answer in a way the 9-7x never was.

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Better looking than it's cousin the SRX, and more Saab than Cadillac... considering the SRX is based on the Saab which was in development first, put on hold by the almighty General, then released well after the SRX was a hit and Saab was dumped (read GM wanted it closed) - I drive Saabs... drive one... make sure to get into some 35-40 mph traffic... see a hole in traffic...roll on the gas...grin ear to ear as all but something with a giant wing or price tag twice as much fades in the rear view.
The Saab 9-4X is a Cadillac SRX and the SRX is a 9-4X. That's good for Cadillac because the SRX is very Euro, but as you said in your article, where does that leave the Saabilac? Now that Saab is an independent company selling rebadged GM cars, the craziness of the old GM way is more apparent than ever. At one time, Saab had exceptional engineers and its cars were innovative, technically advanced, and had a character all their own (even if that meant a personal relationship with a mechanic). Now, there is nothing that makes a Saab a Saab but putting the key in the middle of the car (even that had a genuine purpose at one time). We won't see a geniune Saab until Saab's new corporate overlords create a brand new Saab from the ground up.

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