Volvo is no longer the only Swede to offer a jacked-up all-road wagon. The 2010 Saab 9-3x, making its debut at the 2009 Geneva motor show, is essentially an outdoorsy form of its 9-3 Sportcombi.
There are only a few key differences between the 9-3 wagon and a 9-3x. Apart from unique 17-inch wheels and a 1.4-inch suspension lift, you'll also notice the wagon's lower flanks are wrapped in dark gray plastic cladding, accentuated by argent front and rear skid plates.
While Europeans have their choice of three engines in the 9-3x, only the 2.0T model will make its way to North America. The 210-hp, 2.0-liter turbochraged I-4 will be paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. As evidenced by the 'x' in the nameplate, the 9-3x comes standard with Saab's XWD system. First introduced on the limited edition Turbo X, the sophisticated all-wheel-drive system continuously distributes torque between the front and rear axles to maintain optimum grip.
Although the 9-3x is not the only rugged station wagon on the market, it could find a unique niche. It's smaller than the Volvo XC70, yet it's slightly more upscale than the Subaru Outback. Will it sell? We'll have to wait until this fall when the wagon will arrive in showrooms, wearing price tags starting around $40,000.