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2011 Saab 9-1 - Sneak Preview 2008

Saab is cocked and ready to fire a host of new products at the marketplace. It's about time - the 9-3 and the 9-5 are both ancient (the 9-5 has been on sale for more than a decade), and the badge-engineered, Chevrolet TrailBlazer-derived 9-7X continues to muddy the brand's reputation. Sweden's other car company, Volvo, found small-car success with its C30, and the Trollhättan-based gang plans to get in on the action with the Saab 9-1 hatchback.

Saab previewed the 9-1 with its 9-X concept at this year's Geneva auto show. The 9-X's sloping roofline and wraparound windows are more evidence that Saab's upcoming hatch will in no way resemble the Volvo C30, even if the two cars share philosophies. The production 9-1 will be based on the next Opel/Saturn Astra and probably will be powered by small-displacement turbocharged engines. An Aero version of the 9-1, replete with more power and a more capable suspension, will be offered soon after production ramps up.

SVENSKA, HEAL THYSELF: Historically, Saab has been good at building premium small cars. Let's hope the production 9-1 is a sign of a reinvigorated Saab.