Asked to name a 4x4 estate car, and chances are that the Subaru Forester, the Volvo XC70 or perhaps an Audi or two were amongst those on the list. But there is another to be considered - the Saab 9-3X.
It was launched at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year (2009) to 'rave reviews', which should be a hint to its looks and prowess. Customers could buy their new Saab 9-3X from May onwards, for delivery in August and, while I'm sure that many did just that, the Saab 9-3X is in danger of being overlooked.
A combination of the current economic climate, the uncertainty concerning the marque and its relationship with the troubled GM (which should be resolved shortly), combined with the fact that the so-called Crossover market is full to brimming with vehicles, all vying for our attention, might just put a damper on the enthusiasm. This is especially so if some of the others could be perceived as maybe a little more exciting.
However, the Saab 9-3X is more than worthy of attention and for the company, the Saab Salomon Trial Running Series 2009, which was part of the Keswick Mountain Festival, was the perfect place to show off the new car.
Now, there is room for confusion here; although the name 9-3X suggests that it is a genuine 4x4, it is only the 2.0T version that has All Wheel Drive Capability and the alternative engine, the 1.9TTiD does not.
The 'X' part comes from the extra ride height, which makes the AWD version 35mm taller than the standard Sport Wagon and the petrol version is 20mm taller than its more normal counterpart. It doesn't seem a lot but it is enough to cope with the lighter side of off-road terrain.
And more to the point, it looks the part. Which is not to say that it is all cosmetic, as a rugged image is just as important for many other manufacturers in this segment. Crossovers are designed for gravel, grass, farm tracks and generally loose surfaces where a little more traction and pulling power is needed. At the same time crossovers have to look equally as good around town and provide a comfortable ride on the open road. Furthermore, crossovers benefit from not carrying the weight of a full-blown SUV and are therefore also more fuel efficient.
This is a 12-year+ news article, from our Saab archive, which dates back to the year 2000.
If in doubt check with your local Saab dealer as car prices and technical data will have changed since 2009.
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