Used 2006 Saab 9-7X
Edmunds' Expert Review
Numerous upgrades offer a convincing argument that the 2006 Saab 9-7X is more than a rebadged TrailBlazer, but discriminating customers may sniff out this Swedish import's Ohio roots.
Conceived to be a key part of the brand's aggressive redevelopment of its product line, the Saab 9-7X aims to attract new customers to its lineup and more importantly keep current Saab owners in the Swedish automaker's family. Saab's market research showed that 39 percent of Saab owners in the U.S. currently have an SUV in their household, while 30 percent of its customers who leave the brand do so to purchase a four-door SUV. In an attempt to keep its claim as the fastest growing European premium car brand in the U.S., Saab desperately needed an SUV to stem the exodus and, to that end, introduced the 9-7X midsize SUV last year.
Although this is Saab's first SUV, the actual underpinnings are the same as those used for General Motor's other midsize SUVs, which means that the Saab 9-7X is broadly similar to the Rainier, TrailBlazer, Envoy and Ascender. The fact that the Saab SUV is based on this workaday platform also means that it's not a fresh-out-of-the-box design, but extensive modifications to the suspension tuning, exterior styling and interior trim were made to give the 9-7X a look and feel that's uniquely Saab. To achieve this lofty goal, plenty of overtime hours were spent trying to distance the 9-7X's exterior looks from its American cousins. The trademark three-port grille, European-styled headlamps and wraparound rear-quarter windows find their way into the design. Saab stylists also made sure that the profile was clean and uninterrupted, without big bumper offsets or protruding shapes to give the Saab 9-7X a distinctly European flavor.
Achieving the road feel of a European sedan using an American truck chassis is no small task, but Saab appears to have made the kind of changes that will yield a responsive SUV. Engineers stiffened the front frame and installed firmer bushings, thicker sway bars and revalved shock absorbers to achieve more stable and responsive handling than the GM-badged versions offer. The Saab 9-7X also uses a quicker 18.5-to-1 steering ratio with street-oriented 18-inch wheels and tires to give it a more sedanlike feel. All-wheel drive, an electronically controlled rear air suspension and standard stability control round out the package.
Unfortunately, there are no turbocharged engines available to make Saab loyalists feel at home. Instead, the Saab 9-7X comes with either a 290-horsepower, 4.2-liter inline six or a 300-hp, 5.3-liter V8. Coupled to both of these engines is a four-speed automatic transmission. Both engines are responsive off the line with passable passing power on the highway. Even fuel economy is similar, thanks to GM's Displacement on Demand which cuts the V8 down from a powerful eight cylinders to a fuel-saving four when cruising. The bigger pushrod engine does excel, but not so much in power production as in its sonic performance: The $2,000 bonus comes from the eight's heavenly roar of authority over the surprisingly ratty snarl of the 24-valve six.
The Saab 97X comfortably seats five adults. Like most luxury SUVs, it comes standard with all the latest amenities including heated leather seats, automatic climate control, a driver information computer, wood accents and the OnStar satellite communications system. It holds up to 41.0 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat back up and 80.1 cubic feet with the seatback folded down. A 60/40-split rear bench seat is standard as is a trailer hitch receiver and hitch receiver cover. This faux import comes all the way from the Nordic lands of Moraine, Ohio. While we like what the 2006 Saab 9-7X offers in principle, we think it's apt to be a tough sell to Saab's traditional clientele of highly educated people with discriminating tastes.
2006 Saab 9-7X configurations
The Saab 9-7X is a midsize four-door SUV that seats five and comes in two trims: Linear and Arc. Standard equipment on both trims includes 18-inch alloy wheels, a self-leveling rear air suspension, leather upholstery, wood interior trim (some of it faux, some of it real), 8-way power-adjustable and heated front seats (with driver-seat memory), dual-zone automatic climate control, an MP3-compatible Bose stereo with an in-dash CD changer and the OnStar communications system. In addition to more power, the Arc features HID headlights and power-adjustable pedals. Optional equipment highlights for the 9-7X include a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and a DVD-based navigation system.
Performance & mpg
Unlike all other Saabs, the 9-7X cannot be equipped with a turbocharged engine. The Linear trim comes with a 4.2-liter, inline six-cylinder engine capable of 290 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. The Arc packs a 5.3-liter V8 good for 300 hp and 330 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come standard with a four-speed automatic transmission that directs power to a standard all-wheel-drive system. Towing capacity is 5,500 pounds for the six-cylinder Linear and 6,500 for the V8-powered Arc.
The Saab 9-7X comes standard with stability control, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. The 9-7X received a mediocre three out of a possible five stars for driver protection in NHTSA's frontal crash test. Front passengers fare a bit better in the same test with a four-star rating.
Achieving the road feel of a European sedan using an American truck chassis is no small task, but Saab engineers put the double-A-arm front bone structure and multilink, solid-axle rear setup through a boot camp of geometrical adjustments, while stiffening the frame and revalving the shocks. And indeed the 2006 Saab 9-7X has a more stable ride and more responsive handling than any of its GM counterparts. However, less expensive SUVs like the Explorer and 4Runner still run circles around the Saab SUV when it comes to driving dynamics. Brake feel is another weak point, as the pedal lacks the confident, linear action expected in a premium-brand SUV. Both the standard inline six and optional V8 provide more than ample power, but neither has the refinement of the engines offered in the 4Runner or Touareg.
Saab drivers will feel right at home in the 9-7X's interior. Traditional brand distinctive design elements such as the instrument panel's cockpit-inspired center stack and center-mounted ignition will be instantly recognizable by aficionados. Wood grain trim on the dash and contrasting seat upholstery and door inserts do their part to give the 9-7X the progressive Scandinavian feel of other Saab models. Those who look closer will see the cabin's GM roots, a resemblance that cheapens the Saab 9-7X next to stylish rivals like the Touareg and XC90. Cargo capacity measures 41 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 80 cubes when they're folded.
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Features & Specs
More About This Model
Is it interesting to hear that General Motors suffered a $1.1-billion heart attack during the first three months of this year? Nope. Not for a fan of cars. Is it interesting that Saab — keeper of Sweden's style sense and GM's European luxury connection — is using its parent company's Buick Rainier as the basis for the 2006 9-7X? Not really all that interesting, no.
No, the only thing worth burning up enthusiast brain cells considering is this: Can an upscale midsize Saab SUV that's built in Ohio, using the GMT360 body-on-frame platform — shared by the Rainier, Chevrolet's TrailBlazer and GMC's Envoy — and powered by Vortec inline-six and V8 engines qualify for the attention of North American Saabophiles, Saabists, Saabisti and Saabatarians?
It Looks Like a Saab
A respectable Northern European sensibility kept the 9-7X's four-door exterior free of busy side cladding and contours. Saab stylists didn't have a clean sheet of paper to work with, so they did the next best thing: They gave the SUV a clean-sheet-of-paper look.
Saab also spent GM's money crafting a legitimate family-resemblance front end, complete with the now familiar "three-port" grille. At the tail end, both companies cared enough to fashion a rear-end treatment that integrates (rather than avoiding or ignoring) the tailpipe.
Two other serious steps in style allow the 9-7X to hold court with other European SUVs. For the pure sake of cool, Saab shaved the GMT360 springs to lower the 9-7X by about an inch. Then, in a particularly wild, Friday-night-in-Stockholm kind of moment, the company polished each corner of the vehicle with standard 18-inch alloy wheels and lowish-profile 55-series tires — something you won't find Land Rover, Porsche or even BMW doing.
Those wheels, by the way, are the only giveaways as to whether the 9-7X you're admiring is the inline-six or the V8 model: The eight gets a six-thick-spoke design, while the six-cylinder model sports an edgier 12-thin-spoke set.
It Walks Like a Saab
It's clear that Saab's suspension elves got the biggest say in 9-7X's blueprint. The double-A-arm front bone structure and multilink, solid-axle rear setup experienced an aggressive boot camp of geometrical adjustments, stiffenings (including the front anti-roll bar) and shock resettings. Add in full-time all-wheel drive, a limited-slip differential and — for those awkward times when traction takes a holiday — StabiliTrak, and you've got a Saab that will hold its own at pay-attention speeds in steady-state corners, and reset its considerable heft capably in transitions.
The slightly heavier V8 version fares best when ride quality is factored in. And while I've been stared down and assured by Saab's chief suspension guru that the two 9-7Xs are set up to feel the same, I came down from the mountain to tell you: The inline-six model carries itself a mite more nervously, while the V8 feels more at one with the road, especially when that road turns choppy.
Extra engineering put into the steering pays off with good linearity and a beautifully weighted feel at all speeds, which translates into decent turn-in and good control of the vehicle. This compliment gains added juice when you consider the wide footprint of the 255/55R-18 Dunlops.
Pity the 9-7X's poor disc brakes, however. It's a thankless job playing anchor to nearly 4,800 pounds of mass in motion. Saab just wasn't able to get past the numb feel and lackluster engagement of the dual-piston calipers.
It Talks Like a Buick
What should be the tie-breaker between the two 9-7X models — deciding whether you want the 290-hp inline six or the 300-hp V8 — feels more like a draw. The $40,000 4.2-liter six makes much less torque (277 pound-feet at 3,600 rpm) than the $42,000 5.3-liter V8 (330 at 4,000), but both feature excellent first-gear tip-in, with passable passing power on the highway. Even fuel economy is similar, thanks to GM's Displacement on Demand which cuts the V8 down from a powerful eight cylinders to a fuel-saving four when cruising. The bigger pushrod engine does excel, but not so much in power production as in its sonic performance: The $2,000 bonus comes from the eight's heavenly roar of authority over the surprisingly ratty snarl of the 24-valve six.
One gear short of the class norm, the Saab's Hydra-Matic four-speed automatic transmission shifts cleanly. The fact that it doesn't hunt between gears on hilly terrain reflects both the good availability of usable torque from either engine and the reality that a four-speed doesn't leave a lot of gear choices for varying driving situations.
It Feels Somewhat Like a Saab
Inside, the five-passenger 9-7X works hard to make you feel like you're in a Saab. There are the expected luxury hints: heated leather-appointed seats, Bose premium audio with six-CD changer, XM Satellite Radio, OnStar and side curtain airbags. And there are Saab-specific reminders: "Saab" doorsill plates, lattice-grille air vents, soft-touch knobs and the classic center-console-mounted ignition. The rear cargo area — 39.8 cubic feet/80.1 with the second-row seat folded down — features chrome-plated tie-downs. Very nice.
Headroom is good throughout the cabin, but front-seat folks get their generous legroom only at the expense of the second-row passengers. Outward vision is excellent. And although the 9-7X gets the same sound-insulation measures as the Buick Rainier, it's still not quiet enough to enjoy a civil conversation between the first and second rows at highway speeds.
Is It a Saab?
Is this the SUV that Trollhattan would have come up with if left to its own calipers and CAD/CAM specs? No. But it is the SUV that Saab needs. Even with the midsize lux market holding its breath to see if the drop in big-SUV sales is a cold that the smaller SUVs are going to catch, it's the SUV that Saab needs. Because without GM, Saab would be a ghost, talked about but dead, like Austin Healey, Packard and now, MG.
But is the 2006 Saab 9-7X a Saab? Well, folks, there are no hidden meanings. The 9-7X feels like a GM SUV that was brought to Sweden to get an infusion of legitimate Saab character, which — no surprise — is exactly what it is. And if you're a Saab person, there's no reason you shouldn't feel proud driving the Saab/GM 9-7X. Because the alternative would be nostalgia.
Used 2006 Saab 9-7X Overview
The Used 2006 Saab 9-7X is offered in the following submodels: 9-7X SUV. Available styles include 4.2i 4dr SUV AWD (4.2L 6cyl 4A), and 5.3i 4dr SUV AWD (5.3L 8cyl 4A).
What's a good price on a Used 2006 Saab 9-7X?
Price comparisons for Used 2006 Saab 9-7X trim styles:
- The Used 2006 Saab 9-7X 4.2i is priced between $4,950 and$4,950 with odometer readings between 154991 and154991 miles.
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Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2006 Saab 9-7X for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 2006 9-7XES listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $4,950 and mileage as low as 154991 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2006 Saab 9-7X.
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Find a used Saab 9-7X for sale - 4 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $21,547.
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Find a used certified pre-owned Saab for sale - 6 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $18,737.
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Should I lease or buy a 2006 Saab 9-7X?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.