Saab's 9-4X hits dealerships after three years' buildup. Shown in concept form back in January 2008, the five-seater finally puts the Scandinavian automaker into the luxury crossover segment. The 9-4X shares underpinnings with the Cadillac SRX from onetime parent company GM. As such, competitors include everything from the Lexus RX 350 to the Audi Q5, Mercedes-Benz GLK and BMW X3.
Trim levels include the V-6 3.0i and 3.0i Premium, both with front- or all-wheel drive. A turbocharged 9-4X Aero tops off the lineup. The Aero comes only with all-wheel drive.
The 9-4X sports styling cues similar to Saab's new 9-5 sedan, complete with black window pillars and side mirrors to give the semblance of a wraparound windshield. Up front is the automaker's trademark three-portal grille, and the headlights employ blue-tinted lenses under what Saab calls its "ice-block" theme. Lower portions of the bumpers are clad in gray.
Aero versions have mesh grille inserts, fog lights, xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights and 20-inch alloy wheels. Xenon headlights are optional on the 3.0i Premium. Both 3.0i and 3.0i Premium trims have 18-inch alloys. A panoramic moonroof is optional across the board.
The 9-4X's dash puts a single, curling dome over the instruments and center controls. Saab's signature air vents employ a joystick-like knob for directional airflow. The three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel has standard cruise and audio controls. Vinyl seats and faux wood trim are standard. Genuine leather, heated and cooled front seats and faux carbon fiber trim are optional.
The rear seat folds in a 60/40 split, with a center pass-through for skis or other long items. Rear climate control and heated rear seats are optional. Behind the rear seats is 29.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity — ahead of the GLK's 23.3 cubic feet, and in the neighborhood of the X3 and Q5. The larger RX, meanwhile, has 40 cubic feet.
Under the Hood
The 9-4X 3.0i and 3.0i Premium have a 3.0-liter V-6 with 265 horsepower and 223 pounds-feet of torque. The Aero has a turbocharged 2.8-liter V-6 with 300 hp and 295 pounds-feet of torque. It comes standard with all-wheel drive, which is optional on lesser trims. Both engines operate through a six-speed automatic transmission. The Aero has steering-wheel paddle shifters, as well as an adaptive suspension that can be set to varying levels of firmness.
Six airbags, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system are standard.