2006 Saab 9-2X

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$22,990

starting MSRP

2006 Saab 9-2X

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

The good:

  • Handling and maneuverability
  • Ride comfort
  • Seat support

The bad:

  • Seat-bottom comfort

2 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2006 Saab 9-2X trim comparison will help you decide.

Notable features

  • 173-hp or 230-hp &quot
  • boxer&quot
  • engine
  • Manual or automatic
  • Standard AWD
  • European styling cues

2006 Saab 9-2X review: Our expert's take

By

The verdict:

Versus the competiton:

It was a birth that raised eyebrows among the extended families involved, even though they’re half a world apart: ”The Saab and Subaru families are pleased to introduce a new arrival: The 2006 Saab 9-2X.”

Imagine the reaction.

”Hmmm. It doesn’t drive like anything from our family,” said the relatives from Sweden. ”And look, it doesn’t even have the ignition switch tucked down between the front seats like a real Saab.”

”Well, it sure acts and runs around like one of us, even if it looks more Swedish than Japanese,” said the Subaru clan.

Meanwhile, General Motors, the matchmaker, beamed.

If it looked like a Saab and ran like a Subaru, how could that be a bad thing? Especially in New England, where each marque has a tradition of being a great winter vehicle and each has an almost cult-like following. In this melding of strengths, Saab gets a reliable ”entry-level” vehicle; Subaru sells a lot of engines and running gear (and future replacement parts).

However, this marriage of convenience shook up the motoring press, which immediately dubbed the newcomer, somewhat derogatorily, as ”The Saab-aru.”

This car really does look like a Saab but drives and handles like a Subaru. We approached it with an open mind, but the visual and driving feedback cues are so obvious as to be startling. Still, it’s a good car. What we’re dealing with is a basic Subaru Impreza five-door (compact wagon) with Saab sheet metal, especially noticeable on the front with the three-inlet grille, rounded fender and bumpers, and horizontal headlights. All the visual cues say Saab.

And, if you’re going to copy an all-wheel drive system, why not Subaru’s virtually fail-safe system?

One place where the Saab and Subaru families agree is in having two trim lines. Subaru’s Impreza has its base models and the turbocharged WRX model. Saab has its normal model and then the turbocharged Aero.

Saab-o-philes will look askance at the ”woven textile” (we’d call it rough cloth) upholstery. The seats are fine for local driving, but a bit on the short side for long hauls, and the manual adjustments take some fiddling to find the right balance of height and uprightness.

Our test model was the standard Linear with a 2.5-liter, 16-valve, four-cylinder engine and four-speed automatic transmission. Base price was $22,990. The only add-ons were the automatic transmission ($1,250) and cold-weather package ($600). The cold-weather package added heated front seats, heated outside mirrors, and a heated ”wiper de-icer.”

The car was satisfactory in all aspects, with the exception of downshifting on steep Route 1 hills from Topsfield toward Newburyport.

One of the quirks of Subarus is that this boxer 4-cylinder engine isn’t particularly economical. We’ve generally returned mileage in the 22-25 miles per gallon range with Subarus. How, then, to report we got 27 in this Saab-aru?

Interior space was tight. You get the feeling this is an economy model rather than a luxury car. But in this match made in GM heaven, they spliced some strong genes. The rest can be tweaked.

This reviewer always appreciated vehicle makers that put ”stand out from the crowd” body styles on proven running gear: VW’s Karman Ghia, the Chevy El Camino, Honda’s del Sol.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.2
  • Interior design 4.0
  • Performance 4.6
  • Value for the money 4.0
  • Exterior styling 4.6
  • Reliability 4.6

Most recent consumer reviews

3.3

Had its time in the sun, buyer beware!

I adored this car when I purchased it used in 2012. Saab styling and Subaru reliability seemed a marriage made in heaven. Pros: The car can corner on a dime. Really. AWD grip and the right tires and you can keep up with even 'real' sports cars when the road twists and turns...and keep going when the weather gets bad. Saab styling. The Subarus of this generation were downright frumpy. The Saab nose and standard spoiler make this wagon special. Amenities like heated wiper parks, seats and mirrors make this car a true winter warrior. Subaru engine - the boxer engine is a great design. Plenty of midrange power in the 2.5i. Bulletproof. Just make sure you use non-corrosive OEM coolant and change the oil every 3000 miles. Cons. The big one - they only made ~6000 of these. They aren't really Saabs. They aren't really Subarus. You may not find a shop that is comfortable fixing (and then warrantying) anything complex. Collision. If you get in a fender-bender you will wait for parts. I did. Front bumper cracked in a <2 mph bump. Took 6 months to find a used bumper in a bone yard. Forget finding a new front or back clip. Insurance prices are high due to this. They only made 6000 so no one is going to invest money in making new bumpers anymore. Transmission. The automatic is a 25 year old 4-spd. design. Never knows what gear to end up in. Smash the gas to pass or get into traffic and the car just sits there for 3-4 seconds wondering what to do before it brutally downshifts and jerks out into traffic. Subaru ditched this tranny in 2007/8 for a CVT. If you like the car, get a 5 spd. Much more fun. MPG. I traded in a SUV for this car for both the AWD and the gas mileage. Not the improvement I was expecting for a compact car. 19-23 mpg is all you get. Some small SUVs will do that with more cargo room, ground clearance and ride height. Now I praised the cars handling, but man is this car low. You will look up at even a Civic next to you! Maybe nothing that can be done here, but wow. If Saab were still around to make parts I'd give it a 4/5 for value, but this car is at the end of its road. And sadly it just isn't enough of a 'classic' for anyone to take the risk to support it anymore. Buy an Impreza. Run from the Saab, it saddens me to say.

4.7

Fun of a Saab, reliability of a Subaru

This is a perfect match of dependability and speed/control. I just wish it got better gas mileage. For a compact car, I'd expect 30+ mpg, but it gets just less than that. Still, with its great handling in inclement weather and its strong engine performance on the road, this is a nice affordable cross between practicality and fun. I prefer this to our SUV on highway trips. It keeps up with traffic better on the freeways and it's got great stop-and-go response. Note: I have the manual 5-speed edition. I prefer stick shifts to automatics, and this one has not let me down.

4.7

Excellent value for its price and AWD

I got my 06 Aero in July and already put 7k miles on without a single problem. The turbo 2.5i is very strong at 3rd and 4th gears and AWD is superior than my 01 BMW X5. Road holding and braking are not BMW graded yet but this Made-in-Japan SAAB reliability definitely beats European cousins so far. It is a great buy considering that I paid only 23K for it that comes with 2 years free schedule service. The seat is on the firm side, wished it a bit more plush like the X5.

See all 5 consumer reviews

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See all 2006 Saab 9-2X articles