Versus the competiton:
Back in my kid-less days, purchasing a vehicle was simple. I had to find a salesperson who actually listened to me, which admittedly was a tad tricky, but from that point on it was just a matter of money. Now, with two little ones in tow, there are litanies of what might seem like trivial factors to consider.
Who would think I would actually place any emphasis on where the backseat cupholders are located? How about compartment space, so I can quickly get to any of the desperately needed necessities at a moment’s notice without fishing through a pile of junk on the passenger seat? Anything at all to help keep the children happy so I can motor-meditate … those precious moments when I am not tugged at, shouted at, whined at and/or finger-pointed at (just to name a few).
Truth be told, my husband and I have had some of our best, uninterrupted conversations in the car, while the kids are asleep in the back. And I know I’m not the only parent out there who occasionally drives the kids around to keep the peace. So you see, my car is much more than just a means of transportation: It is an extension of my home.
When standing in front of the 9-7X, I immediately recognize that classic Saab look. Once in the car, it takes me a split second to find the ignition, which is located by the gearshift, in true Saab spirit. Our drive up to snow country is smooth and quiet … well, that is when the kids tire of their shouting match. Since the Saab 9-7X is an all-wheel-drive SUV, I don’t even have to bother with manually shifting the car into four-wheel drive once in the mountains. Always nice when highway travel is involved.
Noticing the backseat headset plugs, I wish for just one of the many headsets we have floating about at home and resolve to put “finding just one headset” on my to-do list. The satellite radio would surely keep my preschooler entertained for hours. Too bad my to-do list is longer than our refrigerator, and the headset item will be condemned to the very bottom … you know, the yucky spot where the dust bunnies curl up with lost fridge magnets.
The pedal adjustment, along with the eight-way seat control with memory, allows me to get into a comfy driving position. I also love the seat heater, which I crank up to make me feel as though I’m indulging in some kind of nifty heat therapy. Even my husband gets into the act.
Compartment space is at a premium in the Saab 9-7X. I get into a tug-of-war with my watch, which gets caught when pulling my hand out of the awkward driver-side door compartment. What a nuisance. I guess I’ll keep my son’s discarded artwork in that one – the kind you just can’t bring yourself to throw out yet, but have absolutely no space for. The center console offers an armrest that opens up to a large, rather uncreative compartment, swallowing up my belongings immediately. Other than that, all I’ve got to work with is a tiny glove box and another crevice-like passenger door compartment. Needless to say, I opt for the passenger seat to dump all of my rubbish.
As far as cupholders are concerned, I can barely remove my large latte while in Park due to the shifter, which does not score any points considering my carpool scenario. Furthermore, the cupholders in the back are too low for young children to reach. Bummer!
When installing car seats, I notice that the cargo hold has a total of five identical, unmarked top anchors/tie downs. When consulting the owner’s manual, I learn that only the back three are actually top tethers for child safety seats. I wish they were marked. Correct car-seat installation is already a huge issue, and people need the best chance possible to get it all right. For the Latch crowd, I tug on a pull attached to each rear seat, exposing a flap, which cleverly conceals the easy-to-reach Latches when not in use.
Although the Saab 9-7X is loaded with airbags and other safety gear, I just don’t find it as functional as I want an SUV to be. That, coupled with the lofty sticker price, means I smile and say “Ciao Bella” and look forward to my next test vehicle.
*For more information on the Saab 9-7X and its safety features, visit www.cars.com.
LET’S TALK NUMBERS
LATCH Connectors: 2
Seating Capacity (includes driver): 5
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS THAT COUNT
Storage Compartments (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Fair
Cargo/Trunk Space (Puny, Fair, Ample, Galore): Ample
SENSE AND STYLE
Family Friendly (Not Really, Fair, Great, Excellent): Fair-Great
Fun-Factor (None, Some, Good Times, Groove On): Good Times