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Saab 9-7X

The Saab 9-7X was a Saab-branded mid-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) based on General Motors' GMT360 platform, which also included the GMC Envoy, Buick Rainier, Oldsmobile Bravada, Isuzu Ascender, and Chevrolet TrailBlazer (and for this the 9-7X had been given the nickname "Trollblazer", although it was not assembled in Trollhättan, Sweden, the traditional production site for Saabs). The 9-7X was the first American built Saab. It was assembled in the same United States Moraine, Ohio production plant as the other GMT360 SUVs and shared many components with its platform mates. The Saab 9-7X succeeded the Oldsmobile Bravada as GM's flagship mid-size SUV, and was GM's highest priced mid-size SUV, as well as the most expensive Saab ever produced. Its bodyshell was shared with the previously discontinued Bravada, yet its exterior was distinguished by its front fascia, headlamps, hood, fenders, roof rack, tail lamps, rear wiper, wheels, tires, and rear bumper.

It was the only GMT360 SUV not available with rear-wheel drive and, along with the Saab 9-2X, one of the first Saabs to feature standard all-wheel drive. 9-7X was also the first production Saab with a V8 engine. It also featured substantial chassis revisions, including a 1-inch (25 mm) lower ride height, revised bushings and dampers, standard rear air suspension, and quicker steering to sharpen the handling. The interior design was inspired by the Saab 9-5 with features like the console-mounted ignition switch and swing-out cupholder retained. Missing were the "night panel" switch that extinguished all unnecessary dash lighting, as well as the Saab active head restraints.

The GMT360 platform and the 9-7X were not scheduled to be updated or continued after the 2009 model year. It's position in the Saab lineup was eventually to be occupied by the Subaru B9 Tribeca-based Saab 9-6X, however GM divested its Subaru stock, leading to the 9-6X development being cancelled, giving the Tribeca an early face-lift as the 9-6X exterior was less controversial. Instead, the position will be filled by the Theta-based 9-4X, a vehicle scheduled for production during the 2010 model year. According to the GM Fleet website, the 9-7X, along with its platform mates, the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy were to remain in production for the entire 2009 model year. However GM closed the Moraine plant on December 23, 2008. The decision to close came early in the 2009 model year as sales continued to decline throughout the North American SUV segment. Sales of the 9-7X declined 30 percent in the first nine months of 2008. Envoy and Trailblazer sales declined 44 percent and 37 percent respectively.

Contents

[hide]
  • 1 Variants
  • 2 Markets
  • 3 References
  • 4 External links

[edit] Variants

All 9-7Xs featured all-wheel drive with a rear limited-slip differential, leather seats, 18-inch (460 mm) alloy wheels, and side-curtain airbags. Entertainment and convenience features included OnStar, XM Satellite Radio, a 6-CD 6-speaker 275 Watt Bose audio system, available DVD-based navigation system, and either a moonroof or a rear-seat DVD entertainment system. (From 2006 on, those two options could be combined) Like other Saab models, there were two named variants in 2005:

  • Linear (later renamed 4.2i) - Featured the 285 horsepower (213 kW) Atlas LL8 straight-6 engine with 12-spoke wheels.
  • Arc (later renamed 5.3i) - Featured the 300 horsepower (224 kW) Vortec LH6 V8 engine with six-spoke wheels and added xenon HID headlamps with high-pressure washers and adjustable pedals. The 5.3 litre V8 engine gained Displacement on Demand in 2006.
  • Aero - For 2008 a new high performance variant was added using the 390 horsepower (291 kW) 6.0L GM Small-Block LS2 also found in the Chevrolet Trailblazer SS, featuring 20 inch wheels, a heavy-duty automatic transmission and Aero-embroidered leather-appointed seats and floormats. Saab claimed that the 9-7X Aero could go from 0 to 60 mph in under 6 seconds.

The Saab 9-7X (or Saab 97X) should not be confused with the Saab 97 (Saab Sonett II and III) produced from 1966 to 1974.

[edit] Markets

Although the Saab 9-7X was developed for the North American market, the model was also sold in many countries: Bulgaria, Chile, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Netherlands, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates.

[edit] References

  • "Saab Gets Dirty With First SUV". Wards Auto World. http://wardsauto.com/ar/auto_saab_gets_dirty/index.htm. Retrieved July 13 2005.
  • Saab 9-7X will be distributed in Switzerland and Italy via importers, and will be sold through selected Saab dealers, The Auto Channel
  • General Motors Presents More Than A Dozen Debuts at 8th Middle East International Motor Show, GM Media Online GM Arabia
  • GM to close Ohio SUV factory December 23, The Detroit News

[edit] External links

  • Saab USA press release
  • Saab 9-7X Official Home Page