Saab 9–2X

Saab 9-2xThe 9–3 is again in the shop, (need­ed a new ther­mo­stat), but this time my loan­er sto­ry is a bit more inter­est­ing that the Kia Rio of last week. You see, I was giv­en a 2004 9–2X loan­er – albeit, the base mod­el. What’s fun­ny, how­ev­er, is that I came away from the expe­ri­ence feel­ing once again that Saab is harm­ing its brand. Why you ask?

First, this is not a Saab. I don’t care if it has a 9–3 front-end, and grif­fin logo slapped on the wheel… the over­all char­ac­ter of the car screams Japan­ese. Based on the Sub­aru WRX, Saab sup­pos­ed­ly added a few styl­is­tic and per­for­mance “enhance­ments”.

I should note that it han­dles well, (AWD is stan­dard), and was fun to hit the MassPike exit ramps at a high veloc­i­ty. But, as an auto­mat­ic, and lack­ing Tur­bo, (which Saab invent­ed), I felt like I should have a cou­ple of kid­dos in the back seat.

The inte­ri­or was sur­pris­ing­ly sparse – the dis­plays were old-fash­ioned gray LCD, and the radio knobs was pret­ty low-end. In short, is lacks the Saab expe­ri­ence. When I first test-drove my 9–3, I felt as if I was in an air­plane cock­pit, with its short wind­shield, igni­tion between the seats, (rather than on the steer­ing col­umn), and the way the con­trols lit up. By com­par­i­son, the 9–2X feels very much like all the oth­er cars you’ve rid­den in.

Over­all, it is a fine car – though I’m not sure why one wouldn’t just go buy the Sub­aru ver­sion. GM, (Saab’s par­ent com­pa­ny), is prob­a­bly try­ing to attract a low­er-priced mar­ket seg­ment – 20-some­things who are attract­ed to the Saab brand, but who aren’t look­ing to spend $30k.

It was a risky gam­ble, toy­ing with the unique char­ac­ter of Saab… that said, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 9–2X on the road, though there are a glut of old 900s and 9–3s parked in my neigh­bor­hood.

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