News Column

Saab 9-7X Aero

February 1, 2008

By Ralph Gray

Saab 9-7X Aero
Saab 9-7X Aero

The Saab 9-7X Aero is greater than the sum of its General Motors parts. It's a nice combo of Swedish quirk and GM muscle.

Pure GM V-8 power driving rear/all wheels provides the Aero with the darn near ability to fly.

That's due to the whopping 6L V-8 of 345 horsepower that boots the mid-size sports utility to 60 mph in a blink. Or 5.9 seconds. It can also tow a respectable 6,600 pounds.

Its Saab-tweaked suspension keeps it firmly on track on the road with the aid of GM's StabilTrak electronic stability control. Now that's how to meld a Saab and a GM. Base price for the 9-7X Aero comes to $46,755 and $50,200 tested.

Twisted are handled with a minimum of lean. Huge, 20-inch tires are a big help. They are aided by stiffer springs and "sport-tuned" shock absorbers.

That sportier setup contributes to a firmer-than-GM ride but it's not uncomfortable. The turns are handled confidently with the feeling that more speed will be handled easily. There's a bit of understeer so drivers pay attention.

The driving position is excellent with a good view of the hood. Side mirrors could be larger. They are in a more Aero-dynamic shape. The great four spoke steering wheel comes from the General. It is easily mitted and there are audio controls.

Sadly GM is foisting its Smart Stalk lever onto the Aero. The SS combines turn signals, lights and cruise control in one clunky stalk.

Saab 9-7X Aero interior Saab 9-7X Aero

•Engine:6L V-8

•Dimensions: 113" wheelbase; 193.2" length

•Base price: $46,755/tested $50,200

•Fuel economy: 12/16 mpg

As a result of the SS, the usual knob at the left of the steering wheel for the lights is gone. In its place is a knob that takes on the vital work of the rear wiper. The radio has small, round controls for volume and station but the presets are hidden in the navigation screen.

The Aero handles neatly in traffic and can zip into parking slots with ease.

The ignition lock is on the floor, between the seats where it belongs in a Saab. Other Scandinavian touches include instrument panels angled toward the driver, sliding-panel air vents, a fascia-integrated cup holder and the aforementioned console ignition key.

Aero is fine around town where its fuel economy of 12 mpg (we got 13.1) is the only drawback. On the road, it's a long distance cruiser getting acceptable fuel economy of 16 mpg or better.

The front end has Saab's three port grille and the rear quarter windows appear to wrap around the back pillars. In other words, it looks more like a sedan than a bulging truck.

The swift Swede is made in Moraine, Ohio.

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