Premium midsize SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $6,700 – $16,500*


2005 Saab 9-7X


2005 Saab 9-7X


2005 Saab 9-7X


2006 Saab 9-7X

Pros:
  • Acceleration
  • Passenger and cargo room
Cons:
  • Fuel economy

Saab’s SUV makes the most of its shared architecture. The 9-7X delivers better driving dynamics and interior design than the General Motors SUVs on which it’s based. However, compared with the class-leading Acura MDX, Lexus RX, and Volvo XC90, the Saab falls short in drivetrain refinement and cabin materials. Still, Saab’s nonconformist attitude may appeal to buyers seeking an SUV that doesn’t look like the one in their neighbor’s garage.

Overview

Saab’s first SUV was a truck-type wagon with standard all-wheel drive and available 6- and 8-cyl engines. General Motors owned Saab during this period, and the 9-7X shared its basic architecture with the GM midsize-SUV family that included the Chevrolet TrailBlazer. It had Saab styling cues, a Saab-style dashboard, and the Swedish brand’s traditional center-console-mounted ignition switch. Other differences included Saab-specific steering, suspension, and brake systems. It came in a single body length with seating for five. Powertrains were from GM: a 290-hp inline 6-cyl or 300-hp V8. The V8 featured GM’s Active Fuel Management, which deactivated four cylinders while cruising to save fuel. A 4-speed automatic was the sole transmission. The AWD lacked low-range gearing. ABS, antiskid system, and load-leveling suspension were standard. So were curtain side airbags with rollover deployment. Power-adjustable pedals and xenon headlights were standard on V8 versions, available on the 6-cyl. A navigation system was optional.

Yearly Updates

2006 9-7X
2005 was a short model year for the 9-7X, and as such, ’06 versions had no changes of note.
2007 9-7X
Saab’s SUV got no changes of note for 2007.
2008 9-7X
New for 2008 was the 9-7X Aero, which had a 390-hp 6.0-liter V8. Aeros got sport suspension, specific exterior trim, and 20-inch wheels.
2009 9-7X
Newly available on all 9-7X models was a wireless cell-phone link, but there were few other changes.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/all-wheel drive

Saab’s first SUV had a choice of two engines, both shared with GM’s other midsize SUVs: the Buick Rainier, Chevrolet TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, and Isuzu Ascender. The 6-cyl models had a 291-hp 4.2-liter inline six. V8 versions had a 300-hp 5.3-liter with GM’s Active Fuel Management. The only transmission available was a 4-speed automatic. New for 2008 was the 9-7X Aero, which had a 390-hp 6.0-liter V8.

dohc I6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.2/256
Engine HP 291
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 277
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

15/21

ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 5.3/325
Engine HP 300
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 330
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

15/20

15.0

ohv V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 6.0/366
Engine HP 390
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 395
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
4-speed automatic

12/16

Road Test

Like the other GM SUVs with which the 9-7X shares its basic design, the 6-cyl versions provide brisk takeoffs and adequate power. V8 models feel measurably stronger on both counts. The outdated 4-speed automatic has to shift frequently on hilly terrain compared to other competitors’ 5- and 6-speed transmissions. Towing capacity is 6500 lb with the V8.

A test V8 9-7X averaged 15.0 mpg in mixed driving. While we have not yet tested a 6-cyl 9-7X, similar Chevrolet TrailBlazers averaged 12.9 in mostly city driving, 17.9 in mostly highway driving.

Saab’s suspension tweaks help the 9-7X feel more composed than its GM stablemates. A standard air-spring rear suspension further irons out imperfections. But, some surfaces still bring out bounciness that’s inherent to the 9-7X’s basic platform. Also improved over its siblings is steering and handling response. It’s not carlike by any stretch, but its steering is nicely weighted and direct in feel.

Along with the Buick Rainier, 9-7X has additional sound insulation when compared to GM’s other midsize SUVs. As such, it has noticeably less wind and road noise. The V8 engine is smooth and refined, but 6-cyl models roar at full throttle.

Interior control layout is similar among all these GM utilities. Saab’s treatment is superior, though, with price-appropriate materials. Some elements, such as the lower door panels, retain the cheap plastic feel of the other GM models. The 9-7X’s console-mounted ignition switch is a Saab tradition we find unobjectionable.

Overall interior comfort is good as well. Head and leg room is fine both front and rear. The seat cushions are on the soft side so they don’t provide ideal support. Step-in height is modest, and the available power-adjustable pedals are a boon for shorter drivers.

Cargo space is on par with that of other midsize SUVs. The 60/40 split rear seatback folds easily with help from automatic-folding headrests. It opens a large cargo hold. In-cabin storage is quite good, with an array of bins and cubbies.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2006 Saab 9-7X Base V8

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 7
70%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 5
50%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 6
60%
Cargo Room - 8
80%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 61

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
113.0 193.2 75.4 68.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
81.0 22.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.2 39.6 41.4 37.1
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2005 9-7X 4-door wagon w/side airbags 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 3
60%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Airbags
Description: The airbag warning light may not go off due to a faulty seat belt tension sensor in the right front seat belt retractor assembly. (2006-07)
Engine stalling
Description: The engine may not start or may stall because the tank is empty yet the gauge shows fuel remaining, or the fuel gauge will not show full after refilling due to sulfur corrosion of the fuel level sender. If after treating with Fuel System Cleaner PLUS the problem remains, the sender may need to be replaced. (2005-06)
Oil leak
Description: An oil leak at the back of the 4.2L straight six engine on early-build vehicles may appear to be a rear main seal, but is instead due to porosity in the crankshaft which must be plugged. (2005)
Oil leak
Description: Oil may leak from the rear of V8 engines in the area of the rear cover gasket, but is most likely casting porosity of the engine block. (2005-06)
Oil leak
Description: An oil leak at the oil pressure sensor on the V8 engine may cause the low oil light to come on and oil level to become low. (2006-07)
Suspension problems
Description: The rear suspension may sag requiring recalibration of the rear spring sensors. (2006-07)
Vehicle noise
Description: A sensation of being bumped from behind or a loud thump when stopping may be due to a slip-stick in the transfer case and drive shaft slip yoke which must be replaced. (2005-09)
Water leak
Description: Water may leak into the driver’s side kick panel shorting out the acceleration position sensor resulting in lack of power and illumination of the check engine light. (2005-08)
Windshield washer
Description: Windshield washers may not immediately squirt because fluid drains down requiring a check valve in the hose. (2006-07)
Electrical problem
Description: If the OnStar system quits or won’t come one (no power), but comes back to life if the fuse is removed for five minutes, the vehicle communications interface module must be replaced or else the problem will recur. (2004-06)
Electrical problem
Description: The DVD monitors in the front seat headrests may quit working because the video feed cable comes loose requiring installation of cable clamps. (2005-08)
Electrical problem
Description: When using a portable music player (e.g. iPod) there may be noise in the car’s speakers whenever the vehicle’s power adapter is used and a ground loop isolator (from Radio Shack) is required between the device and the power outlet to prevent the noise. (2005-07)
None
Description: The ABS warning light illuminated due to the ABS speed sensor wiring chafing on the underside of the A/C compressor. (2005-08)
Transmission problems
Description: A low-frequency groaning sound from the rear while making turns is caused by problems with the limited slip differential clutches, requiring replacement of the entire differential case and components. (2005)
Transmission problems
Description: Erratic operation of the AWD system due to water entering the transfer case speed sensor wiring. (2005-07)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light may come on intermittently (and potential engine overheating) due to damage wires to the cooling fan clutch, requiring a replacement wiring harness. (2005)

Recall History

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.