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2005 Saab 9 2x Sport Wagon

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San Francisco: In order to expand its product line beyond the 9 3 and 9 5, which is owned by General Motors, Saab is marketing the 2005 9 2x built by Subaru as its entry-level vehicle. GM holds a 20-percent interest in Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru’s parent. Incidentally, to get an SUV into Saab dealer’s showrooms, soon it will offer the Saab 9 7 that shares its platform with the Chevrolet Trailblazer and GMC Envoy.

This approach allows Saab to bring additional models to market much sooner, and for much less investment, compared to developing new Saabs from scratch. The downside is that these new models are essentially badge-engineered versions of vehicles already on the road, rather than offering the uniqueness, some say quirkiness, of "true" Saabs.

The 2005 9-2x is basically a Subaru Impreza station wagon with a definite Saab look from the cowl forward. Also the tail end has been revised and the wheels are unique to the 9-2x. The Saab styling is a bit more subdued and refined compared to the Subaru version. While Saabs from day one with the 1947 Saab 92 have used front wheel drive, because the 9 2x is really a Subaru, like all Subarus, the 9 2x has all-wheel drive, the reason for the "x" in its title.

This should make it an even better all weather car than the already very competent traditional Saab 9 3 and 9 5 models designed for Swedish driving conditions. The 9 2x is built in Japan and sold only in the U.S. and Canada.

The 9 2x comes in two versions – the base Linear and more upscale Aero. It comes only as a Sport Wagon, and thus fills a void in the current Saab lineup after the 9 3 hatchback was replaced by the 9 3 four door sedan. The Linear is powered by 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 165-horsepower at 5600 rpm and 166 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm.

Like all Saab 9 3s and 9 5s, the Aero has a turbocharged engine, but a Subaru engine from the WRX and not a Saab engine. This 2-liter engine produces 227-horsepower at 6000 rpm and 225 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm. Both engines are Subaru’s respected horizontally opposed, "boxer" type engines. A five-speed manual transmission is standard with a four-speed automatic optional. The fuel tank holds 15.9 gallons. A limited-slip rear differential, four-wheel disc brakes and ABS are standard.

As expected the 9 2x drives like a Subaru rather than a Saab. This means a more sporty, street racer ride rather than the more luxury sport sedan qualities found in the more senior Saabs. Subaru Imprezas, especially the WRX version, have earned high marks in the handling, braking and off-the-line performance. These traits have been carried over to the Saab 9 2, but with some refinement. This includes tweaking the suspension and steering to provide a somewhat gentler ride, but with little compromise to the Suburas excellent road feel and cornering ability. Added insulation provides a somewhat quieter interior. The power available in the turbocharged Aero is pretty awesome and comes on with barely any noticeable turbo lag. 

The interior is also pretty much Subaru except for more subdued color combinations and the Saab badge on the steering wheel. Subaru’s frameless side windows mean the doors don’t close with quite the same clunk as other Saabs. The 9 2x can carry five in reasonable comfort, and when the 60 / 40 split folding seat is folded down there is lots of room to carry your stuff.

Even the base Linear comes well equipped. Standard equipment includes 16-inch alloy wheels, rear roof spoiler, cloth sport seats, manual air conditioning, theft alarm, remote keyless entry, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, four-speaker AM / FM / CD and power windows, mirrors and locks.

The Aero adds functional air scoop, leather wrapped steering wheel, automatic climate control, front fog lights, 17-inch wheels, and six-speaker stereo with in dash CD changer. Safety features includes front airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, and whiplash preventing active head restraints. The option list is quite short - heated seats, moonroof, heated mirrors and seats, and HID headlights. Power seats are not available, but the manual seats are user friendly.

Prices for the Saab 9 2x are $23,685 for the Linear and $27,645 for the Aero. By comparison, the very similar Subaru Impreza Sport Wagon and WRX Sport Wagon are $18,049 and $24,970, respectively. You’ll have to decide if the Saab name and upgrades are worth the additional money.

Incidentally, the Saab 9 3, a "real" Saab, starts at about $27,500. While this sedan doesn’t have the carrying capacity of the 9 2x Sport Wagon, items like leather, electronic stability system and trip computer are standard. A big plus could be the Saab 9-2’s four-year / 50,000 mile warranty and two years of free scheduled maintenance. Subaru only offers a three-year / 36,000 mile warranty. To sum it up, I know Saabs, I even own one, and this is no Saab. However, the new Saab 9 2x is a very good car in its own right.  By Bill Siuru and Shawn Stewart  AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo AutoWire.Net
Column Name: 
 The new Saab 9 2x is a very good car in its own right
Topic: 
 The 2005 Saab 9 2x Sport Wagon
Word Count:  
948
Photo Caption: 
The 2005 Saab 9 2x Sport Wagon
Photo Credits:  
Saab Internet Media
Series #:   2004 - 61

Download the Microsoft Word version here:   2005 Saab 9 2 x

Download the Original Image File here:   2005 Saab 9 2 x 39k

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