Saab to unveil 9-4X at LA Auto Show
Is restrained, austere Scandinavian styling enough to set the 9-4X apart in the crowded crossover segment?
Saab released photos of its upcoming 9-4X crossover SUV that will be unveiled at the upcoming 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show.
The third addition to the Saab line up is an inherited product from the old GM roadmap, but it's a much needed vehicle to cater to the growing crossover segment if the brand is going to survive. In the U.S., the 9-4X will be available with either an entry-level 265 horsepower 3-liter V-6 engine or, in the top-of-the-line Aero trim, a 300 horsepower 2.8-liter V-6 turbo engine. Europe will also get a diesel. All models will be paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and features standard all-wheel-drive, but Aero will use Saab's DriveSense, which offers four driving modes: default Intelligent, Sport, Comfort, and Eco. Eco mode will help drivers conserve fuel by re-mapping the throttle pedal and gearshifting patterns, but by how much is not known -- Saab has yet to release fuel economy ratings.
The 9-4X should help the Swedish/Dutch carmaker compete with other mid-range luxury brands on the market, especially Volvo in Europe. However, the two Scandinavian brands have been struggling in the U.S. and are battling declining sales while other carmakers are showing gains as the domestic economy improves. Making matters worse, the cross-over segment is getting awfully crowded, and the Saab doesn't offer too many differentiators from its more popular and better-entrenched counterparts except for restrained, austere styling.