2010 Saab 9-3X.
April 8, 2009.
Saab introduced the 2010 9-3X at the 2009 New York International Auto Show on April 8, a rugged all-rounder aimed at active individualists seeking an alternative to a large crossover or SUV. It is the vehicle’s North American debut, following its world premiere last month at the Geneva Auto Show.
Developed and manufactured at Saab’s headquarters in Trollhättan, Sweden, the 9-3X is designed to stylishly transport outdoor enthusiasts to their adventures. It features distinctive looks; a versatile SportCombi body; higher stance; and advanced all-wheel-drive technology. On top of that, the 9-3X also offers fuel efficiency and functional storage without limits on the kinds of roads it can travel.
In the 9-3X, the acclaimed Saab Cross Wheel Drive (XWD) system – which made its debut in the Turbo X limited edition model last year – will be combined with the fuel-efficient 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine. The 9-3X embodies Saab’s “EcoPower” technology philosophy, which aims at combining a dynamic driving experience with an efficient use of resources to achieve responsible performance.
Saab designers raised the chassis of the two-wheel-drive 9-3 SportCombi 1.4 inches (35 mm) and added automatic body-leveling so the 9-3X can handle a rugged driving terrain regardless of the load on the rear axle. It is designed for those who frequently travel gravel or unpaved roads, without compromising the driving experience on asphalt.
The Saab 9-3X is a car in tune with the less-is-more priorities of today’s customers. “The 9-3X is an efficient choice for anyone who doesn’t want or need an SUV-type vehicle,” said Simon Padian, Saab design chief. “Simply put, we are offering a trekking shoe that will do what’s required in more comfort and style than a heavier mountaineering boot.”
New front and rear bumpers feature a dark gray, grained finish that is also applied to the side sills and the edges of the wheel arches as a protective covering when the terrain becomes loose or muddy. This treatment is complemented by skid panels with a matte aluminum finish, curving up toward the door opening at the rear and adopting a wing form in the lip of the lower front bumper. These are matched by matte, aluminum-finish lower door decor strips. Roof rails and visible, twin round exhaust outlets are standard. Front fog lamps ringed with a chrome finish add yet another bold accent.
With the addition of newly designed, multi-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels, the 9-3X’s exterior character reflects its ability to handle mixed road conditions, whether rough or smooth, loose or paved. Inside, the 9-3X interior is based on top-of-the-line specifications, adding a Dark Titan Metallic finish to the door trims, glove box and gearshift surround. Leather-appointed sport seats and a leather sport steering wheel are standard, as well as “9-3X”-labeled inner door sills.
At the heart of the 9-3X is Saab’s cutting-edge XWD system. It is an intelligent, active system that continuously distributes torque between the front and rear axles as required for optimum stability and grip in all conditions.
The hardware includes an electronically controlled Torque Transfer Device (TTD) that varies power delivery between the axles. A valve increases or reduces hydraulic pressure on wet clutch plates inside the TTD to progressively engage or disengage the rear axle. The degree of slip dictates how much drive is transmitted to the rear wheels. A standard rear electronically controlled limited-slip differential (eLSD) operates on the same principle, splitting torque across the axle to whichever wheel has more grip.
As part of the Swedish manufacturer’s rightsizing strategy, the 9-3X will come to the U.S. with Saab’s hallmark 2.0L gasoline turbocharged four-cylinder engine, offering 210 horsepower (157 kW). It is mated to a choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
Form meets function in luggage area.
The 9-3X also is designed to make loading sports and leisure equipment easy, matching form with function. The rear cargo area’s low floor is surprisingly spacious and well-proportioned. The compact design of the rear suspension allows a deep, box-like space, free from intrusions, offering a useful rear seat up/down volume of 25.4 to 59.5 cubic feet (719 to 1,685 liters).
The 60/40-split rear seatback incorporates a ski hatch and folds down without any need to move the fixed seat cushion. The fold-down front passenger seatback also makes it possible to carry items that are as long as 8 feet (2.4 meters).
The fully carpeted rear load space is illuminated by two interior lights mounted on the inside of the D-pillars. It is accessed by a lightly weighted tailgate that opens down to bumper level, its damper rods completely hidden in the roof to allow a clear, uncluttered opening. The flush-fitted, black-molded floor plate has been designed to resist scratching even in heavy use.
The TwinFloor stowage facility helps keep luggage and equipment safe and tidy. The middle section of the floor hinges upward transversely when the handle is pulled, so the front edge fits into two retaining slots. There is also a 12-volt power outlet in the main load area (for a hot or cool box) and a separate storage compartment at either side of the floor, one fitted with a molded holder for large bottles.
Saab: a longstanding heritage in North America.
Saab made its American debut as a car manufacturer at the 1956 New York Auto Show with a small display of three vehicles including the eye-catching Sonett “Super Sport.” Only six years after selling its very first car and becoming established in Scandinavia, Saab was ready to enter North America as an entirely new market for the Swedish automaker. Since then, more than 1.1 million Saabs have been sold to customers throughout the United States.
The 2010 Saab 9-3X is expected to become available at American dealerships during the fourth quarter of this year. Prices are to be announced closer to launch.
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