ROAD TEST | 2006 9-7X

Saab owners like their cars quirky, with a center-console-mounted ignition, acrobatic flipping cup holders and a gnome shape. So what happens if General Motors, owner of Saab, decides to morph the car into a big, honkin' SUV? Spy the new 9-7X from the front and it looks like an inflated Saab sedan. Eye it from the rear and you'd be hard-pressed to find any of its Swedish heritage. Think Chevy Trailblazer or GMC Envoy, which isn't a stretch since the 9-7X rides on the same platform. And though the platform has no effect on exterior design, the 9-7X's tush isn't too snazzy.

Luckily, Saab engineers tightened the flabby ride of an SUV and honed its steering so that the 9-7X handles better. It also has ample pickup from a beefy 5.3-liter, 300-horsepower V-8 engine. It's certainly luxurious enough, with well-proportioned, comfortable seating, ingenious air vents (I know you know, but it's worth repeating) and electric seats, mirrors... everything. Yet it wears cheap-looking faux-wood plastic inserts on the dash and door panels, and GM-esque gauges and audio controls. This kid isn't quirky enough.

Tip: Shave two grand off the price with the 4.2-liter, six-cylinder engine.

ROAD TEST | 2006 9-7X | News