25 November 2003

Saab is hoping to boost its stake in the US market by expanding its Stateside range. Saab will be unveiling its first SUV at the New York motor show in March in the shape of the 9-7X, revealed here for the first time, the car following the Subaru Impreza-based 9-2X (Autocar, 21 October).

Built at GM’s Moraine plant in Ohio and based on the same GM 360 platform as the Chevrolet Trailblazer, the 9-7X will be the first US-built Saab and goes on sale in the USA from early 2005. European sales of left-hand-drive cars could follow, but insiders have ruled out a rhd car for the UK. The Trailblazer’s architecture remains largely unchanged apart from a new nose, but inside the car is said to be recognisably a Saab, with a unique dashboard and traditional Saab cues such as a transmission-mounted ignition.

Sources say it will drive like a Saab, too, with a sportier feel than Volvo’s XC90 thanks to extensive chassis work by Saab’s engineers in Sweden and the US. Engines are unconfirmed, but expect a large-capacity V8 for range-toppers and a V6 for entry models.

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