Overview & Reviews
Looking to appeal to younger, less affluent buyers, Saab took the easy way out with the 9-2X by using the "badge-engineered" approach practically pioneered by parent company General Motors. By leveraging GM's overseas partnerships, starting with a Subaru Impreza wagon and adding some unique styling, a retuned suspension and different fabric inside, Saab wound up with the entry-level 9-2X sport wagon. Although the 9-2X came together quickly with the desired blend of style and practicality, Saab's unique Scandinavian character was largely left out of the mix.
The "X" in the Saab 9-2's moniker referred to its standard all-wheel-drive system, a core attribute of the donor vehicle. Differentiating the Saab 9-2X were its softened exterior lines with unique front and rear styling, as well as larger alloy wheels and all-season tires. Carried over, however, were two engines: an un-Saab-like, non-turbocharged 2.5-liter horizontally opposed four-cylinder on the base 2.5i model, and a much stronger turbo version on the high-performance Aero.
Was the transformation worth it? In our opinion, not really. Despite a longer warranty and a more fetching appearance, the Saab 9-2X came off as a poor value at the time. Its Subaru-sourced interior felt rather cheap for a premium brand, and it didn't deliver the sort of refined ride quality one might expect from a high-end vehicle. The 9-2X also lacked upscale features like stability control, navigation and premium audio.
Not surprisingly, sales were slow. Because of this as well as disruptions with GM's partnership with Subaru, Saab discontinued the model after just two years. As a used model, the 9-2X fares a little better, especially since there will likely be good deals to be found. Subaru fans simply wanting a nicer Impreza are potential buyers. But most people looking for a premium small wagon will be better off paying more for a true, small luxury wagon.
Most Recent Saab 9-2X
The Saab 9-2X wagon was produced for 2005 and '06. Two trim levels were offered in the first year -- the base Linear and the more powerful Aero. The Linear was renamed "2.5i" for the second year. Standard features on the base model were 16-inch alloy wheels, cloth sport seats, manual air-conditioning and a single-CD sound system. The upmarket Aero was a bit more appealing with foglamps, metallic-ringed gauges, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, automatic climate control and a CD changer. The 9-2X could be further dressed up with 17-inch alloys, leather seating, seat heaters, xenon HID headlights and a moonroof.
The base Linear and 2.5i models were motivated by a naturally aspirated, 2.5-liter horizontally opposed ("boxer") four-cylinder engine. It was rated at 165 horsepower and then upgraded for the 2.5i model to produce 173 hp. The Aero model's engine also changed slightly. For '05, it was a 2.0-liter turbocharged flat-4 making 227 hp. The following year, it had a 2.5-liter version that made 230 hp. All engines were hooked up to a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. All-wheel drive was standard.
While the exterior styling of the 9-2X may have whispered "Saab," the interior was much less distinguished. The gauges were clean and legible, but also somewhat plain for this price point. Attractive two-tone cloth upholstery graced the seats and decently textured materials were used on the dash and door tops, but there were also hard, shiny plastics used elsewhere and a cheap, cardboard-like headliner overhead. More practical than pretty, a 60/40-split-folding rear seat helped with bulky cargo and up to 62 cubic feet of cargo space was available.
Although the suspension settings were retuned and softened for the Saab 9-2X, we found that the refined ride quality of its competitors was missing. Making up for this was a tossable character on curves and back roads, especially in Aero guise. The base engine provided enough power for around-town driving, but it felt a bit sluggish when passing on the highway. The Aero's turbo engine was a gem, though, with a broad power band and smooth delivery except for a slight bit of lag off the line. The automatic transmission tended to blunt the 9-2X's performance in either case, so enthusiasts will want to look for a manual gearbox.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 132.00
Great Car, Great Price - 2005 Saab 9-2X
By Tim - December 12 - 3:10 pm
It was nice to see that I could get a high quality car for an affordable price. The seats are a little stiff at first but they loosen up a bit later. It would be nice to have a one touch moonroof but I think I can manage. If it seems I am being nit-picky, I have to be. I can find no major thing wrong with this car. The ride and power obviously are comparable to the Subaru WRX. The styling is Subaru with enough extras and finess to make it a Saab. This is definitely not your mother's Saab. I love it.
Fun car at the right price - 2005 Saab 9-2X
By JPC - November 3 - 10:20 pm
After owning a Nissan Xterra (and dealing with its appetite for fuel), I was in the market for a more economical vehicle at or around $16K. My choices were limited, and I had started to resign myself to purchasing a Toyota Corolla. Thanks to the current GM rebates, the Saab 9-2X Linear was in my price range. The car has a distinctly Saab look in the front, Subaru look in the midsecton, and Saab again in the rear. There is a world of difference in the ride quality between the related Subaru Impreza 2.5s & the Saab 9-2X linear. The spring rates in the Saab are not as harsh as in the Subaru. The styling of the Saab is more mature. Saab also made many safety features standard.
Beware of the 9-2x's out there. - 2005 Saab 9-2X
By FrankFromCT - September 29 - 12:53 pm
I bought a new 9-2x with GM's employee discount, thinking it would be a steal, but my experience has been unpleasant and I've only had the car for 3 weeks. Since a lot of these cars have been sitting on the lots for a year, my car had flat spots in the tires and scratches all over it from just sitting. My selling dealer has left me out in the cold, completely blowing me off and leaving me with a vehicle that's in poor condition. During the time of my purchase, I wasn't able to inspect or drive the exact vehicle and instead offered a demo to evaluate. I never thought my new vehicle would be in such bad condition although brand new. Buyers beware of the condition, inspect before you purchase.
9-2X happiness - 2005 Saab 9-2X
By Svenka Aeroplan AB - September 7 - 7:26 am
Everyone wants to know if the 9-2X is worth the price premium over the Subaru Impreza wagon which it is based. It depends on what is important to the owner. GM/Saab definitely overpriced the 9-2X at first, but late summer incentives convinced me to buy. I really wanted a hatchback (3-door), but no automaker seems to want to offer this handy configuration anymore. So the 9-2X gives me two extra doors i will never need for hauling the two of us to the park, skiing, or on a weekend trip. Fuel economy predictably stinks for a car this size, but part of that is due to the desire of the driver to truly exercise the peppy engine and actually utilise the all-wheel-drive. Overall, the 9-2x is superb!
A real fun car to drive - 2006 Saab 9-2X
By fred walters - August 1 - 11:03 pm
This car is so much fun to drive. you must get the 5 speed standard shift to really appreciate the handling and the pickup. The fuel economy is very good. The quality is also very good and it looks great.
180k and still love it - 2005 Saab 9-2X
By matthewakamatt - July 8 - 12:06 am
The Saabaru is a great blend of sportiness, reliability, and practicality. It's sporty and powerful enough to stay entertaining for years. I really enjoy the on boost power, but there's not much low end torque. Handling is good enough for the street, but it's not really at home on the racetrack. Mine is still completely stock, and has been incredibly reliable. I've got almost 180k miles on it, and have only had a few repairs in all that time. I really like how practical it is. I frequently load lots of stuff in the back and tow a 5x8 utility trailer with it for household projects.
nice awd wagon for cheap money - 2005 Saab 9-2X
By old_wrx_owner - June 27 - 9:43 pm
I owned a 2001 wrx sedan and loved it (until the turbo lag got to me). i replaced it with a 325xi sedan. but my dog-toting lifestyle demands more space then a 325xi has, so i needed a wagon. i didn;t want to spend much but i needed awd. thanks to the gm employee discount, i got a 9-2x linear for $17,300. so far the car has been great. i drove it from Texas to New York and back (4,300 miles) and it didn't even burn any oil! the brakes are a little mushy just like the ones on my wrx.
1st week - 2005 Saab 9-2X
By Hoagie - June 23 - 8:36 pm
So far, this car has been a blast to drive. The 165 hp is more than enough for my tastes. I have an hour drive, and am 6 ft, 230 lbs. No discomfort whatsoever. And 28 mph to boot. The 5 speed makes this package all the more fun.
A Much Better WRX (and better looking) - 2005 Saab 9-2X
By jmelaw - June 4 - 11:50 pm
Loved the idea of the WRX wagon, but couldn't get past the ugliness of the thing--the bug-eyed look wasn't for me. What I hoped for was a decent horsepower, better-looking, but similar sized AWD mini-wagon. Found it--the Saab-icized WRX--or, as I desribed it to everyone, a better WRX---quieter, better looking, better interior, but with the same great 230hp AWD chassis (and reliability) that Subaru is famous for. Really like the car--few nits are some early rattles (to be covered under warranty), but overall, a blast to drive. Love that you don't see one every 10ft. Easy to add 30hp with chip reprogram. A stealth mini-missile, with upscale badging. Gotta love it!
One with the auto.... - 2006 Saab 9-2X
By Chris Shuba - April 25 - 4:10 am
I just bought this car a bit ago, and decided to go with the 2.5 linear simply because of cost and fuel economy. They both get relatively similar mileage, but the aero takes premium. Aside from that the car is a dream. Though the engine does lag a bit when the petals fully down, this thing is quick. The "cock-pit" flawlessly integrates the driver into the vehicle. The most attractive feature is the suspension. The car glides silently and smoothly over any road abnormality. Its a clean, simple, beautiful automobile. Quirky and different it may be, but its solid and practical as well. I look forward to errands... 'nough said.