First pictures: New Saab 9-3X
11 February 2009
Saab has unveiled its answer to the declining popularity of off-roaders - the 9-3X.
Based on the 9-3 Sport Wagon, the new model arrives in April and is designed to appeal to "those who frequently use gravel or unpaved roads, without compromising the driving experience on tarmac".
There are two options available. The 210PS 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol version comes with four-wheel drive and is raised by 35mm compared to the standard estate, while the 180PS 1.9 TTiD diesel is front-wheel drive and 20mm higher that its standard estate relative.
"Simply put, we are offering a vehicle that will do what's required in more comfort and style than a heavier SUV," said Simon Padian, Saab's design chief.
The 9-3X will be priced at around £2000 more than a standard 9-3 estate, although pricing hasn't yet been confirmed. As well as the additional ground clearance, for the extra cash buyers will get new dark grey bumpers and plastic cladding with a grained, rugged finish, unique 17-inch alloys, sports seats and a host of other design tweaks to mark out the 9-3X.
Both petrol and diesel engines come with either manual or auto gearbox options. The two manual gearbox cars actually offer lower CO2 emissions and better economy than the normal estate thanks to a series of small improvements for the new model.
The diesel is 10g/km lower at 144 and 2.7mpg better at 51.4, while the petrol manual model is 8g/km and 1.2mpg better off at 199g/km and 34.0mpg.