In truth, the 9-3X has been available since February - but after a quiet month or two of waiting for the all-new 9-5 Sedan to arrive before kicking off any advertising, the high-riding wagon wants you to know that it's ready to go.
Based on the Aero-styled 9-3 SportCombi, the 9-3X gets a few styling tweaks of its own, including unpainted dark grey bumpers and side arches, offering protection against the elements in off-road environments.
Aluminium skid panels and door strips are also standard fare, along with roof racks and chrome-ringed front fog lamps. Propping up each corner of the 35mm-higher chassic are 'Aktive' 17-inch five-spoke alloy rims.
While the European market gets a diesel option, Australian buyers get the one choice: a turbo-charged 2.0 litre engine, producing 154kW and 300Nm of torque - the latter coming between 2500 and 4000rpm.
Coupled with a six-speed automatic transmission (the only option), the 0-100km/h sprint is knocked over in just over 8.0 seconds.
Running on ULP 95, the 9-3X returns combined-cycle fuel consumption figures of 10.1 l/100km and carbon emissions are rated at 242g/km.
The 9-3X's crossover status comes courtesy of Saab's XWD all-wheel-drive system, its Torque Transfer Device developed to continuously transfer torque between the front and rear axles, sending torque where it's needed most.
Electronic stability control (ESC) is also standard, while an optional electronically-controlled rear limited-slip differential (eLSD) transfers up to 50 percent of rear torque between the rear wheels, to whichever has more grip.
Suspension is managed by up front by McPherson struts, and at the rear buy a four-link layout that features ball joints as part of Saab's ReAxs system - developed to overcome the 'crabbing' effect and help the trail of the car follow the direction of the front wheels, rather than the nose of the car.
The 9-3X's brake package includes ventilated discs at the front and rear, measuring 314mm and 292mm respectively.
Interior and Features
Inside, the 9-3X again draws on features of the top-spec Aero, with trim highlights including a dark metallic finish to the door trims, glovebox and gearshift surround. The contoured sports seats and sports steering wheel are also leather trimmed.
Standard features include:
- Manual, fully adjustable driver’s seat
- Profiler system for individual settings
- Saab Car Computer with outdoor temperature, fuel consumption, estimated distance on remaining fuel
- Sun visors with illuminated mirrors
- Headlight levelling control on fascia (automatic levelling on cars with Bi-xenon lights)
- Automatic Climate Control (ACC) dual-zone
- Cabin air filter, electrostatic
- Cooled glove box
- Heat absorbing glass
- Comfort closing electrically operated windows incl. express-up
- Electrically operated/heated door mirrors
- Electronic key with remote for the central locking
- Leather trim sport seats with contrasting inserts (Black or Parchment)
- Heated front seats
- Carbon fibre-effect trim, centre console, doors and glove box
- Foldable rear centre armrest
- Adjustable front armrest
- Bluetooth phone integration system
- Saab Infotainment (radio/CD player)
- Premium 70 Sound System (70W amplifier, 7 speakers)
- Audio control buttons in the steering wheel
- Radio antenna in rear side windows
The 9-3X also gets Saab's ComSense and Night Panel feature, which uses a 'dynamic workload manager' to measure the driver's workload through the operation of the cabin's control systems.
If a momentary 'high driver workload' is detected, the system will switching off or dimming all non-vital instrument illumination.
Rear storage space is listed at 419 litres with the rear seats up, stretching to 1287 with the rear seats folded flat.
Standard safety features include:
- Electronic Stability Program
- Traction Control System
- Cornering Brake Control
- Emergency Brake Assist
- Electronic Brake-force Distribution
- Anti-lock Braking System
- Saab Active Head Restraint (SAHR 2), front
- Dual stage driver and front passenger airbag
- Passenger’s airbag deactivation switch, including status indicator
- Side-impact protection structure
- Roof rail airbags, left/right and side airbags, in the front seats
- Seatbelt pre-tensioners and load limiters, front
- Three-point seatbelts for all seats
- Lower tether anchorages, front and rear
- Isofix child seat anchorage points, rear
The Saab 9-3X is available now, priced at $59,800 (excluding dealer delivery and on-road costs).