The Saab 9-7X 4.2i is a full-fledged SUV that really stands up to its competition, even if you consider its big brother, the 5.3i trim, to be part of that competition. Its inline V6 gives it ample power; with 290 horsepower and 277 lb.-ft. of torque, it's capable of pulling 5,500 pounds when properly equipped.
If Saab has dropped the ball in any way with this vehicle it is probably in terms of the transmission. The sole available tranny is a 4-speed automatic, which limits the fuel efficiency and gives most competitors, with their 5- and even 6-speed transmissions, a definite advantage. Perhaps Saab/GM will address this in the near future, but for now it's a bit of a limitation, keeping the mpg at an atrocious 15 city and 21 highway - but at least it runs on regular.
Nevertheless, it's a pretty and comfortable vehicle that is built to last. It boasts a sturdier construction, stiffer suspension, stronger brakes, and better handling than its GM The ride-height is also lower, although when you hit a bump the body-on-frame construction will make it clear that youÃ¢Â?Â?re not in a car-based crossover.
The 9-7X 4.2i doesn't skimp on standard equipment. First off, all-wheel drive is a given, and there are plenty of other safety-enhancing features: ABS, StabiliTrak stability control, dual-stage front airbags, and side-curtain airbags (with rollover sensors) for both rows. You'll also get fog lamps, heated side mirrors with integrated turn-signal indicators, projector-beam headlights (Xenon headlights are available), and daytime running lights.
For comfort you'll find leather upholstery with front heaters, an 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat with two memory settings, tinted glass, cruise control, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Atmosphere-enhancing items include the power moonroof, wood-look trim, an audio system with a 6-CD changer and 6 Bose speakers, plus XM satellite radio, and rear-seat auxiliary controls. And let's not forget that ubiquitous Saab feature: the ignition switch down in the center console.
To maintain its SUV practicality, the 9-7X comes with roof rails, a trailer hitch receiver, all-season tires, and a handy toolkit that stows beneath the backseat. Should you lose your way you can count on the included OnStar technology, which has been upgraded this year to include Turn-by-Turn technology. Speaking of gadgets, technophiles should enjoy the standard Driver Information Center, which displays all kinds of useful info such as the miles left to your destination and ETA, plus the miles left in the tank; it'll also relay warnings pertaining to weather, such as the likelihood of ice formation.
You can fully load your 4.2i by opting for the Prestige Package, which adds the Xenon headlights with washers, a rear-seat entertainment system, a navigation system, and power-adjustable pedals. (All of this comes standard on the higher-priced 5.3i trim.) There is also an Altitude Edition, which would also add the rear-seat entertainment system, as well as 18-inch polished aluminum wheels and side steps with chrome accent; the exterior paint on this special edition is Carbon Fiber Gray metallic.