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The Saab 9-2x and 9-7x – Will They Ever Be Collectible?

Jim Brennan August 19, 2012 Weekend Edition 54 Comments

Welcome to another “Will They Ever Be Collectible” posting on Hooniverse. I started this little feature asking if the Jeep Commander would ever become collectible, then the Volvo first generation S40/V40, the quartet of GM W-Body LS4 equipped mid-sized cars, and last weekend I asked about the early Japanese Luxury Cars from Acura, Lexus, and Infiniti. This week, let’s take a look at the forlorn Saab 9-2x and the Saab 9-7x, both of which could never be called actual Saabs, and ask if any of these will ever become popular with collectors twenty years from now.

Subaru manufactured a badge engineered version of the second generation Impreza hatchback as the Saab 9-2X between 2004 and 2005, and was retailed only in the North American market for the 2005 and 2006 model years. The car earned the nickname “Saabaru” and it never did appeal to either the Subaru or the Saab buyer. At the time the 9-2X was conceived, Saab Automobile had been a fully owned subsidiary of General Motors, and GM held a 20 percent stake of Subaru’s parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries.

The redesign of the front and rear styling was to better integrate the contrived Saab with the brand’s own design language. It included restyled front fascia and new fenders, and a rear gaining a redesigned tailgate only. The interior received extra acoustic insulation over the Subaru, with particular attention paid to the firewall, carpeting, roof, and rear window seals. The main piece of the dash is unchanged from the Subaru versions, although the instrument cluster was redesigned. Saab also specified their own front seats incorporating active head restraints, unlike the fixed headrest seats in the equivalent Impreza WRX. The rear suspension arms are made of aluminum, with further reduction of unsprung weight achieved by using plastic in place, bushings unique to the Saab, and the dampers recalibrated. The steering had been made more responsive and exact in the Aero by using the steering rack shared by the STI version of the WRX, more rigidly mounted steering hardware and stiffer chassis bushings.

The 9-2X was discontinued after the 2006 model year with the dissolution of the partnership between Fuji and GM. 10,346 Saab 9-2Xs were manufactured during the entire production run. The production for the 2005 model year accounts for most of these, with 8,514 sold broken down to 58 percent for the Linear trim line and 42 percent for the Aero package. The remaining 1,832 were produced for the 2006 model year with approximately 82 percent of these in the renamed 2.5i trim, and 18 percent for the Aero package.

The badge engineered 9-7X was the first American-built “Saab”. It was assembled in the same United States Moraine, Ohio, production plant as the other GMT360 SUVs and shared many components with its platform mates. The Saab 9-7X succeeded the Oldsmobile Bravada as GM’s flagship mid-size SUV, and was GM’s highest priced mid-size SUV, as well as the most expensive Saab ever produced. Its bodyshell was shared with the previously discontinued Bravada, yet its exterior was distinguished by its front fascia, headlamps, hood, fenders, roof rack, tail lamps, rear wiper, wheels, tires, and rear bumper. It had been given the unflattering nickname of “Trollblazer”.

It was the only GMT360 SUV not available with rear-wheel drive and, along with the (Saabaru) Saab 9-2X, one of the first Saabs to feature standard all-wheel drive. 9-7X was also the first production Saab with a V8 engine. It also featured substantial chassis revisions, including a 1-inch lower ride height, revised bushings and dampers, standard rear air suspension, and quicker steering to sharpen the handling. The interior design was inspired by the Saab 9-5 with features like the console-mounted ignition switch and swing-out cup holder being retained. Missing were the “night panel” switch that extinguished all unnecessary dash lighting, as well as the Saab active head restraints (which was a major oversight).

The 9-7X, along with its platform mates, the Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy were to remain in production for the entire 2009 model year. However GM closed the Moraine plant on December 23, 2008. The decision to close came early in the 2009 model year as sales continued to decline throughout the North American SUV segment. Sales of the 9-7X declined 30 percent in the first nine months of 2008. I have not been able to get an accurate Sales Number for the Saab 9-7X during it’s production run.

So, do you think either of these Saabs will reach collector status in the long run. They probably will have some curiosity factor in a couple of decades, similar to what is happening with Pontiac Astras, or Oldsmobile Firenzas, but they won’t be blue chip collectibles… or will they?

  • Logan

    9-2x yes, 9-7x no.

  • ChuckyShamrok

    The 9-7x Aero is a sleeper, basically being a Trailblazer SS, but without the badging.

  • schigleymischke

    Why not Suub?

  • Devin

    I keep thinking that the 9-7x will be a tow vehicle for people who collect weird things.

    • Maymar

      That's pretty much the rationalization I have for ever buying one. Plus, it gets me a Trailblazer SS (which I want), without looking like I care about UFC (which I don't).

    • Like old SAABs.

  • schigleymischke

    I've read the 9-2X is the finest WRX made. Is the handling and sound deadening significantly different? Would it be worth seeking one out? That off-white one looks very nice.

    • Jethrine

      It isn't off white. It's that stupid "color with no name"
      Metallic sand/silver/gold/beige that Camrys and Voyagers used to all be painted.
      Terrible color.
      I agree that picture does look off-white though.
      An actual off white would probably look OK.

      As a Saab tech I've driven a bunch of them.
      I prefer the 2.5 normally aspirated with a manual trans, very fun.
      (pretty much a 2.5 RS Impreza)
      Subaru turbo engine management does not hold a candle to Saab's delivery of boost at low RPM in a predictable fashion.
      9-2x with turbo behaves a little different each time you launch it.
      (I'm comparing the 9-2/Subaru to the rest the "real" Saab lineup.

      Both the 9-2 and 9-7 will be fun oddities some day (maybe already are!)
      Not collectible in a high value way.

      • vivek

        I own one. the colors called 'desert silver"

      • Zach

        As a Saab tech, you would obviously know a lot about the 9-2x…
        Anyone who really wants to know more about the 9-2x should really visit Saab92x.com and become a member of the forums. Spending a few minutes searching the forums there can quickly debunk a lot of misconceptions about the car.

    • luisthebeast

      Welp, for one, you get the much quicker and more responsive steering rack from the STI and a lot of the chassis members were stiffened. The penalty for all that luxury is weight. Also, I do believe the suspension is pretty much the same as a regular WRX wagon.

  • safetystephen

    I foresee WRX fans will snag parts off of junkyard 9-2s to fix, hop up or differentiate their cars. I predict 9-7s will live out their dull, SUV lives until their upkeep becomes uneconomical. Then, it's the crusher for the whole lot.

    My crystal ball shows me a SAAB meet in the near future; lots of 92s through 99s, 900s, 9000s, even a Sonnet, but no, no Gee-eeM-Chevhyphen-baru orphans to be found.

  • Van_Sarockin

    Will the WRX become a blue chip collectible? I don't think so. It's nice, very capable and has a dedicated following. But I suspect it's adherent's will wane within ten years, and be lost amongst the wealth of compact performance imports that are now available. That means that the 9-2 has a chance to become an oddball collectible, maybe more significant or at better prices than the WRX. But never blue chip. It's fate is probably closer to the Sterling Legend. Even though the 9- is the nicest Trailblazer, I can't see it becoming collectible, and I have doubts that many SUVs will ever come into that category.

  • Paul

    I thInk that GM should keep examples of these at their headquarters to remind them every day of what can go wrong in a corporation.

    • schigleymischke

      You say that like they'd learn.

    • Van_Sarockin

      That would be letting them off easy.

  • dukeisduke

    The Saabaru and the Saabrolet? No, I don't think so.

  • The Aero version of both of these are about the only Saabs that I would really consider buying. But I test drove a 9-2X Aero and it felt like somebody hit the center diff with a sledge hammer on the 1-2 WOT upshift, so it might be out. I would love to find a low mileage 9-7X Aero to replace the wife's Trailblazer. I might have to find a way to put a Chevy center console in though. Stupid "Let's make it a Saab by putting the ignition key in the console!" cost two valuable cup holders.

    • luisthebeast

      What about the Turbo X?

      At any rate, there's a way to fix all the noise you get from the Saabaru's driveshaft on shifts.

    • mcmartens

      I just purchased a low mileage 2009 9-7X $8k less than a Trailblazer with similar miles. Great value and drives much better than the Trailblazer! I would never have paid list price for it, but at less than $20k for the used one, I am quite happy with it.

  • Matt

    The production figures for the 9-2x quoted in this piece are my research (via GM and FHI data). I am beyond stoked to see them somewhere other than the Saab92x.com site I frequent and the wiki article for the 9-2x. I actually maintain a registry for these cars, and have over 700 of the ~10k cars tracked now. So many, that I can statistically predict color and option package breakdown counts with relative confidence.

    If you're looking for the rarest Saab 9-2x, it would be a fully loaded 2006 Brilliant Red Aero with the automatic transmission. There are certainly less than a dozen produced in this exact configuration, probably single digits.

    Just a few more tidbits on the 9-2x – the rear fascia is completely unique to the car – hatch, bumper cover, tail lights – everything. The rear control arms are NOT aluminum – the only STI piece to make it onto the 9-2x was the steering rack on the Aero level models.

    I have had a 9-2x Aero since early 2007, and it is by far my most favorite car I've ever owned. I've covered over 80k trouble-free miles in it. As a matter of fact, I'd say it's the most reliable Saab ever produced.The tunability of a WRX combined with the good looks of a Saab makes it the perfect fit for me. It was also $2-$3k cheaper than a comparable WRX, too.

    But collectible? I don't think it will ever get to that point.

    The 9-7x is a good example of badge-engineering at it's worst. The actual nickname for them is "Trollblazer". There never should have been a Saab SUV, as it went against most of the company's values. To give them a GMT360 chassis with a Saab nose and a key in the center console is a slap in the face to true Saab enthusiasts.

    At least the 9-2x fit most of the Saab values – turbo motor (on the Aero), hatchback, lots of practicality, etc.

    • My three 96 sedans fit none of those values, other than perhaps "etc." I think that's what's on top of this one.

      <img src="http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5304/5631602779_ab20df55c3.jpg&quot; width="350">

      • You're a Snaab.

        • Eh, it's pretty much a requirement of ownership. We're each convinced our own examples are the last "true" ones.

          This, by the way, would rank high among the many excellent reasons to own a 1949 92, particularly now that it looks like 92001 won't be leaving its museum after all. I want to be the curmudgeon who gets to oscillate between snubbing and berating everyone else for owning the abominations that ruined the company over the course of its terminal six decades.

      • OA5599

        You can race them or sleep in them. Sounds very practical to me.

      • SGJ91

        I. Love. You.

        I'm so jealous.

  • BobWellington

    Definitely more collectible than most of those Japanese sedans. I think both of these cars have nice styling.

  • Maymar

    Collectible? I'm not even sure the hyper-rare new 9-5 and 9-4x will be all that collectible, let alone the underwhelming 9-7x and the vaguely obscure 9-2x. That said, I want any and all of them.

  • TDI_FTW

    a 9-2X might be a collectible, but I think only for Subaru collectors 🙂

  • HTWHLS

    No.

  • mallthus

    My hunch is that the 9-7x Aero, with the 6.0l V8 and AWD will find itself in some collections. But that same person probably also has Pontiac 6000 STE AWD and a Mazda6 hatchback, so what does it matter?

  • njhoon

    These will be nice, good used cars but not collectible.

  • JayP2112

    The 9-2x Aero looks to be a few $K cheaper than the comparable WRX.
    Dang… I'd hit it.

  • tinyfrogs

    Dealer prices on 9-2x have gone up since late 2008. These don't get on the market very often. A lot of examples have 135K or more. I've wanted a 9-2x Linear with the 5MT, leather seat inserts, and cold weather package for ages. It's a unicorn.

    • Matt

      Finding the "right" 9-2x is a waiting game, for sure, and you have to be willing to travel to get one.

      There's one in NH right now on cars.com that fits your requirements. 65k miles, 5MT, leather & cold pkgs, (and Aero 16" wheels) – but the price is steep at almost $12k.

      • tinyfrogs

        Sounds perfect and if I was ready to buy I would have done it already. Lemme guess, it's in black (the only color I don't like due to my latitude), which is also the most common color.

    • Michigan saabaru

      I own a 05 black aero 4eat i guess i could say im on a unicorn thinking about changing the tranny to 5mt

  • Hey, they are somewhat rare, somewhat improved versions of good vehicles with interesting backstories.
    Yea; a few collectors will glom onto them.

  • seguin

    I think the 9-2X might. Modifiable and maintainable due to the underpinnings, plus exclusive and distinctive due to its nice styling

  • facelvega

    One other advantage of the 9-2x over a WRX: the typical WRX of this vintage has already been thrashed to within an inch of its life by the punk kid who own it. The typical 2x Aero has been driven softly by a yuppie who has religiously followed the dealer maintenance clock. So, a less ugly WRX with the sti steering rack, better sound dampening, and some suspension upgrades that has been babied costs slightly less than a normal WRX. Sounds good to me.

    • Scapegrace

      This. Just picked up an 05 9-2x aero. Bone stock, 67k miles, driven by a middle aged woman before she traded it in on a Saab 9-5

  • Slow_Joe_Crow

    The 9-2X deserves respect because it fits with Saab's image and philosophy and the 9-2X Aero is the most refined WRX variant of that generation. The 9-7X is an abomination that should be flushed down the memory hole immediately.

  • CABEZAGRANDE

    <img src="http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/204/dsc02493ji5.jpg&quot; width="600">

    A friend of mine has had a Saabaru Aero for several years now, and I love that car. It's like a really really nice WRX wagon on the inside, and I think it looks better on the outside. Done properly, they can have a very aggressive but subdued look that I really enjoy. I think the Aero's have a good shot at becoming collectible. I don't think the regular model will however.____And I don't think the Trollblazer will ever be very collectible. They're not differentiated enough from the TBSS, which is another one I don't think will ever achieve collectability. Which is good, because I kind of want one, and if they don't become collectible they should get good and cheap 🙂

  • Jay

    These two? Nah. But the 9-4x, of which only 457 were made, has a half-decent chance of being collectible, though not anytime in the near future. And only in Saab circles.

    We have never really had this kind of situation within the last couple decades, where less than a thousand examples of a recently departed foreign mass-market car were left on US soil. I've only seen three examples of the 9-4x this year, and two of them were still for sale by a Saab dealer.

    • schigleymischke

      There are also 40 of the last gen 9-5 sedans for sale on cars.com right now. What would I be getting myself into?

      • Van_Sarockin

        The nicest Vectra you've ever seen.

  • Jason

    I remember in the last model year of the 92X Saab dealers were giving them away and I almost bought one. I didn't, and have been trolling for one lately. I have always liked them, but I don't think they will be collectible to any degree. They have held value all things considered.

  • 1nthesame

    No one really knows about the 9-7x aero (which I own 08 with 39k on it ) I like sneaking up on people with mine I wanted a ss trailblazer but couldn't find a nice one but do to the low production numbers I've found 23k all model
    9-7s it should be a collectors item

    1nthesame

  • John

    I've got an 05 Black 2.5 MT with cold weather package. Wife drives it to and from work every day (less than 10mi each way). It's a champ and is fun to drive. Seats are a little unforgiving for a 6'3" 270lb dude though. But I still love it.

  • I am in fact glad to glance at this web site posts which consists of tons of valuable facts, thanks for providing these kinds of data.

  • Anthony

    i think the lack of comments answers the question. I have a 9.2 x and am mostly satisfied with it. The seating is uncomfortable, the leather feels like vinyl. The handling is terrible. But it does have some punch with the turbo and is overall a solid ride.

    • smalleyxb122

      The lack of comments on this post is due to an unfortunate issue in February of 2015 when the comment system that Hooniverse was using (IntenseDebate) was no longer supported. They subsequently changed to Disqus based commenting. All IntenseDebate comments were lost at that time, and only some of them were recovered and migrated to the new commenting system.

      That there aren’t comments doesn’t mean that there weren’t comments.

      I’m not saying that the 9-2x or 9-7x will ever see significant collectibility, but the lack of discussion here should not be taken as a sign that they won’t.

    • Bryan Logaru

      I think the lack of comments shows that “hooniverse” is not a popular site haha. I’ve owned quite a few cars, and my 9-2x Aero is hands down my favorite. It is immensely well balanced in that it is practical, good looking, fun to drive, good off-road and in inclement weather etc. I gave my friend a ride once and he immediately said that he needed to get one, with zero convincing from me. Currently the US market is all about crossovers- which I think is a tragedy- but if wagons ever make a comeback, I think the 9-2x will become more desirable.

  • Gail Austin

    I have a 2005 Saab 9-7x and it beats the pants off the Ford Expedition and Explorer. the Land Rover, and just about everything else I’ve ever owned except maybe my 1994 Jeep Cherokee County Edition. My Saab is comfortable, nice looking without being a showoff, and has every interior bell and whistle I need. Runs well, isn’t a HORRIBLE gas guzzler, and I can’t say enough good about it.