What we came to see, however, was something far beyond the beautiful Canadian landscape. We came to see whether this proud Swedish marque could take GM’s four-year-old, mid-size SUV platform and wave its engineering wand to build an authentic Saab. Or if the 9-7X is simply just a tall, boxy, badge-engineered Buick dancing down the highway in a country that still loves sport utes.
During our 250-mile ride and drive, we ferreted out a few answers. Saab’s first SUV is now in production, endowed with sheetmetal and interior trim that are distinctively Saab. Its driver-oriented handling and level of safety equipment is up to par with most Saabs, which until recently were built exclusively in Sweden. But, there’s nothing Swedish about the sound that comes from the 9-7X’s powertrain. It’s an everyday American tune that plays out with some harshness, and therein lays the rub.