Some more guff on the 9-6x

A little more came to light on the forthcoming mostly-Saab SUV, the 9-6x. 

The full monty, as found at Autotrend:

Subaru announced the name for its 2006 seven-passenger crossover SUV at
the Miami motor show: B9X. The name seems designed to create confusion
with the Subie’s platform sibling, Saab’s 2007 9-6x, which will bow as
a concept this spring at the New York show. And Subaru plans to use the
B9X to compete with the Acura MDX and Volvo XC90, taking the brand
upmarket–into Saab territory.

But there are differences: Besides exclusive sheetmetal and a
mostly exclusive interior, the 9-6x will be available only with two
rows of seats, because Saab doesn’t want to put a third row of
passengers in its rear crumple zone. Most similarities are under the
skin. The Saab 9-6x will have Subaru’s 245-horsepower, 3.0-liter flat
six and its Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system. And that new Subaru
face, described as "a central intake flanked by two wings" is the
reason for the name B9X, the Japanese automaker says. Subaru first
showed the design theme on its 2003 Geneva B11S show car, then on the
B9SC and R1e Detroit concepts, and "B9X" is similar to those names. The
winged grille is meant to reflect Subaru’s legacy as an aircraft
manufacturer–just like Saab.

9-6x Update

Ken, Saab-snifferdog extraordinaire and smiling Vancouverite has added a piece to the Saab 9-6x puzzle that I missed out on the other day.

Several sites have mentioned that the Saab version of the vehicle will only have  5 seats rather than the Suuby’s 7 seats.  As mentioned in comments, I agree that this decision will allow a much greater consideration for safety, as well as giving the Saab engineers a little more playroom with the sheetmetal on the rear.

The 9-6x

I took a look last night in order to try and collate all the info floating around the web as to the up-coming Saab 9-6x.  As most know, the 9-6x is going to be based on a shared platform with the Suuby B9 Tribeca.  Given that Saab’s recent outing with Suuby, the 9-2x, has been widely panned by those that view it at a distance (yet widely appreciated by those that actually get to drive it or own it), it’s going to be pretty important that Saab get involved with the project and produce a vehicle that is widely seen as a Saab, and not another ‘Saaburu’.

(Picture now removed due to change in domain name) This is the first concept sketch I’ve been able to find.  Whilst it’s not overly pleasing to my eye (each to their own I guess), it’s a heck of a lot better than the dog-ugly B9 Tribeca.

So here are the known elements from various spots around the web, collated for your convenience.

It’s been widely reported on all the bulletin boards and news services etc that 30% of the people that leave Saab do so in order to buy an SUV.  In addition, 40% of Saab owners have an SUV of another make accompanying their Saab in the garage.  The 9-7x and 9-2x are short term solutions to try and address these statistics.

As mentioned above, the vehicle will be based on a shared platform with the B9 Tribeca, a model that gives seating for 7 and is powered by a 3 litre six-cylinder boxer engine.  There’s no mention of whether a turbo variant would be offered as yet but being a Saab, it’d have to be considered. 

The interior of the Tribeca is quite futuristic, though I wouldn’t necessarily expect Saab to retain much, if any of it.  That was perhaps the biggest mistake made with the rushed-release 9-2x.  Both the Tribeca and the 9-6x are expected to built in Suuby’s Lafayette plant in Indiana.  I’d also expect that they might build them in Japan for the Australasian and European markets, but that’s just my guess.

As to the timing of the 9-6x, that’s a matter of conjecture.  One web service has it making it’s debut at the New York Motor Show, which starts March 25.  I’m thinking that there’s way too little chatter on the wires for this to be the case.  And there’s nothing on the NY Auto Show website to this effect.  Even if Suuby managed to get the Tribeca out in Detroit a few weeks ago, ahead of expectations, I’d be surprised if Saab did the same (but pleased).

Release dates are generally centering around 2007 but with some mentioning the fall of 2006.  This confusion is probably based on Model Year and actual dates.  Given that it’s going to be a 2007 MY vehicle, expect to see it in showrooms at least in North America in late 2006. 

Finally, here’s a spyshot some of you may have seen that claims to be a 9-6x.  Given the grill and rear structure I don’t think this is the case.  It’s much more likely to be the Tribeca.

You can click on any of the photos here to enlarge them.

I’ll keep this 9-6x category updated as any news comes to hand on the model and would appreciate anyone’s additional tips about the vehicle in comments.  Cheers.