Swedish regulators began debt collection against Saab after we tested the Saab 9-4x, which is built at the same Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, assembly plant that makes Cadillac's SRX. Things haven't gotten much better since. Saab's future is hanging in the balance, and with it the future of the 9-4x.
While the 2012 SRX benefits from chassis improvements and the 3.6-liter direct-injection gas V-6, the new Saab employs the naturally aspirated direct-injection 3.0-liter and the Australian-sourced, 2.8-liter turbo V-6. To get the turbo, you must order the topline Aero, which includes Haldex AWD and stickers just $825 south of a topline AWD Cadillac SRX 3.6. Turbo lag reared its breathless head on steep uphill sections of Interstate 405 north of Los Angeles. The 9-4x is also tuned for handling at the expense of ride quality and refinement.
Minimalist styling makes it one of the best-looking models to wear the sport/utility descriptor. This Saab's ignition switch is, of course, on the console between the front seats, though it's now a keyless button, but the 9-4x uses the SRX's ignition button location for Saab's other signature feature, the Night Panel, which switches off all but the speedometer's dash lights.
Despite Saab's shaky future, does the Saab 9-4x have enough in the plus column to make it the 2012 Motor Trend Sport/Utility of the Year? Find out on October 25th.