My wife just traded in her RX300 for a 9-7x, I've got to say that we are very pleasantly surprised by the 9-7x's comfort level, power, ride quality & the overall package.
I didn't think we could find an SUV that could be better for us than the RX, but I am happy to say that I was wrong.
Of course, there will be a penalty to pay at the gas pump, but it shouldn't be too bad, and I think the trade-off is worth it.
I'm the happy owner of a 9-3 Convertible, and wasn't expecting the 9-7x to be very Saab-like, but the GM/Saab engineers did a good job of giving the Envoy/Trailblazer platform the Saab treatment. So far we love it!
I am the original poster. A few updates:
I am now at 55,000 miles.
My brake rotors didn't go at 30,000 miles. Apparently I had bad tires that mimicked the feel I have felt with bad rotors on other cars. I changed the front tires and now she is smooth as can be. My mechanic even said the rotors look good for another 10,000 miles... which is pretty good for a very heavy SUV.
I have not had any mechanical issues whatsoever with this car. She continues to be bulletproof. I just did the 50,000 mile service including transmission and transfer case fluid exchange and noticed she drives a little better.
The only niggling issue I have is that the "black" coloring on the radio has rubbed off in high use areas, like "preset 1" etc. I bought some Testor's flat black model paint from a Hobby store and brushed a small amount on the problem areas and it looks good.
I will continue to update you all as my goal for both personal and financial reasons, is to get 200,000 miles out of her. I know I can do it.
I couldn't disagree with your assessment any more. I have had nothing but problems with mine, mostly electrical stuff that the dealer is not able to track down. Most disappointing...
Original poster/owner here:
In my efforts to keep you all apprised of my 9-7x and any issues that have come up, I would like to give you a quick update:
The SUV is now at 71,000 miles.
* Just replaced Xenon light headlight ballast. Not cheap. 500 bucks including labor.
* Had to grease the seats a bit on the bottom seat frame, they were getting squeaky.
* The weatherstripping shrinks in the winter and makes the air noise worse. When it is warmer, it expands and it is no problem. I fixed this problem by inserting 1/4 inch insulation foam tubing within the weatherstripping. It cost me 10 bucks and works very well.
All in all, this car continues to be very reliable. The engine is solid, the transmission and transfer case are fine, etc. I have never worried this car won't start or get me where I need to go.
Update at 82,000 miles from original poster:
The gas gauge stopped working. I am getting it replaced as we speak, the repair will be about $400.
Apparently this is a problem with the other GM SUVs from which this is based (Trailblazer, Envoy, Bravada, Ascender, Rainier).
The part is around 100 bucks, but they have to drop the gas tank, which is labor intensive. I could have lived with the gas gauge like this and just reset the odometer, but when it drops it to zero, it triggers the check engine light. I am due for an inspection, and can't pass with that light on.
Otherwise, the car continues to be stop on reliable. I am however considering upgrading the shocks, as after 4 years and 82,000 miles, they are running low on life... happens to any car.
Still don't regret the purchase.
I have a 06 4.2i with 92,000 and counting, religiously done the service at local Saab dealer and it drives like it was brand new. The only problem was the throttle body at 87,000, otherwise a flawless SUV, and would highly recommend to anyone looking for a good value on a AWD SUV. I average 17.3 mpg.
I took one out today (used car lot) and am seriously considering purchasing this one with the 5.3 V8. It's everything the original poster has said.
Other than the dash vents not blowing air, and a tear in the rear seat and the quirky controls (no owners manual available), this thing is solid. I was impressed by the handling and blustery power. MPG will be the same as my Jeep Grand Cherokee, so it's expected. A 5 spd auto would be ideal.
I will update if I do purchase it. :^)
I am picking up a used '06 shortly and am looking forward to it. Question for current owners:
Do you have it serviced at a SAAB dealership, independent garage, or (possibly) a GM dealership?
I am the guy that posted this original post. I just take it to my regular mechanic. Once you let them know it is basically an Envoy/Rainer/Bravada/Ascender/Trailblazer, my mechanic was fine working on it. I have found that my Saab dealer doesn't know much about this car, because they aren't big sellers in my area. So, I asked myself, if they admitted to me that they had never done a simple brake job and needed to consult the manual, what expertise was I paying for in the first place? I am not saying every dealer is like this, but this one was.
You'll find this car is not expensive at all to fix. My mechanic replaced both belts in the serpentine system for $130 out the door. He said the engine is easy to work on because it just a standard 5.3 Chevy engine that they see a lot of. I would agree with him. If you pop the hood, you will notice everything is easy to get to. You are dealing with standard GM swappable alternator/starter/AC system/engine/transmission/etc. The parts are fairly priced domestic parts.
My 100,000 mile service will be done next month, and I in no way plan to bring it to the dealer. My local guy has done a good job fixing this car since it came off of warranty.
Total repair bills for this car (other than routine fluid changes/new set of tires) : Less than $1000. That 1000 was for 2 bad Xenon ballasts, a bad fuel level sensor and the serpentine belts. Not bad for 80,000 miles worth of driving over 3 years in my opinion.
Original Poster/Reviewer Checking In:
We had the 100,000 mile service done, and it wasn't cheap, but they did a lot of stuff to it. I took it to an independent mechanic. The following things below will make sure this thing lasts another 100,000.
For 750 dollars they did:
Air filter change
Transfer case fluid exchange
Transmission fluid and filter change
New spark plugs
We now have 103,000 miles on it, and this thing continues to run strong. It has developed an odd thunk (audible, but not loud) when making right or left turns only under certain conditions (speed, G force, turn angle all must be under certain conditions in order to do this). It has done this for 10,000 miles, but I don't really care that much. My mechanic couldn't replicate the problem. I am thinking bad struts, but he said they looked fine.
The driver's seat also squeaks a bit, but only when I sit in it. My wife says it doesn't when she drives. I think it is the way I sit in the seat. Any car with 100,000 miles on it will undoubtedly not sound like new. I can accept that.
Anyway, I really believe in this car. After over 100,000 miles on it, the paint still looks good, the interior has held up well with the leather being surprisingly durable, and nothing has "broken" in the past 18 months on it.
I have been doing oil changes every 5,000 miles on it with dino oil. Everything else has been by the book.
Original poster here:
The clunking noise I mentioned in the last post wasn't the steering rack. It was loose rubber stoppers on the hood. I fixed it with 5 dollars worth of White Lithium Grease and 2 minutes worth of repairs.
The SUV has started consuming a little oil with cheap oil changes. I changed to Mobil 1 10w30 Fully Synthetic, and the oil consumption went from a quart every 1,500 miles to one quart every 3,000 miles, which is well within specs. No blue smoke or anything, just regular oil consumption.
I know the manual calls for 5w30, but this 10w30 Mobil 1 for me is fantastic. I live in a warm climate, so it isn't an issue.
I also need to check the overflow reservoir. I am leaking a VERY SMALL amount of coolant out of the overflow tube. We are talking like 1 eye drop every few days on my driveway that in no way is affecting the overall level. I am guessing there is a loose connection, as there is no evidence of a bad head gasket (oil in coolant, frothy oil, overheating, no air bubbles in the coolant).
106,000 miles and still going well.
I am the Original Poster. I sold this car a few months ago and bought a brand new 2013 Volvo XC90 because we needed more space.
That being said, the 9-7x was a great SUV for our needs at the time. It was very reliable, inexpensive to fix when something did go wrong, looked good and had GREAT acceleration.
I don't think you will go wrong if you buy one. Big fan here.