• Nov 26, 2008
More spy shots of Saab's upcoming XC70-challenging 9-3X have just surfaced from Sweden. This offroadier 9-3 wagon SportCombi derivative has a raised suspension, "skid-plates" and extra cladding, plus jumbo exhaust tips to give it a more butch look. Looks like the Outback craze continues unabated. As we've told you before, the 9-3X will differ a bit from other 9-3s in its focus. Saab's Haldex drivetrain has shown itself to be a hoot to drive, which we noted when we sampled the Turbo X. Unlike the performance-oriented Turbo X, however, the 9-3X will use its Haldex AWD system for tackling trenches rather than twisties, offering its owners the security to tackle snow, potholes and black ice. It looks like it's going to be a busy 2009 for Saab, with the pending 9-4X, tweaks to the 9-5 and now the 9-3X.
[Source: TrollhattanSaab.net]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      If you guys don't understand that there are just a few square inches of rubber that touches the ground, and to have all of that available traction working for you is a good thing, then I am not sure what to tell you.

      Of course AWD doesn't help you stop, unless you count engine braking, which can be a bit less upsetting to traction than even ABS brakes.

      Cars don't have brakes on just the front wheels, they have brakes on all four wheels, because it helps. 2WD can be a purer driving experience on dry pavement where two traction points can have enough traction to maintain grip, while keeping the car lighter, and not having to deal with more hardware. It is a give and take.

      But in low traction environments, 2wd is passable, where AWD, especially GOOD AWD, is fantastic. Good AWD with snow tires is extremely capable where 2WD is not, front or rear.

      My subaru with snow tires is immensely more capable than my miata with a limited slip, snow tires, and a loaded-down rear weight bias and RWD. MUCH better than my old 1-wheel RWD Mustang, and better than my old Probe GT with all-season tires and FWD, or my wife's FWD Toyota Corrola. Just as competent, and more liveable and useable than the 4x4 ranger that the Subaru replaced.

      A 5000lb behemoth could have all the AWD in the world, but if you drive it with abandon, the inertia of 2.5 tons will bite you anyway. An AWD car is much more deft than a more overweight vehicle on pretty much the same square area of rubber with a 2/5ths more weight.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Here’s the thing about permanent AWD for those who aren’t sure if they need it. AWD not only adds greater mass to the car, but it adds extra rotational inertia to the driveline. Everytime you accelerate it requires extra power to spin up the driveline, reducing dry-road performance and fuel economy. Now most of the CUV set usually work on-demand awd systems that clutch in the non bias wheels when needed, with the exception of Scoobies which are permanent. In any case awd drives up the cost and complication of the car, justified to some but not all.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It is way past time for GM to put Saab out of our misery -- put a fork in it, it's done.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I’m not convinced of the utility of AWD either. But in the 9-3s case the "xwd” increases the towing capacity to 3000lbs, something not common to sportswagons. That means SUV utility for those of us that don’t want to drive 5-6000lbs of vehicle. All I want is a fun to drive vehicle that will haul all my crap!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Cool. Buy a station wagon. A fast one. There are tons out there.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Snow tires are pretty cool, but up here in Alaska having AWD or 4WD allows you to huck your vehicle around corners harder, you just cant do that with FWD.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That's funny. My 19 yr old honda manages potholes, snow, and black ice just fine with a simple pair of snow tires. I own a subie too, but honestly AWD is pointless most of the time. Snow tires rule.
        • 6 Years Ago
        4WD/AWD are all about a false sense of security. What most people don't understand is AWD doesn't help you stop.
        I live in Colorado and have almost never needed/wished I had all 4 wheels powered.