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  1. #1
    Saab Enthusiast
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    13 Oct 2011
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    Saab(s)
    2011 9-4x, 2008 9-3 Aero, had 2005 9-3 Arc, '93 9000CSE, '86 9000Turbo
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    My thoughts after having my 9-4x Premium XWD for about 30 days...

    So here are my thoughts after owning mine for just about 30 days now...

    This is my 4th Saab (previously I've had an '86 9000 Turbo, '93 9000CSE, '05 9-3Arc), unless you also count my wife's '08 9-3Aero.

    To start with... I still love driving this 9-4x as much as the first day I got it!

    The ride is much better, or at least I like the feel of it more, than my late father's 2010 GMC Terrain that was one of my trade ins. I still know its a "truck" or cross over when cornering and such, but it feels really good.

    Since my only other SUV or Crossover was my late father's 2010 GMC Terrain SLT AWD (4 cylinder) which I drove for 9 months, I can't help but compare my 9-4X XWD to it.

    Because of the slope of the hatch and back end on the 9-4x, I do give up about 2 cubic feet of cargo room in the back IF I wanted to completely fill the cargo area and obstruct my view out the back window. Since I like being able to see out the window, this shouldn't impact me.

    Speaking of cargo room, I did use the 9-4x to bring home my son's new bunk bed, and the two mattresses for it from BJ's. I did have to tie the tailgate down, but it all fit! (I would have had to tie the lift gate on the Terrain too).

    There is more head, shoulder and leg room in the 9-4x than the GMC. While the GMC had the ability to slide the rear seats forward/back (to make more cargo room, or more leg room), I don't miss that in the Saab. there is plenty of "trunk" space and leg room the way the back seats are positioned. And the rear seats also have the ability to recline about two inches on the Saab.

    Having owned a black 1986 Saab 9000Turbo, black wasn't my first choice of colors. It does look amazing when its perfectly clean, but like any black car, it shows ever speck of dirt/dust. It was what the dealer had on the lot, equipped with the things I wanted.

    Other than black paint which I only like, I love everything about the 9-4x.



    I've read reviews from car magazines and web sites complaining about Saab's choice of engine, and how Cadillac dropped it after one year due to lack of power, etc. I find it a good fit. While the 9-4x Premium is no "rocket" it is definitely quicker and faster than the Terrain! I haven't done any 0-60 or quarter mile tests to see how quick (or slow) it is, but I am at least comfortable and confident pulling out onto I95 into traffic and that is the most important thing.

    My previous Saabs set the bar for "must have features", and this 9-4x exceeds that. This 9-4x Prem has more creature comforts and features than I could have asked for or knew I wanted in a car. It was ordered by the dealer configured this way. It includes all options available on the 9-4x Premium trim except the "Rear Seat Package" (which consists of 3rd climant zone for the back seats, seat heaters for the rear seats, dual seat/headrest mounted 8" DVD screens and wireless headphones).

    While my previous Saab 9-3 Arc sedan had rear park assist (the little sensors/beepers to let you know when you were getting close to something) and the Terrain had a rear view camera which displayed in the mirror, the 9-4x has rear park assist, rear view camera and FRONT park assist. The Front park assist is nice because I'm still getting used to the length of the front end, It lets me know when to stop pulling forward. Because of the navigation package, the 9-4x's back up camera displays on the Navigation screen. Because of the screen size, the camera's display is a little blurry. I do like the "path lines" the back up camera shows on the monitor which turn/adjust as you turn the steering wheel to plot your track on the image from the camera display.

    The Power Folding side mirrors is a nice touch, and came in handy as I got used to pulling the 9-4X in and out of my garage. I've since found that I don't need to fold them in anymore. If I lived and/or parked "down town" this would be on my "MUST HAVE" list, but living and working where I do, its only "nice to have." Like my past Saab's, and the GMC, they side mirrors are heated which is great in the winter time!

    Another "nice to have" feature that is making its way to my "must have" list is the power rear hatch. Having a button on the key fob to open/close it is very nice when unloading the car from a shopping trip. I like that it also has the feature to limit how far the hatch can open (so you can set it to NOT hit the garage ceiling for example).

    As I indicated before, my 9-4x is equipped with Navigation unit. It wasn't on my "Must Have" list, in fact, if it wasn't already in the car, I wouldn't have it. Navigation consists of about a 7 inch touch screen which displays the maps, radio, cd, etc. The radio system provides AM, FM, XM, 10gig Hard drive built in (to store music on), as well as USB Port for iPod integration or using a USB flash Drive with music on it. There is also a 3.5mm or 1/8" stereo auxilary in for use with a "non-iPod" Mp3 player. While the system also supports DVD/DVD Audio, I haven't tried playing a movie yet (which it will only do in Park since I don't have the rear seat package). The Stereo also consists of a 10 speaker Bose w/5.1 Surround capability. It does since very very nice!! While at max volume it might not be the loudest stereo in town, it certainly is loud enough (hurts my wife's ears) and very clean. There is no distortion, and no hiss between songs.



    I like having the Dual Zone auto climate controls back. This was something I really missed on the GMC. Of course it includes heated front seats, but an addition I can't wait to try out is... the Ventilated front seats. Yes, they have a fan in them to blow air and keep your butt cool! In the summer, this should feel nice. The temperature selector controls have small numbers on them which make them hard to read by a "quick glance", so it was a nice surprise to actually have the temperature selector display on the NAV screen as I change the dial! That is much easier to read.

    Having weather and traffic for the Nav/info screens, and the driver instrument cluster, as well as the "Speed Limit" displayed in the instrument cluster/speedo area, are apparently tied to XM serivce. XM trial came free for the first 3 months. I'm considering keeping the cheapest XM package which would allow me to keep that, but I'm not ready to pay $10+ per month for it as I mostly listen to MP3's or my iPod.

    When I first tried the navigation in the 9-4x I missed in the book how it talked about tapping on the compass to change the display orientation. So at first I was disappointed that NORTH was always "UP" on the display no matter what way I was driving, thankfully a forum member pointed this out. You can tap on the compass icon to change the display for North always up, Up as the direction you are driving, or "3d Display." I like the selectable route options for fastest, easiest, and shortest when plotting a destination. Easiest is something I got used to with VZNavigator on my Verizon cell phone and missed on my TomTom unit. Having this on the 9-4x is great! Map updates are the only question mark. Previous GM Navigation units cost about $200 per map update, so time will tell if I keep up. Especially with Google Maps/Navigation being FREE on my cell phones.

    I'm also a little disappointed in the way iPod integration works on the 9-4X's Nav system.

    On the GMC Terrain when using/controlling the iPod via its stereo I could go Menu-> Artist -> Album to select/play the album I wanted to listen to and it respected the Track # in the MP3 ID tag. On the Saab, If I go Menu -> Artist... it shows ALL Tracks by the artist, not album listing, and the tracks are listed/played in alphabetical order. Tracks are also played in alphabetical order, not track # in the tag order, if I go Menu -> Album -> [pick an album]. It does the same with tracks on a USB Stick, or copied to the unit's hard drive.

    If I had an 8 gig iPod Touch with only a few tracks/albums or something, It wouldn't be that big a deal. But I have 13,000+ songs on my 80gig iPod Classic with many albums and many artists. I do hope they make an update for this!

    On my NAV unit, trying to "fast scroll" through artists or albums, it doesn't bring up the letter (like when using the dial on the front of my classic, or like the unit in the GMC did)... Thankfully using the onscreen up/down arrows on the scroll bar do help it skip faster from screen to screen, but there is no quick way to get to artists or album that start with a certain letter... you just have to scroll through...

    As expected, since this is an SUV/CUV with a 3.0L V6 engine, gas mileage isn't spectacular. Its rated 17/23 per the window sticker. I've been in the 12-16mpg range around town (which consists of mostly under 10 mile trips). In comparison, the 4 cylinder AWD Terrain got about 18 or 19 mpg under the same usage. I know that type of trip doesn't give the engine and catalytic converter enough time to warm up which could be an impact on mileage. Also I'm still under 1000 miles on the engine. So maybe as I drive it more, the mileage will improve. In any case, I'm thankful that it uses "regular" gas and I don't have to put premium in it.

    I guess you can say the iPod/HD/USB missing "album" under artist, is my only "complaint"...

    All in all, nothing major, and none of those will keep me from being happy with my purchase!

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  2. #2
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    previous: 2006 9-3, 2001-06 9-5, 2011 9-4X
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    That's a very nice review, thanks for taking the time in sharing. I have about 3,500 miles on mine now and wanted to wait for a few months to post a review.

    Hopefully, Saab will make some software updates available to fix missing album problem on the nav system.

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  3. #3
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    I was looking at your fuel log and an average of 14.2 mpg seems quite high for the 3.0i. My average is still at about 21 mpg after 10 fillups. I did find the average fuel mileage on the SID is very accurate. I reset mine right after I drove it off the dealer lot and it reads exactly the same (within 0.1 mpg) as my fuel log.

    Actually, the SID (Saab Information Display) has been renamed to DIC (Driver Information Center) in the 9-4X. Not to be confused with a Direct Ignition Cassette of course..

    After 3,000 miles, the engine seems to be getting a bit smoother and I seem to start driving it more like I did my 9-5. As you said, the 3.0i engine is not the most powerful in this segment's class, but it is more than enough what I need it for. Very quiet and smooth when cruising on the highway but still a nice engine growl when pushing it beyond 4K RPM. It doesn't have a lot of power left at 70 mph but around town in the 30 - 55 mph range, it is actually pretty quick.

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  4. #4
    Saab Enthusiast
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    13 Oct 2011
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    2011 9-4x, 2008 9-3 Aero, had 2005 9-3 Arc, '93 9000CSE, '86 9000Turbo
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    Some updates since writing the OP....

    1. CD's I've put in and recorded to the Bose system's hard drive DO obey/honor track numbers. So is it something with the MP3's I put on the USB stick? i.e. does the Bose system like ID2 tags rather than ID3? (like my old Creative Nomad Zen USB 2.0, circa '02, did), or is it something else? I'll need to investigate. But these same MP3's dropped onto my 80gig iPod Classic DO work on the standalone iPod properly as far as by track number.

    2. Gas mileage has hit 17mpg, on a tank that was about 75% highway. Around town mileage is still what I would call a "typical truck" MPG's. (in the low teens)

    3. I got the "bill" for Sirius/XM free trial, saying "pay this amount if you want to continue..." It does list the prices apparently WITH taxes and fees, so you can't compare them to the web site published rates (which do not include taxes and fees). The Rates do NOT list what those taxes/fees are. XM NavTraffic ( NavTraffic Overview - SiriusXM Radio ) only rates are not listed on this "bill" but are listed their web site. Its $3.99 per month, and if you don't have the "radio subscription" you have to get 1 yr of NavTraffic at a time. For someone who listens to mostly to MP3's, CD's, and can stream Rhapsody (unlimited) on my cell phone and run into the LINE-IN, I don't see a need to pay for Sirius/XM radio.

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  5. #5
    Saab Enthusiast
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    2011 9-4x, 2008 9-3 Aero, had 2005 9-3 Arc, '93 9000CSE, '86 9000Turbo
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    Here are a few pix of things I talked about in the OP... including...

    Speed limit info the display.
    Backup camera view (including directional lines based on steering wheel position) on the Nav screen.
    Directions on the info display and NAV screen..
    Weather info.
    And climate control/temp displayed on the Nav screen when changing the dials.
    Attached Images Attached Images        

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  6. #6
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    previous: 2006 9-3, 2001-06 9-5, 2011 9-4X
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    I like the weather info. It doesn't show radar images, does it? I really liked the weather band on my 2001 9-5 and wish the newer Saabs would still have that.

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  7. #7
    Mike
    Moderator Shazam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_Venture View Post
    Backup camera view (including directional lines based on steering wheel position) on the Nav screen.
    That is just cool. My folks Ford pick-up has the directional lines, but they don't turn. The fact that they turn is just plain awesome. Such a simple (relatively) thing, and it's just so cool! The best about a back-up camera though is being able to hook-up to a trailer all by yourself... way easier.

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  8. #8
    Saab Enthusiast
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    Weather info doesn't show radar, but can show 5 day forecast instead of current conditions. (I'm guessing that weather is based on XM, but not sure).

    I had the NOAA WB included in the the radio in my older Saabs too and really miss having that to listen to.

    Another update for the OP....

    In the OP, I said I thought the "Speed Limit" was part of the XM NavTraffic service.. actually it appears to be part of the built in nav service and map data. And it is NOT 100% accurate. The other night, the unit showed me the speed limit as 45mph, but the road signs showed 35mph! There are many non-main roads for which speed limit does not display (it shows as -- instead of number in the info display's speed limit sign)

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  9. #9
    Frank
    Administrator nordwulf's Avatar
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    I remember seeing a video from Steven / Inside Saab where the system in the 9-5 recognizes actual speed limit signs on the road. But I think that only works in Europe as they have better street signs.

    For the weather band, perhaps you can get a small portable weather radio and use the 3.5mm Aux and 12V in the center console so you can play it through the head unit / car speakers.

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  10. #10
    Saab Addict
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    weather band

    My wife was a hoot. She had the weather band in her 1995 900. Come the first hint of a flake in the air she was glued to the TV and once she hit the car it was "Weather Band" all the way.

    All 2 miles into her office. Driving with her once, she got pizzed cause I kept singing "Ground control to Major Tom"

    Sooooo, I figure she is ready for a car and park a shiny, brandy new, black XWD in the driveway. All night I hear, "blah, blah, blah, no Weather Band" ..

    9-4 looks real puuuuurty in black.

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