Not long ago, I was on Reddit cruising through a few of the automotive sub-reddits and a particular post caught my eye. It mentioned a car called a “Saabaru.” As soon as I saw that, I chuckled and wondered what the author was making fun of; either it’s a car considered a cheaply-built Saab or perhaps an ultra-luxury Subaru. Well, as it turns out he wasn’t poking fun at any specific car. There actually was a “Saabaru”; it was actually called the Saab 9-2x. I immediately knew this could be the basis of an interesting article, so I contacted the Subaru experts at Reedman-Toll Subaru of Langhorne, a Local Subaru dealer in Langhorne, PA. They knew all about the Saabaru and here’s the story:  

Saab’s 9-2X was based on Subaru’s Impreza WRX model. The Impreza WRX was, and still is, a very popular, sub-compact AWD vehicle offering high quality and great reliability. With credentials like these, it was easy to see why Saab settled on the WRX platform to create their first sporty compact. As we will see, the end result was a vehicle that is definitely more Subaru-ish than Saab-ish, but it got Saab into the market quickly and allowed them to gauge demand.

The Saab 9-2X was offered in just 2004 and 2005. In 2004, it was available in two trim levels, a base Linear model that started at $23,000, and a sporty Aero coming in at $4,000 more. The Linear was equipped with a 165-horsepower, four-cylinder boxer engine, while the Aero sported a 227-hp boxer four that was both turbocharged and intercooled. Both trim packages offer a five-speed manual as standard equipment with a four-speed automatic available as an option.

For 2005, Saab offered three options packages. The first of these, the premium package, added leather upholstery and xenon HID headlamps. When ordered on with the Linear trim, the premium package also included the in-dash six-CD changer, front fog lamps, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The cold weather package added heated front seats, side view mirror defoggers, and front/rear wiper defrosters where the wipers park. In Canada, cars equipped with the cold package also included an engine block heater. The third option, the sport package, added a sunroof and 17-inch wheels.

However, some of the improvements that were incorporated into the 9-2X were considered more like up-grades than real redesigns. These were things like: improved acoustic insulation, extra-responsive steering, and active head restraints. Some Saab devotees bemoaned some of the idiosyncrasies that made a Saab a Saab, however. For example, the front seats lacked the thigh support and lumbar adjustment that Saab owners were accustomed to. The instrument panel and dash were also foreign because they were nearly pure WRX-style in layout and design.

Despite sounding like a great idea on paper, the Saab 9-2X was just considered a more refined, gentlemanly WRX and it didn’t sell particularly well. It was offered for just for the 2005 and 2006 model years and just 10,500 in total were built.

 

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