Fuel efficiency is not a trait possessed by the 2009 Saab 9-7X—especially when outfitted in Aero trim with its 390-hp V-8. The 9-7X does, however, scoot around town with the urgency of a muscle car.
When driving the lower-output six-cylinder engine on the 9-7X Saab in 4.2i trim, ConsumerGuide finds that it "provides brisk takeoffs and adequate passing power," and Kelley Blue Book appreciates the boost from "plenty of power," although they note that neither engine on the 4.2i nor the 5.3i "conveys a sense of effortlessness under heavy acceleration." Edmunds reports that the engine options on the 2009 Saab 9-7X range from a "4.2-liter inline six-cylinder good for 285 hp and 276 pound-feet of torque" on the 4.2i up to a "6.0-liter V-8 cranking out 390 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque" on the 9-7X Aero. In between the two rests the Saab 9-7X 5.3i, which "comes equipped with a 5.3-liter V-8 engine putting out 300 hp and 321 lb-ft of torque," according to Edmunds. Moving up engine outputs, the 300-horsepower V-8 provides excellent power for all maneuvers. For those who simply crave more, however, Saab offers the 2009 Saab 9-7X Aero, which Car and Driver says is "fast...as you'd expect of nearly anything with a 390-hp Chevrolet LS2 V-8 under the hood."
In reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, the recurring complaint is the four-speed automatic transmission. As quick as it is, the 9-7X Saab can't outrun its many performance shortcomings. Cars.com feels that the "transmission is generally well behaved," although "awkward downshifts sometimes occur when attempting to pass." Kelley Blue Book laments the lack of any other transmission options, saying that all versions of the Saab 9-7X would "benefit greatly from a more sophisticated transmission than the four-speed automatic."
Other common complaints include references to the Saab 9-7X's unimpressive (to put it mildly) fuel economy. Car and Driver finds that "lesser 9-7Xs already manage only questionable fuel economy—the thriftiest engine is rated at 14/20 mpg," while the 390-hp Aero "returns a bottom-of-the-list 12 mpg in the city and 16 on the highway."
When handling comes into question, the 2009 Saab 9-7X performs with old-style SUV manners. ConsumerGuide praises the "direct and nicely weighted" steering effort, while Edmunds finds that the 9-7X has a "more stable ride and more responsive handling than any of its GM cousins." Although they both agree that the 9-7X offers responsive handling, the two differ sharply on their review of the brakes on the 9-7X. Edmunds says "brake feel" is a "sore point, as the pedal lacks the progressive and confident response associated with a premium vehicle," while ConsumerGuide counters, contending that "braking is strong with reassuring pedal feel." Kelley Blue Book concludes that "although stiffening the suspension imparts the 9-7X with increased straight-line and cornering stability, it also results in a rougher ride, especially for those in the rear seat."