An update from the Saab 9-4x test drive in Washington DC

Saab are hosting automotive journalists from around the world this week, for a test drive of the all new Saab 9-4x. I brought you a few images from the first day of the event, yesterday. Today, we’ll take a look at how things are going, as well as giving you a peek behind the curtain as to what actually goes on at these events. Do automotive journalists really have the best jobs in the world?

First, the update.

I’ve been in touch with Mikael Jacobsson, who is the Product Manager for the Saab 9-4x. He summed up the event in one word – SUCCESS!

The event itself has gone wonderfully well, but better than that, the reception given to the car from the automotive press has been uniformly positive.

The scenic Swedish-like route we are driving is fantastic, but more importantly the journalists have been extremely positive about the car. The design, handling, comfort, versatility, features and technologies – the entire car has been getting superlatives. This is something we’ve thought ourselves for a while, but now we can start to share it. The media the first to drive the 9-4x. Our dealers and customers will follow soon. Can’t wait to hear their feedback.

Here are some images from day 2 of the test drive event. Click to enlarge.

PhoeniX is at the event and everyone wants to stand near it, even Victor Muller, the Chairman of Saab Automobile……

Product Manager Mikael Jacobsson gives the media a few lessons (on XWD technology, perhaps?)…..

The new head of Saab Cars North America, Tim Colbeck, addresses the cameras alongside PhoeniX…..

The Saab 9-4x shows some light and shade. This is the first time I’ve seen a darker color in Aero trim, which looks fantastic.

Peter Dorrich, the father of the Saab 9-4x and sister vehicle from Cadillac, addresses some questions from the motoring media.



What exactly goes on that these events? Do automotive journalists have it as good as everyone thinks?

Here’s the program for the Saab 9-4x test drive event. 25 US media persons went through this program today and a dozen or so from Europe will do the same tomorrow.

  • Attendees arrive the night before their scheduled drive day and share a dinner with the Saab team.
  • The next morning, there’s breakfast, followed by a brief product presentation, before attendees go to the House of Sweden in Washington, to collect their cars.
  • The morning drive session starts at 0830 and continues through to 1330, with a stop halfway at Swedenburg Estate winery for a driver change (and hopefully not too much sampling of the estate’s product by the next driver)
  • Lunch is at 1330 at Magnolia on the Mills
  • The afternoon drive begins, concluding at 1600 at the Ritz Hotel (the start point)
  • Then they wind up, clean the cars and do it all again….

So, do you think automotive journalists have the best job in the world?

This is definitely nice, and it’d be great to be driving the Saab 9-4x in the countryside. Unfortunately, however, for every Saab 9-4x they get to drive, they also have to drive a bunch of small, generic city cars or bland family sedans.

I’m not suggesting you feel sorry for them, not by any means. It’s just a matter of perspective. Hopefully Saab are giving them all some pretty nice perspective right now.

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  1. Excellent! The early drive report in Motor Trend from earlier this month (that will supposedly be in the June issue) was very positive, indicating the 9-4X’s more responsive driving characteristics which were decidedly different than other competitor crossovers in the segment. Looks like it is in for some other good reviews! Swade, do you know if anyone from Consumer Reports was there? While I know many car buffs do not use that as their “go to” source for car reviews, the potential target audience for the 9-4X might and a good review there would do wonders to put the 9-4X on the radar of people who have not been keeping up with Saab the last year or so.

  2. Steven, I know you’re home for a week and probably enjoying yourself, but I wish you were there too to give an insiders view. Very cool things going on right now at Saab and I really think Saab has done awesome with the recent hirings.