SAAB Concepts

Another One “Saabaru”: Saab 9-6x

Saab 9-6x

After GM breathed new life after the first stumble, SAAB tried to make a few pathetic attempts to turn the fortunes in their favor. The problem was the delay in introducing new models, so the solution to the delay was found in the “repackaging” of existing models from the GM concern.

The two most terrifying examples are the SAAB 9-7x, a large SUV with a V8 engine (the platform of the Chevrolet TrailBlazer) and the SAAB 9-2x, a sports wagon (the Subaru Impreza with the SAAB badge). Those cars, as expected, were tragic failures and should be forgotten so that the image of SAAB as a special and interesting company would remain intact.

And another such model that did not reach the market was the Saab 9-6x. Just after the rather unsuccessful attempts to produce a hybrid Saab and Subaru Impreza, i.e. Saab 9-2x and 9-7x, in 2005, the car company SAAB Automobiles came with the news that there will be another “Saabaru”, this time based on an SUV on the Subaru Tribeca B9, which was already on sale at that time.

The car was supposed to become a sort of successor to the then sold Saab 9-7x, which this time was also based on the Chevrolet Trailblazer. The “Swedish Tribeca” was even supposed to be sold in Europe, unlike the 9-7x. Just to remind you why GM was doing crossbreeding between Saab and Subaru – General Motors owned 20% of Subaru at the time, which was otherwise under Fuji Heavy Industries, and that’s what led to these attempts.

The automaker informed the media about the upcoming model, but did not provide any photo documentation, so there were only assumptions about how the car looks exactly. Speculations that the car would be a defacto Tribeca with a Saab front end (same recipe as the 9-2x model) proved to be correct only a few years later.

If the appearance was no longer clear, at least the technical data was released. The 9-6x was originally to be produced with a three-liter boxer with six cylinders from Subaru, as well as the entire chassis platform including permanent all-wheel drive, all complemented by a 5-speed automatic.

At that time, the target of 15,000 produced units of the 9-6x model per year sounded quite ambitious. Saab was to be produced in the same factory, right next to Tribeca (30,000 units per year intended), in Indiana, USA. There was even discussion about the production of a three-door version of the Swedish-Japanese SUV, which would have been unique at the time. But nothing happened. General Motors sold its stake shortly after the announcement that “Saabaru No. 2” would be produced, and the entire project was shelved.

Patented Saab 9-6x design
Patented Saab 9-6x design

In 2008, a spark of hope dawned on potential buyers of the new SUV from Saab. The press reported that Saab had patented the appearance of the new SUV, which according to the documents is the Saab 9-6x. However, the spark of hope was in vain, nothing happened and the whole project was forgotten again.

Saab 9-6x SUV
Saab 9-6x SUV

Only after 6 long years, since the intention to produce the Saab 9-6x was announced, in 2011 a forgotten concept presented by the Saab 9-6x appeared in the museum in Trollhättan. For the first time, the public could finally see what the car really looks like. In short, the entire front end of the car was redesigned from Tribeca to “Saab”, the rest of the car remained as Subaru created it. The same recipe was applied to the interior, except for a few small details, it is no different from its “sister model”.

Saab 9-6x Interior
Saab 9-6x Interior

Unfortunately, the 3-door version alongside the 5-door 9-6x is not in the museum. According to the available photos, the concept was created, which could be seen in some photos, but it is not known where it ended up.

the 3-door version Saab 9-6x
the 3-door version Saab 9-6x


  • IMO stupid fiddling. They should’ve launched the car because back then SUVs were quite popular. “Badge engineered” cars are still a better choice than no new car models at all. Shows the lack of direction GM had back then.

  • I thought I’d known everything about this 9-6x and then I see a photo of a 3 door version. Just awful.
    I really want to see the cancelled 9-5 from circa 2004, that was developed along side the Alfa Romeo 159. It was close to production.

  • I only read the other day that the Saab version was quite heavily reskinned from the Tribeca, then when it was canned, Subaru picked up the tooling for a refresh of their dead ugly beast, so at least Subaru benefitted in the end

    • True, but it did not help the sales of the Tribeca anyway. A less good vehicle from the very beginning. God that it never became a SAAB

  • The 9-7x has some character, maybe not 100% SAAB but the to be 9-6x was a dull vehicle in all aspects. Good that it did not go all the way

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