Should I Buy a Used Saab 9-2x?

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

The Classic Tale of the Saabaru

Vehicle Overview

In 2005 Saab wanted a compact vehicle to sell in North America against products like the Audi A3 and Volvo V50. At the time GM owned Saab completely and had an influential ownership share in Subaru. To fill the gap in Saab’s lineup, the company began to sell a version of the Subaru Impreza wagon with Saab family styling front and back as well as a more premium interior. Other than that, the vehicle was mechanically similar to the Subaru and features the Impreza’s basic body shell.

Like the Impreza, the Saab 9-2x was offered with the regular 2.5-liter horizontally opposed engine as well as the WRX’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four. In 2006, a few 2.5-liter turbocharged vehicles were produced and to this day are the rarest of the model line.

Trims Packages

Both years offered two trim options: the base model Linear and the turbocharged Aero. Option packages could be added to either version.

Top 3 Reasons to Buy

  • All-Wheel Drive – As can be expected of any Subaru-based vehicle, all-wheel drive is a the main reason many people buy the Saab 9-2x. Considered one of the best systems for wintery weather, those who opt for the 9-2x Aero also like the performance advantage of the AWD system.
  • Practicality – The 9-2x is a wagon and therefore it can carry quite a bit of stuff for its size, especially with the rear seats folded down. The combination of practicality in a unique, fun-to-drive package enticed a lot of current owners.
  • Price – Since the vehicle is officially branded as a Saab, a now defunct company, many people stay away from the 9-2x. This drives resale value down and a similar condition 9-2x is cheaper than its Impreza counterpart, despite all major components being the same.

Top 3 Problem Areas

  • Both manual transmissions and the four-speed automatics have their share of issues in this car. Of particular note are various issues with the five-speed manual in the turbocharged Aero cars that also houses the front differential in the transmission casing.
  • Like the Impreza this car is based on, the 9-2x is susceptible to rust on the rear three quarter panels. Prospective buyers should check the fender as well as inside the wheel well where the fender meets the rear bumper for rust.
  • Many people have complained to NHTSA that a distinct raw fuel scent can be smelled inside the cabin of the 9-2x during very cold days. Once again, the Impreza suffers from this issue and did have a fix issued for it.
  • Before You Buy

    Like any used car, check to ensure there aren’t any outstanding recalls that need to be addressed and take a test drive to listen for any abnormal driveline/transmission noises. Check the rocker panels, rear quarter panels and underbody for rust in more northern climates, especially if you live in an area where the roads are salted.

    With the 9-2x Aero in particular, ask if there is a service history on the car and enquire about any previous and/or current modifications made to the vehicle. These are Subaru WRXs after all and many owners have modified the vehicles for looks and performance.

    Best Bang for Your Buck

    This all comes down to what you are looking for in a used vehicle. If it is a practical, all-weather capable family car you are after, look for a 2005 9-2x Linear with the four-speed automatic. If it is a fun, rally-car-for-the-streets with some added functionality, go for the five-speed manual 9-2x Aero, especially the ultra-rare 2006 model with the larger 2.5-liter engine.

    Recall and Crash Test Database

    2005 IIHS Crash Test Rating Saab 9-2x
    2006 IIHS Crash Test Rating Saab 9-2x
    2005 NHTSA Crash Test Rating Saab 9-2x
    2006 NHTSA Crash Test Rating Saab 9-2x
    2005 NHTSA Recall Notices Saab 9-2x
    2006 NHTSA Recall Notices Saab 9-2x

    Looking for more information? Visit our Saab 9-2x Forum

    Gallery: 2005-2006 Saab 9-2x

    Mike Schlee
    Mike Schlee

    A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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    2 of 7 comments
    • AgendaBuster AgendaBuster on Dec 15, 2014

      We own two of these cars. Our 2006 in Red has over 300,000 miles on it no serious issues. We just bought a Silver 2005 with 87K miles, both cars are non-turbo and both are 5 spd manual trans. We love these cars, their better looking than the Subarus, have nicer interiors, and people are always asking us questions about the saab-a-ru's. Their fun! It wouldn't shock me to learn their value is going up, these cars were only made for two years, very few are around, even fewer in the future. Buy now, while you can still find a few around.

    • Johann M Johann M on May 06, 2016

      Bought my 2005 92x Linear, 5 spd Manual new in Dec 04. 132000 miles on it now. Best car I've ever had. Except for the airbag recall, it has never been in the shop. I do all maintenance myself and so far have replaced the following: Radiator cap and hoses, coolant, thermostat, water pump, brakes, calipers, tires, battery, starter, timing/AC/alternator/PS belts, transmission/differential oils, PS/brake/clutch fluids. Engine oil every 3-4k. Now using 20W50 in the engine. No fluid leaks or oil usage. I might go for 200000 miles.