Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on January 21, 2009
The Geneva auto show this month rolled out the latest bio- and flex- fuel vehicles, but only one was awarded best concept: the Saab 9-X. Although I often view “the next generation” vehicles with skepticism, this model deserves special mention.
The engine is designed to run on E-85 ethanol and it gets some extra juice from the hybrid powertrain that turns braking energy into battery power. But these aren’t the reason the 9-X is special. Saab – which is owned by GM – put a solar panel on top of the car to collect energy both while driving on the parkway and parking in the driveway. The only other car that I can recall using solar is the Aptera (which is still miles beyond the Geneva concepts).
What really makes the 9-X special? The engine is smaller than Saab’s previous efforts, dropping from 2.0 liters to 1.4 liters, making the car lighter and use less fuel. We just don’t really see this happening in any market, luxury or other. But don’t worry; this car still has plenty of pep at 200 horsepower, proving that smart engineering can give you better efficiency without sacrificing the thrill factor.
Finally, the 9-X is small, sleek, and well-appointed. Further re-thinking of the interior space allows for either luggage room or seats for 2 backseat passengers; the car’s shape actually changes to be more aerodynamic above 70km/h, and you get bluetooth connections, push-button ignition and a cockpit feel that you expect in newer cars.
Cost, fuel efficiency, and production dates remain unknown, but keep an eye out. The compact 9-X might just be the new BIG.