Saab is one of the last companies to jump into the sport/utility pool. It's taking an inexpensive, low-risk dive off the board by copping its own version of the GMT360 platform (Chevy TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy, ad infinitum, offering two rows of seats). Engine specs haven't yet been announced, but we expect the current Vortec 4200 I-6 and 5300 aluminum V-8 to carry on unabated. The 9-7X's emphasis will be on all-weather safety and performance, as opposed to ultimate rock-climbing ability.

Will a U.S.-built SUV that's clearly a Saab in name only fly with the buying public? That remains to be seen, but it doesn't particularly excite us. Saab management maintains that many of its most faithful owners have had to leave the fold because they need a sport/utility, thus the 9-7X could play an important customer-retention role.

The 9-2X comes to market this summer, while the 9-7X breaks cover at the New York Auto Show in April, as a 2005 model. There's nothing wrong with Saab raiding GM's global parts and platforms bin, but in the end, the products have to be right for what people expect from the brand. Time will tell if this badged and borrowed pair are correct answers to the company's product-development requirements.