Review: 2007 Saturn Outlook
This 2007 review is representative of model years 2007 to 2009.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Saturn is rapidly distancing itself from its older plastic body vehicles that were left unchanged for far too long. It soon will have a full line of much more sophisticated steel-body vehicles.
The latest such Saturn is the handsome new Outlook. It's the automaker's first crossover-style SUV to provide eight-passenger capacity, thanks to a third-row seat.
Lansing is a longtime Oldsmobile town, filled with skilled auto workers who do a good job of building the Outlook, which has precise body fits and a solid feel. It doesn't have to take second place to Japanese vehicles in that regard.
The Outlook is the lowest-cost member of the new Lansing trio and thus could be considered the best bargain. It looks stylish, but the quiet, attractive interior has a good amount of hard plastic to help hold down costs. However, pragmatic parents might view that plastic as easier to keep clean if children are transported a lot.
GM hopes the trio will do well, and they just might. Rivals include the Ford Edge, Chrysler Pacifica, Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot, and a few of those lack a third-row seat.
The Outlook has a powerful V6, newly developed, responsive 6-speed automatic transmission and lots of electronic and safety features.
Fuel economy is an estimated 18 mpg in the city and 26 on the highway with front-wheel drive and 17 and 24 with all-wheel drive. That's decent for a powerful vehicle that weighs nearly 5,000 pounds. Only regular-grade gasoline is required.
Enjoyable to Drive
Both trim levels have anti-lock brakes, traction control (for the front-wheel-drive version), and an anti-skid system with rollover sensors. A full complement of front and side airbags also are standard.
Roomy and Practical
At least it's not too difficult to reach the third seat because the second-row seat slides forward and folds with a "scissor" action to allow entry. The second-row split bench seat also slides fore and aft to allow a desired mix of legroom for second- and third-row occupants.
Second- and third-row bench seats provide seating for eight, but optional second-row bucket seats provide seven-passenger seating in the high-line XR trim level.
The first and second rows provide good room for tall occupants, although the second-row bench seat has a hard center area; it's best to flip down that seat's center armrest, which contains dual cupholders. Rear windows roll all the way down.
While wide, the cargo area opening is somewhat high. Cargo room is decent even when the third seat is in its normal position, and the third seat folds nearly flat to enlarge the cargo area. There's a fairly good-sized under-floor cargo compartment for stuff you want kept out of sight.
The console bin is too small for this type of vehicle, but cabin storage for small items otherwise is good.
Rear visibility is fine from the driver's seat, thanks partly to unobtrusive rear headrests and large outside mirrors. But thick windshield posts obstruct the view to the front corners and thus can hide pedestrians darting across a street when the Outlook is turning a corner.
It requires extra effort to enter or leave the Outlook, but not as much as is needed with a typical truck-based SUV that lacks this Saturn's body-frame integral design.
Comfort and Convenience
Added to the XR are items including dual-zone automatic climate controls, power driver seat and mirror-mounted turn signals.
Options include remote engine start, power sunroof and a DVD entertainment system. You can get leather upholstery and heated front seats for the XR version. And an XR rear-obstacle detection system is handy because it's often impossible to see objects directly behind the Outlook.
Saturn dealers have kept high customer satisfaction ratings despite years of marginal products. That should help sales of the Outlook, not to mention other new Saturn vehicles.