• Jun 22nd 2007 at 3:04PM
  • 60

Click on the photo for a high res gallery of the Saturn Outlook

By coincidence it turned out Alex and I were both scheduled to spend some time with a new Saturn Outlook at about the same time. Alex is working on a full review, so I'll try and give a more succinct take for a change. The Outlook is the diametrical opposite of the original Saturn S-Series weighing in at 5,000 lbs in all-wheel drive form. The new full-size crossover shares it's full-sized Lambda platform with with the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave.

Each one has it's own unique look and the Saturn has particularly attractive proportions. In photos it looks much smaller than it is, having the style of mid-sized station wagon. If the Outlook body was scaled down to fit on the mid-sized Aura platform it would make an excellent complement to the sedan. It's only when you walk up to the Outlook and it's siblings that you begin to realize that it's within an inch or two of the Tahoe/Yukon in all major dimensions.

Read more of my impressions of the Outlook after the jump

After spending a week with the Aura, stepping up to the Outlook was a bit of a shock. This thing is huge. While the Aura is fairly low slung, you sit up high in the Outlook. The Aura seat wraps around and holds you snugly in place while the Outlook seats are broad and flat. The leather covering the seats does feel good but if you were to corner aggressively you would be looking for something to brace yourself against. Fortunately this kind of behavior probably won't be an issue very often in this high riding crossover.

The interior is easy on the eye and controls fall easily to hand. There are plenty of storage spaces including a good sized bin in the middle of the dash above the center stack. The materials all look high quality, but like the Escape hybrid, only the surfaces you regularly touch such as the armrests are padded. Other surfaces like the dashboard are hard plastic, although they are textured. As with the Escape, it's there if you look for it, but since you don't commonly touch those surfaces it's a cost saver that doesn't have much real negative impact. Another contrast to the Aura is the too-skinny steering wheel although it's not really out of place in this type of vehicle.

Out back behind the third row, there is an extra plastic storage bin under the floor for stashing items you want to keep out of view, or wet towels and bathing suits after a day at the pool or beach. On the left side of the cargo area there was an ill-fitting panel that refused to stay in place throughout the test. The test unit was equipped with the convenience package that includes a power liftgate that also behaved erratically. It often took several presses of the button on the key fob to get the gate to open or close.

The riders in the back two rows get to take advantage of a rear seat DVD entertainment system. Since my twelve-year-old son will probably never get to experience a real drive-in theater, he popped up a bowl of popcorn, put in Little Miss Sunshine, climbed into the back row with the wireless headphones that are included and had a driveway drive-in experience. Another nice entertainment feature is audio/video inputs at the back of the center console that allow you plug in other devices like a video iPod.

As someone who doesn't particularly like trucks, driving the Outlook is not my preferred mode of transportation. It weighs two and a half tons and it feels like it. The ride quality from the four wheel independent suspension and stiff body is definitely more carlike than traditional body-on-frame trucks and it absorbs bumps without creaking or floating around but the steering feels kind of dead. Compared to driving either the Aura or the Escape hybrid the Outlook feels as large and heavy as it is.

All that weight has another price, a thirst for gasoline. If there is any vehicle in the GM lineup that needs the new two-mode hybrid system more than the Tahoe, it's the Outlook and it's siblings. In a week of mixed driving I racked up 420 miles and the truck drank gasoline at the rate of 16.9mpg. The hybrid drivetrain would be a good complement to the smooth, high revving 3.6 V-6 and would help to get the mileage up into the low twenties.

At a price of $39,105 as tested, the Outlook isn't cheap but it's good looking transport for up to eight. Having said that, the new Hyundai Veracruz is similarly powered with at least 600 lbs less mass to haul around, and a price tag that starts at just over $27,000. And Hyundai has an amazing warranty and great quality ratings. If you're looking for a crossover with three rows of seats there is certainly no shortage of options to choose from and plenty more coming in the next year or two.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      "At a price of $39,105 as tested, the Outlook isn't cheap but it's good looking transport for up to eight. Having said that, the new Hyundai Veracruz is similarly powered with at least 600 lbs less mass to haul around, and a price tag that starts at just over $27,000. And Hyundai has an amazing warranty and great quality ratings."

      Is this a review of the Veracruz or the Outlook? If you're going to put the Veracruz's base price in a review of a completely loaded Outlook at least state that the Outlook also bases at $27,000 and has very similar specs.

      Just a vote for some honest journalism here.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Hear ye, hear ye!
      We convene for an announcement, about a GM product hence forth called the "Saturn Outlook".

      It is with great pleasure, that I announce to my fellow blogizens, that the product know as the "Saturn Outlook", delivers more power, and better mileage, than the hog that we once knew, whose name was the "Chevrolet Uplander".

      I present to the blogizen council with the following proof:
      Saturn Outlook: 3.6-liter, 275 hp, 16/24/19 mpg combined.
      Chevrolet Uplander: 3.9-liter, 240 hp, 16/23/19 mpg combined.
      • 8 Years Ago
      #68. a 4 X 8 sheet of plywood or sheetrock easily slides into the Outlook with the second and third row folded down. Try it out, this vehicle will not disappoint. Drives like a car, smooth and quite. Carries 6 adults and you can talk to the people in the third row without raising your voice. If this vehicle fits your needs you need to consider it.

      • 8 Years Ago
      actually we've driven the Outlook and Acadia a ton and have gotten very poor mileage. Our best was almost all hwy driving at 18 mpg. Otherwise we've recorded as low as 13 mpg!
      • 8 Years Ago
      In other news...
      Kbb.com Editors Name Top Picks: Great Vehicles with Good Fuel Economy in Every Category...

      Large SUV: GMC Acadia.

      With more total cargo volume than the brand's own Yukon, the three-row GMC Acadia delivers everything most families require from a traditional full-size SUV
      but with significantly better mileage. 16 24

      Jim Gilliland
      • 8 Years Ago
      Can't tow like a BOF SUV...

      Can't haul like a minivan...no 4X8 sheets of plywood in my fancy useless CUV.

      The best of Automotive design advancement...the worst of both worlds with no significant MPG improvement with less ability all wrapped in a stylish package.

      No thanks.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's not about being an apologist, it's about being objective and rational.

      Right now this car gets good mileage for a vehicle this size and capacity.
      • 8 Years Ago
      1. If you live in the Detroit area, there's a real drive-in movie theatre at Ford and Wyoming in Dearborn--double features and everything!
      2. If you don't like driving trucks, that's no problem. But don't tell us things we already know--that it's bigger and heavier than the Aura and Escape. If you can't put your comments in context (eg relative to other large people movers that some people actually need to buy) don't bother.
      3. The Veracruz--whose base price is about the same as the base Outlook, a fact you managed to omit--is considerably smaller inside and out compared to the Outlook. Of course it weighs 600lbs less--it won't carry as much cargo or as many people in comfort. And, yes, Hyundai has a great warranty. And they also lack OnStar, a nice safety feature for families. Nice to know after the fact that you'd die before buying a Veracruz, but it frankly reads like you didn't do your homework.
      4. Regarding the tailgate: the operation is probably lawyer-driven. Always read the manual when in doubt.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Considering this thing gets better gas mileage than a Pilot, which is much smaller, lighter, less powerful, and seats 7...better gas mileage than the Veracruz, which is also smaller, lighter, less powerful, and seats 7...and even better gas mileage than the 2008 Highlander, which is rated at 16/23 (and hideous) -- how can anyone complain about the fuel economy of this thing? there is NOTHING else out there with the capacity and fuel economy of this vehicle, and certainly nothing that looks half as good. Also remember that it can tow 4500 lbs, which should be highly adequate for all but the most demanding. Hell, my 2000 Explorer is BOF and can only tow 3500 lbs.

      And GM can't stick Turbos in all of their vehicles...turbos are expensive, and people wouldn't buy it.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I do not know how you drove this vehicle but here are my results. I have driven a 2007 Outlook XR Front wheel Drive almost 6000 miles and my average mileage is 22.6. Hwy over 24 MPG.

      • 8 Years Ago
      It's easy to let old memories of vehicle MPG confuse us. That 1978 Jeep probably weighed 1,000 to 1,500 pounds LESS due to no emmissions, safety, NVH or comfort equipment. It was probably driven on roads with a 10 to 20 mph lower prevailing speed than today's roads, which makes a huge difference. And zero to 60 probably took twice as long. It definitely did not have some of the Envirofascist gas "blends" required today. And the memory is probably of the "best tank ever", not typical. Lot's of folks make this comparison, it's good to keep the facts straight.
      • 8 Years Ago
      When did anyone think a Hyundai was cool? They have NEVER been cool. And people criticising the Outlook for its economy..Just sit and think about it for a moment. Its designed to carry a lot of people with the latest safety. and quality standards. You only have to look at that Chinese car to appreiciate what goes into a modern American designed vehicle. People want quality, safety and refinement..those things unfortunatley add weight. If GM started using lightweight materials, their expense would price the Lambdas out of the market.

      People think its so easy, it dissappoints me a lot. How about congratulating GM for producing three of the most handsome and quality vehicles currently on sale in USA, instead of focusing on the negatives?....Oooo my 8 seater crossover doesn't have the economy of a Honda Fit..well duh....
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