It's no secret that import models seem to do well in comparison tests performed by Consumer Reports. While some accuse CR of being biased against American metal, we've spent enough time with the Consumer Reports crew to know that they strive for objectivity in their tests. They actually purchase test vehicles straight from the dealer rather than using manufacturer supplied media vehicles, and their results over the past decade of testing just supports what we've all felt in our gut: General Motors, Ford and the Chrysler Group have not been performing up to their potential.
In the current August issue of CR that goes on sale tomorrow, however, a domestic model, the Saturn Outlook, dominated a field of four other midsize CUVs including the Hyundai Veracruz, Mazda CX-9, Chrysler Pacifica and Ford Edge. Its performance earned it a Very Good rating and a place behind the top-rated Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Honda Pilot in the midsize SUV category and a second place spot behind the much more expensive Mercedes-Benz GL450 in the large SUV category. CR decided the Outlook could be considered in both categories because it's car-based and technically a CUV like most of its midsize competitors, but is so roomy and seats up to eight like many large SUVs.
[Source: Consumer Reports]
Truthfully, it sounds as if even CR was surprised by the Outlook's performance in its review. David
Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center said, "The Saturn Outlook is the most competitive volume model from General Motors in years." It and its Lambda siblings, the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, are definitely a product of the "New GM". We've spent some time with the Outlook and plan on publishing a full review soon, but it's clear that the specs are spot on – honest-to-goodness seating for eight with a useable third row, a beefy V6 paired with a six-speed auto, Expedition-like room with an RX350-like ride. Our only gripe is that the Outlook's fuel economy hovers in the mid-teens and its friggin' huge, which while accommodating can make the full-size CUV difficult to maneuver in tight spots.