2007 OUTLOOK New Car Test Drive
The 2007 Saturn Outlook is a new model. The powerful 3.6-liter V6 engine and smooth six-speed transmission were new in last year's Saturn Aura sedan, which won the 2007 North American Car of the Year Award at the Detroit Auto Show.
Unlike the Chevy Tahoe and TrailBlazer, the Outlook doesn't use a truck chassis, so it offers a smoother ride, less weight and nimbler handling. Called a crossover by industry observers, its chassis is more like that of a car even though it offers the passenger and cargo capacity of a big SUV.
Outlook is only one inch shorter than the Tahoe, but offers much more legroom in the third row, thanks to its modern design: a long wheelbase and wide track, with short overhangs.
The Outlook offers comfortable seating for eight yet it gets an EPA-rated 18/26 miles per gallon City/Highway with front-wheel drive and 17/24 mpg with all-wheel drive. That's significantly better than what the truck-based SUVs get.
Although the Outlook is 13 inches longer than the Honda Pilot, it retails for about the same price. Compared with the Honda, the Outlook offers significantly more horsepower, transmission sophistication, and interior room, plus the latest in styling (although the Pilot will be redesigned for the 2008 model year).
The Outlook's acceleration is good, its ride solid and comfortable, and its transmission smooth. The interior shows much attention to detail, and the standard cloth seats are of a high quality and actually look stylish in black or gray.
All the latest safety bits come as standard equipment, including large airbag curtains that protect all three rows of seating, and a tire pressure monitor. Its base price is a relatively modest $28,000 in a FWD Outlook XE that's fairly well equipped, but many options are available that could jack the price way up.
The 2007 Saturn Outlook comes in two models, the XE and XR. Both use GM's new 3.6-liter V6 engine with variable valve timing, making a strong 270 horsepower in the XE and 275 horsepower in the XR, thanks to its dual exhaust; they use a new six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive comes standard, with all-wheel drive optional ($2000).
Standard equipment on the XE ($27,255) includes cloth seating for eight passengers, air conditioning, cruise control, power locks, windows and keyless entry, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS/EBD, OnStar for one year, 18-inch painted alloy wheels, driver information center, and an AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system with six speakers.
The XR ($29,555) adds 18-inch machined alloy wheels, foglamps, wood grain interior trim, power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, and universal garage door opener. Options include leather for the first two rows with heated front seats ($1275) and a navigation system ($2145).
Safety equipment on both models includes the anti-lock disc brakes, electronic stability control (StabiliTrak), dual-stage frontal airbags, side-impact airbags in front, huge full-length airbag curtains, and a tire pressure monitor. The Outlook has earned a five-star crash rating from NHTSA.
Options for both models include a 10-speaker sound system ($880), HID headlamps ($500), captain's chairs for the second row ($495), Preferred Package including power adjustable driver's seat and chrome roof rails ($505), Trailering Package including heavy-duty engine cooling system, harness and hitch ($425), DVD entertainment system ($1295), sunroof ($1300), 19-inch chrome wheels ($2029), crossbars for the roof rails ($213), remote starter ($235), XM satellite radio for one year ($199), and packages offering such things as a power liftgate and rear parking assist: a beeper, but no video camera.