2009 OUTLOOK New Car Test Drive
The Saturn Outlook is a smooth-riding crossover SUV with a powerful 3.6-liter V6 engine and a smooth six-speed transmission. It seats up to eight. It comes standard with front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available for more stability in foul weather.
Called a crossover because it straddles the line between car and truck, the Outlook offers the passenger and cargo capacity of a big SUV with ride quality and fuel economy more like that of a car. While a Chevrolet Tahoe is built on a pickup truck platform, the Outlook is built with a unit-body chassis like that of a car. As a result, it offers a smoother ride and nimbler handling. And because its structure is much lighter than that of a truck (by about 600 pounds), it gets much better fuel economy.
Outlook is only one inch shorter than the Tahoe, but offers much more legroom in the third row, thanks to its front-wheel-drive layout, as well as its long wheelbase with short overhangs and wide track.
Outlook gets an EPA-rated 17/24 miles per gallon City/Highway with front-wheel drive and 16/23 mpg with all-wheel drive. That's significantly better than what many truck-based SUVs get.
We found the Outlook offers good acceleration performance, a smooth transmission, and a solid and comfortable ride. The Outlook benefits from GM's latest 3.6-liter V6 engine with variable valve timing and, for 2009, direct injection. It’s rated at 281 horsepower in the XE and 288 horsepower in the XR, thanks to its dual exhaust. Its six-speed automatic transmission provides good flexibility for good fuel efficiency and responsive performance.
The interior shows attention to detail, and the standard cloth seats are of a high quality and look stylish even in gray or black.
All the latest safety bits come as standard equipment, including large curtain airbags that protect the outboard passengers in all three rows of seating.
With lots of passenger and cargo space, teamed with pleasant ride and handling, the Outlook makes a lot of sense for families. In fact, it is a far better choice than a large, thirsty truck-based SUV for anyone who doesn’t need the excess towing capacity.
In addition to the engine upgrades, the 2009 Outlook adds some new available equipment. New features include a Bluetooth wireless cell phone link, real-time traffic information for the navigation system, a Bose surround sound audio system, and 20-inch wheels. A rear-view camera that projects its image on the rearview mirror is also new. And maximum towing capacity is upped from 4500 to 5200 pounds.
The 2009 Saturn Outlook comes in two models, XE and XR, each with front-wheel-drive (2WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). Both models have a 3.6-liter V6 engine. It makes 281 horsepower in the XE and 288 horsepower in the XR, which adds dual exhaust. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard.
Outlook XE ($30,625) and XE AWD ($32,625) come with cloth upholstery, front and rear air conditioning, three-passenger 60/40 split second-row bench seat, three-passenger 60/40 split third-row bench seat, cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power mirrors, power locks, power windows, remote keyless entry, one year of OnStar Assistance, one year of XM Satellite Radio, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with six speakers, outside temperature display, automatic headlights, rear spoiler, and P255/65R18 tires on painted alloy wheels.
Options exclusive to XE consist of a Preferred package ($870) with a leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, an eight-way power driver’s seat, heated power mirrors with integrated turn signals, a Bluetooth wireless cell phone link, bodyside moldings, and roof rails; and a Premium Trim package ($1675) with leather upholstery and heated front seats.
Outlook XR ($34,450) and XR AWD ($36,450) add leather upholstery, heated front seats, eight-way power driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment, dual-zone automatic climate control, wood grain interior trim, power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls, auto-dimming rearview mirror, compass, heated exterior mirrors with turn signals, universal garage door opener, trip computer, Bluetooth wireless cell phone link, roof rails, and fog lights.
Options exclusive to XR include an Enhanced Convenience package ($690) with a four-way power front passenger seat, memory for the driver’s seat and mirrors, power-folding auto-dimming driver’s side mirror, and automatic up/down front windows; a Touring package ($1345) with chrome exhaust tips, P255/55R20 tires and polished alloy wheels; a navigation system ($2340) with real-time traffic information and a rearview camera; HID headlights ($500); and a second-row center console ($300).
Options for both models include a Bose surround sound audio package ($860 XR, $935 XE) with nine speakers, rear radio controls, a 115-volt power outlet and, for XE, dual-zone automatic climate control; a Convenience package ($970 XE, $1370 XR) with rear park assist, a rearview camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote engine starting, heated washer fluid, and, for XR, a power liftgate; an Outdoor Adventure package ($1085) with a cargo mat, side steps, mud guards, and a roof rack; second-row captain's chairs ($495); a Trailering package ($495) including a heavy-duty engine cooling system, harness and hitch; a rear DVD entertainment system ($1295); a dual-panel sunroof ($1400); 19-inch chrome wheels ($2029), crossbars for the roof rails ($213), remote engine starting ($260); and a rear cargo cover ($130).
Safety equipment on both models includes dual-stage frontal airbags, side-impact airbags in front, full-length side curtain airbags with rollover deployment, tire-pressure monitor, ABS with Brake Assist, traction control, and StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover mitigation. The optional rear park assist and rearview camera enhance safety when backing up. All-wheel drive improves safety in wintry conditions. The Outlook has earned five-star front and side crash ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.