Some people will go to any lengths to avoid driving a minivan. Armed with this knowledge, manufacturers have been scrambling to produce large crossovers Â– vehicles that offer minivan spaciousness, SUV styling and a carlike ride. The latest addition to this segment is the 2007 Saturn Outlook, an all-new crossover sport-utility vehicle that seats up to eight passengers.
The Outlook is definitely a plus-size vehicle; in terms of dimensions, it just about matches those of a Chevy Tahoe. Buyers have the choice of two trims. Opt for the base XE trim and you get standard features like power windows and locks, cruise control and an in-dash CD player. The more luxe XR trim offers amenities like an eight-way power driver seat, faux wood trim and dual-zone climate control.
The 2007 Saturn Outlook gets its juice from a choice of 3.6-liter V6s that generate 270 or 275 horsepower. The engines boast excellent power, torque and fuel economy, and offer exceptional smoothness. At over 4,700 pounds, the Outlook is no lightweight, but its handling is impressive. Slide behind the wheel and you would think you were piloting a considerably smaller vehicle.
Within the Outlook's doors lies an attractive, useful interior. The cabin offers a three-passenger, 60/40-split third-row bench seat; it's comfortable for two adults, but isn't recommended for three. Two second-row seating choices are available: a 60/40 split bench seat that seats three, or two captain's chairs. Standard on both configurations is an innovative new feature called Smart Slide that makes access to the third row a breeze. With the flick of a lever, the second-row seat cushion flips up while the seatback slides forward, thus widening the path for those hoping to find a seat in back. Class-leading cargo capacity is another Outlook asset. With the second and third rows folded, the ute holds an impressive 117 cubic feet.
The 2007 Saturn Outlook -- which shares a platform with the pricier GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave -- is a solid entry, but it's in a segment that features many strong contenders. The Honda Pilot is slightly more affordable and offers an impressive degree of overall competence. And though a couple grand more expensive than the Outlook, the sporty Mazda CX-9 offers a lot more fun behind the wheel. However, neither of these vehicles can match the Outlook when it comes to cargo capacity. If accommodating lots of cargo isn't a priority, we'd recommend taking a look at the Honda and the Mazda. But if you're looking for a family hauler that's versatile enough to take on even the bulkiest loads, the Saturn Outlook shines as a top choice.
The 2007 Saturn Outlook is a large crossover SUV that seats up to eight passengers. There are two trims: XE and XR. The base XE offers standard features like 18-inch wheels, full power accessories, heated exterior mirrors, cruise control, air-conditioning with a separate unit for the rear seat, OnStar and a CD/MP3 player. Step up to the XR trim and you get a trip computer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, an eight-way power driver seat, speed-proportional power steering, simulated wood trim throughout the cabin and dual-zone climate control. Options, depending on trim, include 19-inch wheels, a power liftgate, xenon headlights, a navigation system, keyless engine start, a premium audio system, a sunroof, second-row captain's chairs, a rear-seat DVD player, leather upholstery and rear park assist.
The Outlook offers a cabin that's both functional and pleasant to look at. The faux wood in XR models is convincing enough, and the overall quality of interior materials is impressive. One gripe concerns the size of the ute's control buttons. Many of the buttons are so small and/or similar that they're difficult to locate and operate.
Accessing the third row is easy, thanks to a feature called Smart Slide. This feature allows second-row seat cushions to flip up as the seatback slides forward, creating a wider path of entry for those seeking a perch in the rearmost row. Luggage capacity is 19.7 cubic feet. With the second and third rows folded, available cargo room swells to a class-leading 117 cubes.
The standard power plant for the Outlook XE is a 3.6-liter V6 rated at 270 hp and 248 pound-feet of torque. The XR model's dual rear exhaust helps boost the output slightly to 275 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent through a standard six-speed automatic transmission, and both trims are available as either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Saturn's largest SUV is capable of towing up to 4,500 pounds.
The 2007 Saturn Outlook doesn't aspire to be sporty and thus doesn't quite fall into the "fun to drive" camp, but it's not ponderous either; it handles with more confidence than you'd expect from a vehicle weighing more than 4,700 pounds. Ride quality is forgiving without being wallowy. Its 3.6-liter V6s are smooth at almost every rev range and deliver enough power to handle most performance demands with ease.
Standard safety features include rollover-sensing stability control, OnStar, a tire-pressure monitoring system, antilock disc brakes, front seat side impact airbags and full-length side-curtain airbags that protect all three rows.
The Saturn Outlook is an all-new crossover SUV that seats up to eight passengers.