Saturn's large Outlook crossover, introduced for 2007, can seat seven or eight. Available in two trim level designations — XE and XR with front- or all-wheel drive — the Outlook competes against the Ford Freestyle, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. Saturn made a number of additions for 2008, including a rear backup camera, Panic Brake Assist and a new all-wheel-drive system.
The Outlook is a nice-looking vehicle, free of the sliding doors that plagued the Relay and designed to look more like a sport utility vehicle than a van or wagon.
The Outlook is characterized by wedge-shaped side mirrors that, well, mirror the shape of the headlight clusters. They look like something you'd see on a concept car.
The Outlook has chrome door handles and bright 18-inch alloy wheels; 19-inch rims are optional. Where the XE has a single exhaust outlet, the XR has twins with slick, squared-off exhaust tips.
New exterior colors for 2008 include Garnet Red, Carbon Flash (which replaces Charcoal) and Platinum Ice, which will be available later in the model year and replace White Diamond.
The news inside the Outlook is a third row that's comfortable even for 6-foot-tall adults. Whether equipped with a three-passenger bench or twin captain's chairs, the second row features what Saturn calls Smart Slide: To ease third-row access, a single lever slides the second-row chair (or 60/40-split seat segment) forward. The trick is that the seat cushion springs upward, allowing the seat to move closer to the front row's backrests. It's some nifty engineering, but I can't say it makes getting into the third-row easy for adults.
The seats also adjust fore and aft to parcel out legroom where it's needed most. The second and third rows fold flat into the floor in a single motion. Considering how accommodating the third row is, there's decent cargo volume behind it, roughly 20 cubic feet. (Folding seats allow cargo and passenger areas to share space, but full seats often make for very little cargo room.) A bin under the cargo floor offers generous contiguous covered storage — not the pocket-here, pocket-there approach found in some vehicles. The maximum cargo volume with all seats folded is 117 cubic feet. A console with storage, cupholders and a 12-volt outlet will be available between the second row captain's chairs later in the model year. Also for 2008, the control for the rear wiper has been moved from the column-mounted windshield wiper stalk to the center console.
Interior options include leather upholstery, a fixed rear skylight separate from the front moonroof, a power liftgate, remote engine start, a DVD video system and a navigation system. XM Satellite Radio is now standard.
Under the Hood
The Outlook's sole engine is a 270-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6, which drives either the front or all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. The dual-exhaust XR model makes 275 hp. For 2008, all-wheel-drive models will feature an Active On Demand system that manages the torque split between the front and rear axles, putting more power to different axles as needed.
The Outlook includes dual-stage front airbags, front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags for torso protection and side curtain airbags that provide head protection for all three seat rows. The curtains are designed to deploy in a rollover, both to cushion occupants and prevent their ejection.
Antilock brakes are standard and now feature Panic Break Assist, which provides additional brake pressure when panic breaking is detected. Traction control, an electronic stability system and a tire pressure monitoring system are standard; sonar park assist is available.
For 2008, a rear backup camera is included with the navigation system.
OnStar comes standard, including one free year of Safe and Sound service, which alerts authorities in the event of a collision and provides crash data.