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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Apr 7, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


Saturn extended an invitation to review its newest vehicle, and I enthusiastically accepted. After all, they do produce vehicles that are both innovative and reliable. I say that not just as an automotive journalist or safety expert, but as a Saturn owner. My 2002 Saturn S-series sedan has nearly 110,000 miles on it and still runs perfectly. The vehicle being showcased is the Outlook, Saturn's new crossover SUV. Personally, I dislike the term "crossover" vehicle, although it would be a really cool name for a hearse. But, according to Wikipedia, crossover is a term primarily used by people in the automotive industry, so it appears as though I am obligated to continue using it as well. A crossover SUV is simply a cross between an automobile, minivan and/or sport utility vehicle. The staging area for today's event is the beautiful Hyatt Regency Newport Beach. As I descend into the parking lot from the main lobby, shiny new vehicles - some still being polished by a detailing team - are lined up and are ready to be driven by a select group of journalists from around the country. Now that I can see the Outlook, I am even more eager to get behind the wheel.

The exterior has a sleek, aerodynamic appearance. A distinctive grill and large lighting elements that Saturn describes as "jewel-like" give the front of the vehicle a sporty look. The appearance is further enhanced by chrome-highlighted tail lamps and 18-inch cast aluminum alloy wheels. The rear glass wraps around the corners and is angled toward the roof. Getting into the Outlook seems a little easier than in similar vehicles, thanks to a body frame design with lower step-in heights. Once inside, the interior has a stylish, contemporary look and a luxury car feel. This vehicle is certainly driver-friendly; all controls are conveniently placed within easy reach. The seating is quite comfortable, and the interior can be configured for seven or eight passengers based on your second row seating choice: a split bench seat for three or captain's chairs for two. GM's Smart Slide feature allows easy access to the third row seating area. Believe it or not, the third row does seat full-size adults comfortably and behind the third row seat there is a generous 19.7 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold the second and third row seats and that increases to an impressive 116.9 cubic feet! Our drive today takes us on a tour of Orange County, first on the streets, then on the freeway, and then on the not-so-free toll roads. Next comes a scenic drive through the canyons, followed by a brief stop at Caspers Wilderness Park in San Juan Capistrano, an 8,000 acre protected wilderness preserve. Finally, we will take a leisurely drive through the coastal community of Dana Point as we make our way back to Newport Beach.

The Outlook has plenty of power with a 267-horsepower V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine runs smoothly and quietly and, for the most part, I am enjoying the drive. I am a little disappointed, however, by a noticeable hesitation each time I accelerate. Otherwise, the vehicle drives and handles well. A long wheelbase and four-wheel independent steering provide a smooth, stable ride. Outlook is available in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Outlook models equipped with OnStar will feature OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation. Simply press a button and chat with an OnStar advisor who will send step-by-step driving directions that play through the vehicle's audio system and work in conjunction with GPS technology. As I return to the Hyatt Regency, I reflect on today's event. The drive has been quite enjoyable and it is a pleasure to meet representatives from Saturn who are truly enthused about this vehicle. Listening to them describe the new Outlook sounds like someone introducing a new member of the family, rather than merely describing a vehicle. With all the crossover vehicles on the market, and with more yet to come, how will the Outlook fare? I guess that is yet to be determined by consumers, but for a vehicle that combines the comfort of a car with the practicality of an SUV priced in the low to mid 30s, the new Saturn Outlook appears to be an exceptional value.

SUMMARY JUDGMENT Saturn's Outlook is looking good. For more information on Saturn products, go to 

SPECIFICATIONS Name of vehicle: 2007 Saturn Outlook Price: $27,255 (XE FWD)-$31,555 (XR AWD) Engine type: 3.6-liter aluminum DOHC 24-valve V-6 with variable valve timing Horsepower: 270 / 201 @ 6600 rpm w/ single exhaust* 275 / 205 @ 6600 rpm w/ dual exhaust* Torque (lb-ft / Nm): 248 / 336 @ 3200 rpm w/ single exhaust* 251 / 340 @ 3200 rpm w/ dual exhaust* EPA estimated miles per gallon (cith/highway): 18 / 26 / 23.4 (FWD) 17 / 25 (AWD) Recommended fuel: Regular unleaded Transmission type: Hydra-Matic 6T75 6-speed FWD/AWD automatic transmission Chassis/Suspension Front: Coil-over strut; direct acting stabilizer bar; full perimeter isolated cradle Rear: Linked H-arm independent suspension; coil springs with twin tube shock absorbers mounted on isolated sub-frame Brakes Type: 4-wheel disc Rotor diameter (in / mm): front: 12.8 x 1.1 / 325 x 29, ventilated rear: 13 x 0.8 / 331 x 20, ventilated Anti-lock braking system (ABS): Bosch 8.0 Chassis Controls: ABS / ETC / ESC w/rollover mitigation Wheels/Tires Wheel size and type: 18 x 7.5-in; cast aluminum (std) 19 x 8-in; cast aluminum (opt) Tire size and type: P255/65R18 ALS blackwall (std) P255/60R19 AL3 blackwall (opt) Dimensions Overall length (in / mm): 200.7 / 5097 Overall width (in / mm): 78.2 / 1986 Overall height (in / mm): 72.8 / 1846 (w/roof rails); 69.9 / 1775.5 (w/o roof rails) Curb weight (lb / kg): 4722 / 2142 (FWD) 4936 / 2239 (AWD) Min. ground clearance (in / mm): 7.4 / 189 (FWD and AWD) Max towing capacity (lb / kg): 4500 / 2041

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