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2009 Saturn Outlook

Overview
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2009 Saturn Outlook Review

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The 2009 Saturn Outlook is part of a family of three-row crossover vehicles that include the Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia and Chevrolet Traverse. For most families, the Outlook offers all the relevant capability of GM's three-row, truck-based SUVs, but with better ride and handling, easier entry and exit and better fuel economy. The Outlook and its GM brethren appear poised for unprecedented success in a category pioneered by the now-defunct Chrysler Pacifica and still competitive Ford Taurus X, not to mention the all-new Ford Edge.

You'll Like This Car If...

Roomier than most midsize crossovers and more sensible (for many) than a full-size SUV, the comfortable, versatile and refined 2009 Saturn Outlook is a great family car.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Unless your family requires the added ruggedness of a truck-based SUV, the increased efficiency of something smaller or the volume of a minivan, the 2009 Saturn Outlook has few significant shortcomings.

What's New for 2009

A revised 3.6-liter engine produces more power this year, while new features include standard leather seating on XR trims, an available 5.1 Bose Cabin Surround Sound Audio system and a new rear backup camera for vehicles not equipped with a navigation view screen.

Driving the Outlook
Driving Impressions

As far as people movers of the 5,000-pound, eight-passenger variety are concerned, the 2009 Saturn Outlook ranks among the most satisfying we've driven. Merging onto the highway, the 281-horsepower V6...

... and smooth-shifting, six-speed automatic combine to deliver quiet and confident acceleration. Once at speed, the Outlook rides as smoothly as a large sedan while remaining controlled and responsive. On our longest drives we found the seats especially comfortable. Navigating intersections and parking lots is also pleasant, thanks in part to excellent steering and brake feel. Our biggest grumble – and it's a small one – is that the economy-tuned transmission can be reluctant to shift to the lower gears when you need a little extra acceleration.

Smart Slide Seat
With the pull of one lever, the second-row seat bottom flips up and the seatback slides forward, easing access to the Outlook's roomy third row.

Big Third-Row Seat
Unlike so many third rows that are best suited for small people and short trips, the Outlook's roomy back row doesn't feel at all like a penalty box.

2009 Saturn Outlook Details
2009 Saturn Outlook photo Interior

From the windshield to the tailgate, we found the 2009 Saturn Outlook's passenger cabin attractive and comfortable. Outlook XE models get metallic trim, XR models get wood-like trim: leather seating is standard in the XR and available on XE. Although there are some larger expanses of plastic up front, the quality is such that it isn't a distraction. The Outlook's most novel feature is the Smart Slide second-row seat that flips and slides in one motion to provide exceptionally easy access to the roomy third row. The second and third rows both fold flat for cargo, and the second-row seats recline for comfort. Even with the third row occupied, the Outlook still offers generous cargo room in back.

Exterior

Taller than a wagon and sleeker than an SUV, the 2009 Saturn Outlook is one of a growing number of crossover vehicles that actually look like crossover vehicles. GM has done a decent job in differentiating the Outlook and the GMC Acadia, and a knockout job in distinguishing the Buick Enclave from both. Up front, the Outlook's grille is dominated by a thick chrome bar that represents the new face of Saturn. XR models are distinguished by body-color side moldings (XE gets black moldings), standard roof rails, foglamps and a dual exhaust. Both models include 18-inch aluminum wheels as standard equipment.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Included as standard equipment on a base-level 2009 Saturn Outlook XE are a CD/MP3 sound system with an auxiliary audio jack, XM Satellite Radio, power windows/locks/mirrors, remote keyless entry, cruise control, 18-inch painted aluminum wheels, rear wiper/washer and Smart Slide second-row seats. Standard safety equipment includes front, front-side, and three-row side-curtain airbags, plus electronic stability and traction controls with rollover mitigation.

Optional Equipment

The 2009 Saturn Outlook's alluring options list includes a DVD-based navigation system with rear backup camera, separate back up camera with picture in rearview mirror feature, DVD rear entertainment system, six-disc CD/MP3 premium audio system, Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround Sound system, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity, rear parking sensors, leather seating, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, power liftgate, remote start, second-row captain's chairs, all-wheel drive and HID headlamps. A new Touring Package includes 20-inch wheels and rear fascia cut outs for dual exhaust.

Under the Hood

The 2009 Saturn Outlook's smooth and sophisticated 3.6-liter V6 features variable valve timing on both the intake and exhaust sides, as well as electronic throttle control. Thanks in part to its exclusive dual exhaust, the Outlook XR delivers seven more horsepower than the XE – which represents a power increase of less than two percent and a bigger advantage for the vehicle's marketers than its drivers. The six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and offers manual gear selection. The Outlook's "body-frame integral" architecture and fully independent suspension help deliver the car-like ride and handling not traditionally associated with such a large vehicle. The Outlook is available in front- or all-wheel drive.

3.6-liter V6
281 horsepower @ 6300 rpm (XE)
288 horsepower @ 6300 rpm (XR)
266 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400 rpm (XE)
270 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400 rpm (XR)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (FWD), 16/23 (AWD)

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