The popular crossover includes many enhancements for 2009, including an interim model year increase in maximum towing capacity from 4,500 pounds (2045 kg) to 5,200 pounds (2364 kg).** Others include standard leather seating on the uplevel XR model and, for the first time, available leather seating on XE. Cabin comfort and convenience enhancements include OnStar with Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and a choice of two available Bose audio systems: the Bose 5.1 Cabin Surround system with DVD, or a non-surround Bose audio system.
The Outlook is available in two models, XE and XR, and in both front-wheel- and all-wheel-drive configurations.
INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR
The Outlook's cabin is both functional and pleasing to the eye. The faux wood in XR models is convincing enough, and the overall quality of interior materials is impressive. However, many of the buttons on the dashboard are a bit too small and similar-looking, making them hard to find and operate.
The first- and second-row seats are comfortable and can easily fit children or adults. The third row might not feel as roomy as a minivan, but it still offers more space than the average crossover SUV. Access to rear seating is easy thanks to the second row's "Smart Slide" feature, which flips the cushions up as the seatback slides forward, creating a wide path of entry. Cargo capacity is 24 cubic feet with all seats up, and a class-leading 117 cubic feet with all rear seats down.
The 2009 Saturn Outlook is a large crossover SUV with seating for up to eight passengers. There are two trim lines: XE and XR. The base XE features 18-inch wheels, full power accessories, heated exterior mirrors, cruise control, air-conditioning with rear controls, OnStar, an MP3/CD player and satellite radio. The XR adds roof rails, foglights, variable-effort power steering, a power driver seat, leather seating, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with remote audio controls, wood-grain interior trim, dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and Bluetooth.
Options, depending on the trim level, include xenon headlights, a dual-pane sunroof, a power liftgate, remote engine start, rear parking sensors, premium audio systems, a rear DVD entertainment system and a navigation system with a back-up camera and real-time traffic updates. Other options include front seat heaters, a power passenger seat and driver memory positioning. If you order second-row captain's chairs, seating capacity drops to seven but you gain an optional center console between the seats. In addition, many of the XR's standard features can be added to the base model. A variety of wheel choices and sizes are also available, including optional 20-inch wheels on XR trims.
2011 Saturn Outlooks are available with a new direct injection 3.6-liter DOHC V-6 engine with variable valve timing. ConsumerGuide proclaims acceleration is "surprisingly strong for a large, heavy vehicle with a V-6 engine," and they note the 2009 Saturn Outlook is "particularly impressive in highway merging and passing." Motor Trend observes that the V-6 "pours respectable torque on any acceleration occasion," while Kelley Blue Book feels that "the 2011 Saturn Outlook ranks among the most satisfying" crossovers they've ever driven. In terms of acceleration, Car and Driver advises drivers to "expect the trip to 60 mph to take about eight seconds."
Other reviewers point out that the 2011 Saturn Outlook is fit for towing, and Edmunds states that when "properly equipped, the Outlook is capable of towing up to 5,200 pounds." The new V-6 outputs 281 horsepower with 253 pound-feet of torque in XE models and 288 horsepower with 270 pound-feet of torque in XR models, an increase over last year’s "3.6-liter V-6 rated at 270 hp and 248 pound-feet of torque" on the Saturn Outlook XE, while "the XR model's dual rear exhaust boosts those numbers to 275 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque,
The 2009 Saturn Outlook scores incredibly well in crash tests, and it offers some tantalizing safety features—important factors for a vehicle geared toward families who rate safety at the top of their lists when considering the purchase of a new vehicle.In both driver- and passenger-side front-impact tests, the 2009 Saturn Outlook scored a perfect five-star rating from the federal government. In addition to the impeccable front impact ratings, the Saturn Outlook also earned a perfect five-star rating in both side impact tests conducted by NHTSA. The only category where the Saturn Outlook didn't earn a perfect score was in rollover protection, where the Saturn Outlook received four out of five stars. From the IIHS, the Outlook garnered a top "good" rating in both the side-impact and seat-based rear-impact tests.
For such a large vehicle, the 2009 Saturn Outlook offers impressive visibility, with the notable exception of parking maneuvers. ConsumerGuide says that the Saturn Outlook offers "fine outward visibility thanks to big mirrors and unobtrusive rear headrests," and Cars.com adds, "rear visibility is fair, especially if the third row's head restraints are folded forward." Though the view directly to the back is a bit compromised, the Saturn Outlook makes up for that with "sonar rear parking." Then again, Cars.com points out that the sonar "pales in comparison to a rearview camera, which some competitors offer."
automatic transmission can be sluggish with downshifts, the new V6's additional power should be enough to pull the Outlook through during demanding driving.