In spite of being the same basic luxury SUV as several other General Motors vehicles, the 2009 Saturn Outlook is a truly sharp looking vehicle. Those other vehicles, by the way, are Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse and GMC Acadia. Aside from those, Outlook competes domestically with the new Dodge Journey, Mercury Mountaineer, Ford Edge and Taurus X, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Chrysler Aspen. Foreign competitors are Subaru Tribeca, Toyota Sequoia and Highlander, Honda Pilot, Nissan Murano and Pathfinder, Suzuki XL7, Kia Borrego and Mazda CX-9.
There are some knocks against the Outlook, including poor front legroom and a lower than average warranty - only 36 months or 36,000 miles.
Outlook has two trims: XE and XR, in ascending order. Both come with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Standard features on the Outlook include automatic headlights; power door locks; heated, power outside mirror; tilt, telescoping steering wheel with mounted controls; trip computer; CD player; hands free cell phone system; OnStar and second row folding seat. For just a little extra you can get a leather covered steering wheel; DVD player; premium sound system (sorry, no CD changer); second row sound control; navigation system; power, heated, front seats with power lumbar support and memory; leather seats; sunroof; running board; power rear door; and towing setup.
Outlook comes with a 3.6 liter V6 engine that has been upgunned this year to 281 horsepower for the XE and 288 horsepower for the XR. It's matched up with a six speed automatic transmission with overdrive. This combination gives Outlook a better than average for class fuel efficiency at seventeen mpg in the city and twenty-four mpg on the highway in the front-wheel drive configuration. With all wheel-drive the numbers are one mile per gallon less in each category.
Outlook also gets good marks for safety from NHTSA, with ratings of five-star all around for crash tests and four-star for rollover. That's as good as it gets for this type car. Safety features on the Outlook include a tire pressure monitor; child safety locks; vehicle anti-theft system; antilock brakes; traction and stability control; and airbags all around - all standard.
In spite of the few complaints, the truth is that the 2009 Saturn Outlook is a good looking, good quality vehicle, especially when it is considered as part of the General Motors "make a million cars and give them all different names" production plan. That's even truer when you realize that the base price, at $29,380, is about five thousand dollars below average for the class, which makes it competitive with the Traverse and cheaper than either of its other cousins.