2007 Saturn Outlook Review

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Jim Burt Jim Burt Editor
December 17, 2006

Saturn has a new spin on the minivan and mid-size SUV.

The Saturn Outlook is one of three declared General Motors full-size SUVs, which comes as the company has decided to cancel out its moribund minivans, and will soon probably announce no replacements for the venerable mid-size Chevy TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy SUVs.

While replacing two segments with one line of new vehicles may sound like a risky gambit, drivers of the Outlook will soon realize that they won’t be missing much in life without an Envoy or Chevy Uplander.

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The Outlook, which is joined in GM’s stable with the Buick Enclave and GMC Acadia (a Chevy is said to be on the way) is not only the best designed, running, and packaged big crossover/minivan/mid-size SUV the automaker has ever kicked out of its product system, it also skunks the current competition from Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota among vehicles that have standard or optional three rows of seats. Though, for this discussion, I will exempt Chrysler’s, Toyota’s, and Honda’s minivans as vehicles that some people just won’t do without for certain kid-friendly design reasons.

Pretty is as pretty does

2001 Mercury Mountaineer

2001 Mercury Mountaineer

Walk around the Saturn Outlook from the outside, poke around the inside, and then drive the new SUV, and one is struck by the design and packaging harmony created by a design and product development system made over in recent years by vice chairman Bob Lutz. There are no visible flaws or compromises to gripe about. The interior details and execution is at parity with standard-bearer Volkswagen. Attention to detail is obvious. The Outlook, among the so-called Lambda-platform SUVs, are arguably the first high-volume vehicles to be produced from an absolutely clean sheet of paper under Lutz. The design, platform, engine, and transmission are all new. Memo to GM: More like this.
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