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2007 Saturn Outlook EX AWD

—Bruce W. Smith

Saturn isn’t the first name that pops to mind when it comes to towing boats. The GM brand is usually equated with the hybrid Vue cross-overs, elegant Aura sedans, and sleek, sporty Sky roadsters—not tow vehicles.

But that has changed with the introduction of the 2007 Saturn Outlook. The Outlook is one of the new generation full-size cross-overs that fills the gap between full-size SUVs and minivans. It does that job quite well as we discovered during a recent trip between Miami and Key West, Florida, while towing a 20-foot ProLine 20 Sport.

This is the first full-size cross-over for Saturn, and it’s built on a brand new integrated body-frame design powered by a 275hp Cadillac 3.6L V-6 backed wwith a six-speed automatic. It seats up to eight (our Outlook seated seven with buckets seats in the first two rows and a split 60/40 bench in the third) and offers more cargo space than a Yukon or Tahoe.

We towed the ProLine behind an up-level XR model with all-wheel-drive. The 4,200-pound trailered-weight of the fishing package edged the Outlook’s 4,500-pound maximum tow rating, but it never upset the handling of the new Saturn. The Outllok’s handling reflexes stay just as sharp and precise loaded as they are when it’s unburdened.

The ride from the long (118.9”) wheelbase and four-wheel-independent suspension is remarkably stable and smooth, too.

Ride comfort is further enhanced by the Outlook’s interior layout. It’s airy and spacious—much like you’d expect in a large minivan. The interior fit and finish is well done, and with upgrades such as premium sound system, DVD player, navigation system, backup sensors and remote start you feel quite pampered.

You also feel very safe. Saturn incorporates Outlook is equipped with six standard air bags: two dual-stage frontal air bags for the driver and front passenger, two seat-mounted side-impact air bags in the first row and two head curtain side-impact air bags that cover all three seating rows. In addition, the new cross-over includes GM’s roll-over sensing system that inflates the side-impact air bags if they sense a roll-over is imminent.

One of the nicest features of the Outlook is the ease of access to the third row seats. Outlook incorporates GM’s industry-first Smart Slide system where all one needs is one hand to  flip up a second-row seat. When it does the seatback automatically slides forward opening up a wide entry to the rear seats. Smart Slide also allows for fore/aft positioning of the second-row seat. When adjusted rearward, the second-row seat provides more legroom for taller passengers; when adjusted forward, it provides more storage space.

Power delivery from the sophisticated Cadillac V-6 isn’t as strong as you’d find in a V-8 of similar horsepower. However, the Outlook’s smooth six-speed and class-leading fuel economy makes up for the lack of neck-jerking torque. EPA rates the AWD Outlook at 17/24mpg and 18/26 mpg for the front-wheel-drive models.

With a low step-in height, interior roominess, all-wheel-drive, a strong, fuel-efficient V-6, and edgy styling that evokes a strong upscale sense, the 2007 Saturn Outlook is going to attract a lot of recreational boaters looking for a multi-use tow vehicle.

SPECIFICATIONS

2007 SATURN OULOOK

Model Tested               XR AWD

Seating                         7 or 8

Base Price                    $31,555 (AWD XR)

Price As Tested            $40,444

Engine                          DOHC 3.6L VVT V-6

Horsepower                 275 @ 6600rpm

Torque                         251 lb/ft @ 3200rpm

Transmission                 6-spd auto

Suspension                   4-wheel independent

Wheelbase                   118.9”

Track F/R                    67.1”/67.1”

Turning Circle               40.4’

Curb Weight                 4936 lbs

Fuel Capacity               22 gals

EPA                             17/25 (city/hwy)

Towing Capacity          4500 lbs

(Link to full specifications: http://media.gm.com/us/saturn/en/product_services/r_cars/r_c_outlook/index.html#specs )    

 

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