NEW FOR 2008:

– Navigation radio includes rear backup camera
– Panic Brake Assist added
– Second-row console available with captain’s chairs
– Rear wiper control moved from washer stalk to centre stack
– Seven-seat cloth seating configuration available on XE
– Exterior colours: Garnet Red, Carbon Flash and Platinum Ice added; Charcoal and White Diamond deleted

An all-new model in 2007, the Saturn Outlook receives some tweaks for 2008, including a rear back-up camera in the optional navigation radio, and a streamlining of the previously overly-complicated washer stalk.

A sibling to the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave, the Outlook seats up to eight people, is available in front- or all-wheel drive configurations, and uses a 3.6-litre V6 with variable valve timing, mated to a Hydra-Matic six-speed automatic transmission. Two horsepower ratings are available: the XE makes 270 hp, while the dual-exhaust-equipped XR produces 275 hp.

Features on the XE include 18-inch aluminum wheels, front and rear air conditioning, privacy glass, heated mirrors, keyless entry, rear spoiler, intermittent front and rear wipers, under-floor cargo storage, cruise control, floor mats, power windows, tilt and telescopic wheel, eight-passenger seating with second-row sliding 60/40 bench and 60/40 third-row bench, CD stereo, automatic headlamps, and OnStar.

The XR adds dual-zone automatic climate control, heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, roof rails, garage door opener, driver information centre, auto-dimming rear-view mirror with compass, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, eight-way power driver’s seat, rear seat audio, variable-assist power steering, fog lamps, and XM Satellite Radio.

Depending on the model, available options include Xenon headlamps, remote starter, heated washer fluid system, power liftgate, rear parking assist, navigation system, rear-seat DVD entertainment system and seven-passenger seating with second-row captain’s chairs.

The least expensive of its GMC and Buick siblings, the Outlook is roomy and extremely comfortable in the first two rows, and while the third-row cushions are flat and firm, there’s still a lot of legroom. The second-row seats slide fore or aft to maximize legroom depending on the number of passengers, and the seats move easily for convenient access to all rows. Performance is good, as is the fit and finish: this is a very good choice for a family hauler.

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