Midsize SUV; Built in USA
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $13,000 – $23,000*

2008 Saturn Outlook

2008 Saturn Outlook

2008 Saturn Outlook

2008 Saturn Outlook

  • Cargo room
  • Control layout
  • Quietness
  • Ride
  • Seat comfort
  • Fuel economy

Impressive overall, Saturn’s Outlook is a Best Buy based on its spacious cargo and passenger accommodations (close to large-SUV class); refined, responsive drivetrain; and car-like driving experience. Aggressive new-car pricing added to its initial appeal. So did Saturn’s strong reputation for customer service. On the downside, Outlook is nearly as long as a genuine full-size SUV, which impedes maneuverability. Relatively slow depreciation tends to keep used-vehicle prices slightly above average.


Outlook was the first sport-utility vehicle from General Motors’ Saturn division to offer eight-passenger capacity. This four-door midsize “crossover” wagon shared a new car-type platform with the GMC Acadia–also new for 2007. Outlooks could have either front-wheel or all-wheel drive (the latter without low-range gearing). Base XE and uplevel XR trim levels were offered. Both had a 3.6-liter V6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission. XEs had a 270-horsepower version; XRs, 275-hp.

Standard seating was for eight, using second- and third-row bench seats. XRs offered optional second-row buckets for seven-passenger seating. All Outlooks had GM’s Smart Slide second-row seats, designed to allow easier access to the third row. Antilock braking and an antiskid system with rollover sensors were standard. Traction control was standard on 2WD models. Front side airbags and curtain side airbags that covered all seating rows and included rollover deployment were standard. Remote engine start and DVD entertainment were available. Leather upholstery and heated front seats were exclusive XR options. Outlook competitors included the Chrysler Pacifica, Ford Freestyle, and Honda Pilot.

Yearly Updates

2008 Outlook
Several new features went into 2008 Outlooks. Panic Brake Assist and XM satellite radio became standard. All-wheel-drive models got a new “Active On Demand” AWD system. A rear obstacle detection system was now available in both XE and XR models. The available rearview camera now included a navigation system. GM’s Buick division launched a related Enclave for 2008.
2009 Outlook
XEs now had 281 hp, XRs 288, a bump of 11 and 13 hp, respectively. Newly available was a wireless cell-phone link. Rear-obstacle detection was available on both XE and XR, and a rearview camera was now available on all models, including those without a navigation system. The available navigation system now included real-time traffic updates.
2010 Outlook
Outlook was discontinued after a short production run.


transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Only one powertrain has been offered in the Outlook: a 3.6-liter V6 engine rated at 270 horsepower (275 hp in XR models), driving a six-speed automatic transmission. Outlooks may have front- or all-wheel drive.

dohc V61
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.6/217
Engine HP 270-275
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 248-251
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed automatic


1. EPA Note: Figures shown are for 2008 models. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years.

Road Test

Acceleration is impressively strong for a large, heavy V6 vehicle–especially in highway merging and passing. Smooth, quick transmission shifts contribute to the powertrain’s polished performance.

Fuel economy trails some rivals. A test 2WD XE averaged 16.0 mpg in mostly city driving. An AWD XR averaged 17.5 mpg with more highway use. Outlooks use regular-grade gasoline.

Ride quality ranks as firm, but Outlooks are comfortably composed and devoid of sloppy motions. Larger bumps are noticeable, though they’re heard more than felt. Handling is impressive for a vehicle this size. Body lean is well controlled. Accurate steering has a natural, progressing feel. Outlook’s sheer size, coupled with a rather large turning circle, become a minor hindrance in tight-quarters maneuvering.

Outlooks are generally hushed, though broken pavement can induce body drumming. The V6 engine is muted in routine driving, but growls pleasantly under full throttle.

Gauges are large, clear, and conveniently backlit, even with headlights off. Logically-placed controls include an intuitive audio deck. Interiors combine soft-touch surfaces with hard plastic to overall good effect, though some test-drivers have noted that fabric upholstery lacks quality feel. One test vehicle suffered an intermittent rattle from beneath the front floor.

Among the largest midsize SUVs, Outlook’s cabin feels especially roomy, with supportive front seats. High step-in is actually lower than in most truck-type SUVs. Fine outward visibility is aided by large mirrors and unobtrusive rear headrests, though views to front corners are obscured by thick front roof pillar bases.

Outlook’s second-row bench seat affords ample headroom and legroom, though some testers have declared thigh support lacking. The Smart Slide second-row seat has a typical folding action. Some testers found it confusing at first, though it quickly becomes routine. Seatbacks and cushion slide forward with an effective scissor action, though it requires more than one step to return to position. Rear access is tight but workable. Third-row accommodations are far better than many large SUVs and adult-adequate for even mid-distance trips.

Cargo space is a high point, with ample room behind the third row, which folds easily to create a near-flat load floor. Second-row seatbacks also fold easily. Extra small-item storage is available in the handy under-floor compartment. Generally good cabin storage includes a large glovebox, multilevel console bin, and roomy door pockets. Some testers considered the console bin too small for a vehicle this size.


Model Tested: 2008 Outlook XR w/AWD

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 5
Fuel Economy - 4
Ride Quality - 6
Steering/Handling - 5
Quietness - 7


Controls/Materials - 7
Room/Comfort Front - 9
Room/Comfort Rear - 7
Cargo Room - 10


Value - 10

Total: 70


4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
118.9 200.7 78.2 72.8
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
117.0 22.0 8
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
40.4 39.3 41.3 36.9
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 Saturn Outlook 4-door wagon


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Front Passenger Injury - 5

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
Rear Passenger Injury - 5


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Description: The power doors unlock when the transmission is shifted into Park on the SLE model, but this default can be changed through software programming. (2007-10)
Keyless entry
Description: The remote keyless entry key fob may quit working and will require relearning between the RKE and the vehicle. (2007-08)
Audio system
Description: When using a portable music player (e.g. iPod) there may be noise in the car’s speakers whenever the vehicle’s power adapter is used and a ground loop isolator (from Radio Shack) is required between the device and the power outlet to prevent the noise. (2007-08)
Description: The manual seat adjuster had rough operation, binds or sticks or will not adjust requiring improved mooting and filing the seat tracks. (2007-10)
Suspension noise
Description: Popping and squawking noises from front suspension caused by strut boot interference. (2007)
Vehicle noise
Description: Clunk during turns caused by bad bushings in steering gear for which there are improved components. (2007-10)
Vehicle noise
Description: A chirping or clicking sound from the engine compartment may be due to the fan(s) hitting the fan shroud which becomes distorted. (2008-10)
Water leak
Description: Water may drip from the dome light, especially if the vehicle is parked downhill in the rain, because the sunroof drains may not be adequate of the drain hose(s) may have separated. (2007-08)
Water leak
Description: The headliner may get wet or water may drip into the cabin due to a problem with the sunroof gasket. (2007-09)
Electrical problem
Description: The power locks, cruise control, shift interlock and other accessories may not work; the engine may not go over 4,000 rpm and the check engine light may come on in cool temperatures(32-50 degrees F) after cold soak due to a problem with the transmission control module. (2007)
Description: The DVD monitors in the front seat headrests may quit working because the video feed cable comes loose requiring installation of cable clamps. (2007-08)
Check-engine light
Description: The check engine light comes on, accompanied by numerous trouble codes, due to timing chains stretching on the 3.7L V6 engine. (2007)

Recall History

2007 Outlook
Description: Sensing and diagnostic module, which controls front airbags, may not operate properly, causing airbags to fail to deploy.
Description: Recall affects vehicles currently or previously registered in the following states: Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia. If a buildup of snow or ice on the windshield or on the wipers restricts the movement of the wiper arm, the windshield wiper linkage may become detached from the motor shaft and the wipers may become inoperative. If this were to occur, driver visibility could be reduced, which could result in a vehicle crash. Dealers will install a new wiper crank arm, driver’s side link, and a crank arm nut.
2007-09 Outlook equipped with a heated wiper washer fluid system
Description: A short circuit on the printed circuit board for the washer fluid heater may overheat the control-circuit ground wire. This may cause other electrical features to malfunction, create an odor, or cause smoke, increasing the risk of a fire. Dealers will install a wire harness with an in-line fuse free of charge.
Description: Some vehicles may fail to conform to the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 209, ‘Seat Belt Assemblies.’ These vehicles may have been built with a safety belt buckle in the second or third row that is missing a rivet, increasing the risk of injury to passengers involved in a crash. Dealers will inspect the safety belt buckles in the second and third rows, and replace them if necessary.
Description: The transmission shift cable adjustment clip may not be fully engaged, so shift lever might not coincide with actual position of transmission gear.
Description: The second row seat side trim shield restricts the upward rotation of the safety belt buckle when the seat back is returned to a seating position after being folded flat. The safety belt may not restrain the occupant as intended during a crash, increasing the risk of injury to the seat occupant. Dealers will modify the second row seat side trim shields. If a safety belt buckle is damaged, dealers will replace it free of charge.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.


Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.