Saturn Hopes Outlook Will Brighten Sales Outlook
- April 11, 2006
- New Model Introductions, Saturn
- Posted by George Peterson
- Comments Off on Saturn Hopes Outlook Will Brighten Sales Outlook
Saturn is Focused on Product
The 2007MY Outlook is an SUV/crossover vehicle that is one of the three new entries for the brand this model year. Clearly, Saturn is a major focus of General Motors’ product development efforts for 2007. The Saturn brand had become stagnant with mediocre products like the Ion, Vue and what was the name of that easily forgotten mid-size car. Even Saturn’s renowned sales experience could not make the brand desirable. Now, new products are on tap to save Saturn.
Though its name was confirmed in late 2005, Saturn’s new crossover was first unveiled at the 2006 New York auto show. Sales begin late in 2006, after a fourth-quarter production start. Buick showed its version as a concept ahead of the Saturn or the GMC Acadia, but the Buick Enclave will be the last to arrive. The Saturn and the GMC arrive for the 2007MY. These are the first examples of General Motors’ new Lambda architecture and promise to be a much needed success.
With the Outlook and other new products on tap for the brand, Saturn has the opportunity to revive its image with an expanded lineup featuring some, if not all, exciting and aggressively (for Saturn) styled vehicles. Saturn is finally getting the products it needs, expanding its line up by three for the 2007MY with the Outlook, Sky convertible, and Aura sedan. The Sky is already on sale, though the 260HP Red Line version is new at New York. AutoPacific and VehicleVoice correspondents are here in New York to catch the reveal of these new Saturn products in person.
Outlook Sports New Saturn Look, Competitive Package.
Outlook takes design cues from the Saturn Sky sports car such as the bright grille bar and large, jewel-like headlights. (Projector-beam lights are standard and high-intensity discharge optional.) Eighteen-inch wheels and tires are standard, with nineteens optional. Taillights get a chrome surround and a rear spoiler is standard. The exterior offers a well-done soft SUV look, somewhat reminiscent of the Volvo XC90. This new look should improve Saturn’s image in the styling department. Inside, the Outlook gets a carlike instrument panel set further away from the passengers for a more open feel.
In the powertrain department, a 3.6L DOHC 24v V6 delivering in the neighborhood of 265HP and mated to a six-speed automatic transmission is the combination set up to move this 4722-pound vehicle (4936 pounds when AWD is ordered.)
Seating is available for seven or eight passengers (depending on whether second row is buckets or 60/40-split bench seat), and GM claims plenty of room for adults in the last row. Access to the third row is facilitated by a system that GM calls Smart Slide and calls an industry first. The second-row seat cushion flips up and the seatback slides forward, and operation is intended to be an easy one-hand effort. This also allows the second row to slide fore and aft to give third-row passengers more legroom if needed. Saturn also claims more cargo space behind the third row (19.7 cubic feet) than others can manage.
The convenience features on the options list include those offered on most SUV and minivan products currently. Saturn will offer ultrasonic parking assist, power liftgate, remote vehicle start, heated windshield wiper fluid, DVD entertainment system, and a DVD navigation system. Aside from the new approach to accessing the third row, the interior package is pretty typical of SUV products. Innovation aside, the Outlook initially appears more on target with the demands of today’s buyers than the compromised Relay.
Saturn boasts that Outlook’s naturally low center of gravity and wide stance reduces the chances of a rollover. Six airbags are standard, including head curtain side airbags that cover all three rows. The Outlook incorporates GM’s rollover-sensing system, which activates the side-impact airbags if a rollover is imminent. If a rollover happens, the airbags stay inflated longer. OnStar is also standard. Among the options offered will be an ultrasonic parking assist. Outlook launches, as with the interior, a fairly standard safety package.