2008 Saturn Outlook SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Saturn Outlook SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Saturn Outlook Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.6 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 275 hp @ 6600 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Saturn Outlook

  • With its pleasant ride, comfortable seating in all three rows and spacious cargo hold, the 2008 Saturn Outlook offers a mix of comfort and versatility rarely found in SUVs.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Smooth ride, easy access to all seats, plenty of room for people or cargo, above-average towing capacity.

  • Cons

    Small dashboard buttons aren't user-friendly, transmission can be slow to downshift.

  • What's New for 2008

    Following its debut last year, the 2008 Saturn Outlook simply gains satellite radio as standard equipment. New options include a 115-volt power outlet, a second-row floor console for seven-passenger models and a rearview back-up camera.

Full 2008 Saturn Outlook Review

What's New for 2008

Following its debut last year, the 2008 Saturn Outlook simply gains satellite radio as standard equipment. New options include a 115-volt power outlet, a second-row floor console for seven-passenger models and a rearview back-up camera.


Upon its debut last year, the Saturn Outlook immediately stood out as something to pay attention to, at least in the world of crossover SUVs. Here was a multi-passenger Saturn that was appealing on the basis of its own virtues and not reliant on the old gimmicks like dent-resistant panels or no-haggle pricing. Like many SUVs today, the Outlook is a fully modern, car-based crossover that's designed to blend the friendly driving traits of a car with the stylish shell of a sport-utility. What's more, the Outlook's sizable dimensions place it at the large end of the crossover spectrum, and that means it can potentially serve as a minivan replacement as well.

In fact, the 2008 Saturn Outlook might be the best hope for minivan-averse families. The Outlook seats up to eight people, and there's enough room for the ones in the rearmost row to be full-grown adults. The space advantage also extends to cargo carrying, where the Outlook's 117 cubic feet of maximum volume dwarfs the 90-something found in most competitors. If that's not enough, the Outlook also trumps the competition in regards to maximum towing capacity.

Thankfully, all that utility doesn't result in an unpleasant daily drive. While the Outlook is far from exciting to pilot, there's enough performance to get the job done. GM's 270-horsepower V6 engine gives decent pickup (0-60 mph in 8.2 seconds) and its six-speed automatic shifts smoothly. The steering is numb, but the Outlook handles with ease and delivers a comfortable ride on its fully independent suspension. Additionally, buyers living in less friendly climates have the option of ordering all-wheel drive.

Before settling on the Outlook, be mindful that it's up against some tough competition. The recently introduced Mazda CX-9, redesigned Toyota Highlander and well-regarded Honda Pilot are highly competent all-around picks in this class, and the value-priced Ford Taurus X rivals the Outlook for interior comfort. Additionally, style-conscious shoppers should also be aware of this Saturn's two closely related siblings, the slightly pricier GMC Acadia and the more upscale Buick Enclave. Even alongside its highly qualified peers, the 2008 Saturn Outlook is a prime choice, especially for bigger families or those with lots of gear to haul.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Saturn Outlook is a large crossover SUV with seating for seven or eight passengers. There are two trim lines: XE and XR. The base XE offers standard features like 18-inch wheels, full power accessories, heated exterior mirrors, cruise control, air-conditioning with rear controls, GM's OnStar service, an MP3-compatible CD player and satellite radio. The XR adds roof rails, foglights, variable-effort power steering, a power driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with remote audio controls, wood-grain interior trim, dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a trip computer and a garage door opener.

Options, depending on the trim level, include 19-inch wheels, xenon headlights, a dual-pane sunroof, a power liftgate, remote engine start, rear parking sensors, premium audio systems, a rear DVD entertainment system and a navigation system with a back-up camera. Comfort features include leather first- and second-row seats (with a vinyl third row), front seat heaters, a power passenger seat and driver memory positioning. If you order second-row captain's chairs, seating capacity drops to seven but you gain an optional center console between the seats.

Powertrains and Performance

The standard power plant on the Outlook XE is a 3.6-liter V6 rated at 270 hp and 248 pound-feet of torque. The XR model's dual rear exhaust boosts those numbers to 275 hp and 251 lb-ft of torque. Power is sent through a standard six-speed automatic transmission, and both trims are available as either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Properly equipped, the Outlook is capable of towing up to 4,500 pounds.


Standard safety features include antilock brakes, rollover-sensing stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side-curtain airbags and GM's OnStar service. In crash tests, the 2008 Saturn Outlook scored an optimal five out of five stars in both front- and side-impact evaluations conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Outlook's cabin is both functional and pleasing to the eye. The faux wood in XR models is convincing enough, and the overall quality of interior materials is impressive. However, many of the buttons on the dashboard are a bit too small and similar-looking, making them hard to find and operate.

The first- and second-row seats should be comfortable for almost anyone. The third row may not match the best minivans, but it still offers enough space for most adults to fit fine -- more than can be said of the third rows in other crossover SUVs. Additionally, access is easy thanks to the second row's "Smart Slide" feature, which flips the cushions up as the seatback slides forward, creating a wide path of entry. Luggage capacity is 19.7 cubic feet with all seats up and a class-leading 117 cubic feet with all rear seats down.

Driving Impressions

While the 2008 Saturn Outlook doesn't fall anywhere near the fun-to-drive camp, it's easy and pleasant to drive, especially considering the vehicle's size and 4,700-pound curb weight. Ride quality is forgiving without being wallowy. The economy-minded six-speed automatic transmission can be sluggish with downshifts, but the V6's 275 hp is sufficient for dealing with nearly all performance demands.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Transmission needs to be recalled!!!!!!!!

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Saturn Outlook XE 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

Sudden acceleration, hard shifting, not catching gears, slight hesitation when shifting gears is a few. It would usually work fine after pulling over and restarting the car. As time went by the car would not go out of first gear at times. It never lasted long enough to get it a half hour away to GM. I attempted to and by the time I arrived the light went off and it would be fine. Months later we had to have it towed in. AT 84,OOO MILES! two weeks later I received a call telling me what I already knew...that the 35 WAVE PLATE and VALVE CONTROL MODULE in my transmission needed replaced. Same problem EVERYONE IS HAVING w this car. Its a major flaw that needs to be RECALLED!!!!!

Outlook transmission failure

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Saturn Outlook XR 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

Over all car is "okay". Transmission has serious problems. Had to be rebuilt at 58k miles, control module replaced at 111k, speed sensor at 115k, and now looking at another rebuild at 141k. Vehicle is unreliable and I would defiantly not recommend it. GM quality is long gone, never buy another.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Great car as long as

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Saturn Outlook XR 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

Our 2008 Outlook has 46000 miles on it and we are having to have the engine torn down. The dreaded timing chain problem that GM claims doesn't exist in the 2008 model DOES EXIST! For some crazy reason GM has extended the timing chain warranty on every other year of this vehicle except 2008. Our last GM had cronic problems as well but not this bad. Honestly I love the vehicle but GM has lost this customer. I am so disgusted.

Nice looks, poor quality

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Saturn Outlook XR 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

The Outlook looks very nice. This is the reason my wife and I decided to purchase this vehicle. We didn't know they had lots of problems. Have had wheel bearings go bad at only 65,000 miles. Have leaks around the sunroof, back rotors replaced, various exterior lights not working, and now at 74000 miles the transmission is bad. This is very common with this vehicle. Buyers beware, do plenty of research first. I'm only writing this to help others out so they don't find themselves in the same situation I'm in. Go with a newer Ford or Honda --- trust me. You don't want a vehicle from a company that had to get the bailout.

Transmission troubles

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Saturn Outlook XR 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

Just recently having transmission trouble. The problem is that it will not engage into drive or reverse. It just sits and revs up in any gear. I have not did anything with the car yet. Hoping someone can help me contact G.M. and get some help as I cannot afford the expense that most others have went through to get the trans fixed.

No longer gm customer

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Saturn Outlook XE 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 6A)

The Outlook looks great inside and out, unfortunately mechanicly the vehicle is garbage. I have spent more money in 11 months of ownership on my 08 Outlook than I have in my last three vehicles combined. My next SUV will be a non GM product.

Talk About The 2008 Outlook

2008 Saturn Outlook Discussions See all Started By

I purchased a 2008 Saturn Outlook with just under 50,000 miles in July 2014. Right after purchasing my "new to me" SUV we took it on a trip to FL (from KY). During the trip I noticed that ...

Friday, 4/4/14: I have read many of the posts about this issue on this site. Didn't know this was such a widespread problem until I started doing my internet research today. Obviously there are many o...

I have owned my Saturn Outlook XR (2008) for a short 2 months. My a/c stopped working about 3 weeks ago. Replaced the blower motor and air would then blow again but the a/c still does not work. Had a ...

Read more about the 2008 Saturn Outlook

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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