Acadia Vs. Saturn Outlook

by Michael G. Sanchez

The GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook crossovers were both based on GM's front-wheel-drive, unibody Lambda platform. The Lambda vehicles -- which also included the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave -- combined the generous seating capacity and car-like road manners of a minivan with SUV-esque features, including available all-wheel drive and respectable towing abilities. Although the two models were quite similar, the Acadia was a bit more upscale than the value-focused Outlook. 2009 was the last model year that buyers could choose between a new Acadia or Outlook. While the GMC remained in production, the Saturn version was discontinued, along with the rest of the ill-fated division's lineup.


Both crossovers had a maximum seating capacity of eight. With the optional second-row captain's chairs installed, seating capacity dropped to seven. The two vehicles shared the exact same external dimensions. The Outlook and Acadia measured 200.7 inches long, 78.2 inches wide and 72.8 inches high, with a 118.9-inch wheelbase.

The Outlook's front row of seats provided 40.4 inches of headroom, 62.0 inches of shoulder room, 58.0 inches of hip room and 41.3 inches of legroom. The second row offered 39.6 inches of headroom, 61.1 inches of shoulder room, 57.9 inches of hip room and 36.8 inches of legroom. Third-row passengers got 38.4 inches of headroom, 57.8 inches of shoulder room, 48.3 inches of hip room and 33.2 inches of legroom. The Acadia shared the same interior dimensions, except for front shoulder room, which was 61.9 inches, front hip room, which was 57.8 inches, second-row headroom, which was 39.3 inches, and second-row legroom, which was 36.9 inches.

With all three rows of seats in place, both vehicles offered 33.2 cubic feet of cargo space. With the third row folded down, that number increased to 68.6 cubic feet in the Outlook and 68.9 cubic feet in the Acadia. With both the third and second rows folded, the Outlook had a maximum cargo capacity of 115.9 cubic feet and the Acadia of 116.9 cubic feet.


The Outlook and Acadia were powered by the same 3.6-liter, dual-overhead-cam V-6. In the entry-level Outlook XE, it produced 281 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 266 foot-pounds of torque at 3,400. In the Outlook XR and all Acadia models, a freer-flowing, dual-exhaust system helped bump horsepower up to 288 and torque to 270. A six-speed automatic with manual shift mode was the sole transmission choice. Both crossovers could be had with front- or full-time all-wheel drive. Their maximum towing capacity was a very respectable 4,500 pounds.

Trim Levels

The Outlook was available in two trim levels: Base XE and upscale XR. The XE came with full power accessories, heated mirrors, air conditioning with rear-seat controls, GM's OnStar system and a CD stereo with satellite radio. Upgrading to XR added foglights, leather seating surfaces, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power driver's seat, roof rails, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, variable-effort power steering, dual-zone climate control, faux wood interior trim and Bluetooth connectivity. Optional equipment included xenon headlights, a power passenger seat, heated front seats, remote engine start, a dual-pane sunroof, rear parking sensors, a GPS navigation system, a rearview camera, an upgraded stereo and a DVD entertainment system.

The Acadia came in three trim levels: Base SLE-1, mid-level SLT-1 and premium SLT-2. The SLE-1 came with full power accessories, air conditioning, cruise control, the OnStar system and a six-speaker CD stereo with satellite radio. The SLT-1 added leather seating surfaces, heated power front seats, triple-zone climate control, second-row captain's chairs, Bluetooth connectivity and a 10-speaker Bose audio system with CD changer. The range-topping SLT-2 added rear park assist, power lumbar supports for the front seats, a remote start function, a power rear liftgate, a rear cargo shade and a 115-volt power outlet. Stand-alone options included cooled front seats, remote engine start, a second-row storage console, a heads-up display, a two-panel sunroof and a DVD entertainment system with Dolby 5.1 surround sound and rear-seat audio controls.

Consumer Data

Considering their size and capabilities, the two crossovers performed quite well when it came to gas mileage. The Outlook and the Acadia both received EPA ratings of 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive, and 16-23 with all-wheel drive.

When new, the 2009 Outlook had a starting price of $30,625 to $36,450, depending on trim level. The slightly more expensive 2009 Acadia's base price ranged from $31,890 to $40,490. Kelley Blue Book reports that, as of 2014, a good used Outlook is worth between $12,132 and $14,988. A comparable Acadia is valued at $14,826 to $18,074.

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