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Trendy families who eschew truckish SUVs and less-than-glamorous minivans will find an appealing choice in Saturn’s first crossover sport utility vehicle, the 2007 Outlook.

With good proportions, attractive styling, commendable handling and V-6 power, five-star safety rating and standard seating for eight, the Outlook has something for mom, dad and the kids.

It also has the highest starting retail price of any Saturn production model.

But the Outlook pricing is about on par with competing crossover SUVs, which are today’s darlings of the auto business because their sales are on the rise.

Crossover SUVs are hot now because the bubble has burst on the traditional SUV market. Shoppers are turning away from the truckish ride and poor fuel economy that traditional SUVs can deliver.

three new cars

In response, General Motors Corp. is introducing the Outlook as well as two sibling crossovers — the GMC Acadia and Buick Enclave.

The Outlook has the lowest starting price of the trio.

The Outlook can be deceptive. It doesn’t look particularly large on the outside. But at nearly 17 feet long, it is just 1.4 inches shy of a Cadillac Escalade SUV in length, and there’s a roomy feel inside.

The test Outlook traveled with poise over many kinds of road bumps. Passengers mainly felt as if they rode atop the bumps and road imperfections, though on some concrete pavement with expansion joints, I noticed a slight jiggling of my body.

what it should hold

Saturn officials say an Outlook owner should be able to fit a 4-foot-by-8-foot piece of wood or sheetrock along the flat and wide cargo floor. With second- and third-row seats folded down, total cargo room is 117 cubic feet vs. 80.6 in the Highlander.

Perhaps more importantly, the Outlook’s third-row seating can be quite usable for adults, not just children, in part because second-row seats can slide forward and back to help allocate legroom. Just watch that small items or food from little tykes don’t disappear into the highly visible sliding-seat slots in the floor.

A nice feature on the Outlook: Head restraints on third-row seats that fold down and out of the way on their own in preparation for the seats to go down.

Last month, 13,032 Outlooks and GMC Acadias were recalled because a computer module might not activate frontal air bags in a crash and an alert light in the instrument panel that should warn drivers of such a malfunction also might not be operational.

2007 Saturn Outlook XR

Base price: $27,255 for front-wheel drive XE; $29,255 for all-wheel drive XE; $29,555 for front-wheel drive XR.

As tested: $33,930.

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