Archive for May, 2012

The Saturn Outlook was discontinued when Saturn ceased manufacturing a few years ago, but they are still available used. I had looked at one almost 4 years ago at the very beginning of my car search and remembered finding the cargo area huge for the vehicle’s size, so when I saw one on the lot at CarMax, I knew I wanted to take a more thorough look at it!

Saturn Outlook at W-S Carmax

(image from the Winston-Salem Carmax website of the vehicle I looked at – I was unable to get the profile picture myself due to its location in a long line of vehicles)

And I was correct, the Outlook has an impressive cargo area behind the second row for a mid-size SUV!

Width between wheel wells (narrowest part of the vehicle): 48.25″

Tallest point: 34″ in the middle of the cargo area

Lowest point: 33″ for 10″ from the hatch

Cargo depth with all rows up: 19″ on the floor, 10″ deep at the narrowest point (seat back, 21.5″ above floor level)

Cargo depth with the third row down: 48.5″ on the floor, 41″ deep at the narrowest point (seat back, 18″ above floor level)

**Note**: The second row seats appeared to only slide forward vs. folding flat, but I would double check this – the salesperson I had was very unhelpful and couldn’t tell me if this was the case or if there was some other way to fold the second row down!

MPG city: 16 mpg

MPG highway: 22 mpg

The MPGs are a bit low for my taste, but certainly reasonable for the vehicle’s size and 4WD format.  There is an extra outlet in the rear cargo area, extra vents for AC/heat in the second row, and lots of dome lights, one over each row and lights on the tailgate itself – great for those late night unloading sessions at hotels or back at home!

The interior seemed nicely done – comfortable, nice looking, and the model I looked at had leather seats which are great for not trapping dog hair. 😉

The tire *is* stored beneath the cargo floor, so inaccessible with crates in place, but again, this is pretty normal for similarly sized SUVs.

As mid-size SUVs go, the Outlook is pretty nice, *unless* you just want it for cargo and not passenger use, then the apparent lack of a fold flat second row becomes problematic, as it reduces your crate capacity to the equivalent of a small SUV or hatchback!

For my needs, human passengers, plus 36″ crates in the rear it would serve admirably, and in a pinch I could fit smaller crates on the second row if I didn’t need room for humans, as I do with my current vehicle. The gas mileage is the main thing keeping the Outlook off of my short list currently.

I took advantage of an unexpectedly free Wednesday afternoon to stop by the local CarMax to look at vehicles.

I was not unduly impressed by the sales guy – he was very uninterested and had no useful information for me, not even how to fold vehicle seats down (!) – but I did love being able to just walk past a line of vehicles and look at any that caught my eye.

Because the salesguy was so unimpressive and the light decreasing as the evening progressed, I only spent about 90 minutes at CarMax, but I did get information on **7** more vehicles. Stay tuned for reviews of each over the next few weeks!

2006 Kia Sedona

Posted: May 2, 2012 in Vehicle Reviews
Tags: , , , , ,

You always hear about minivans being the best option for the cargo area dimensions crates require, but I had never really looked into the category further until now. I do have to give the minivan proponents their due: so far the Sedona provides faaaaar more interior space than any of the vehicles I’ve reviewed for this blog to date.

Sure, it’s not the most visually attractive vehicle:

But look at these dimensions!

Width between wheel wells (narrowest part of the vehicle): 47.75″

Width at widest point: 66″ at second row, seats removed

Tallest point: 45.75″ in the middle of the cargo area

Lowest point: 40.25″ for 11″ from the hatch

Cargo depth with all rows up: Not useable due to depression designed for storing rear seats when folded.

Cargo depth with the third row down: 54″ on floor, but a slope in the hatch starts at 25″ above the floor. At the narrowest point, it is still 44″ deep.

Cargo depth with all rows down: With second row seats folded forward, the cargo area is 66″ deep.  With the second row seats fully removed, the space is 95″ deep at the floor and 85″ at seat back where the depth is shortest (24″ from the floor).

Hatch measurements: 40-49.5″ wide with the narrowest point at the top, 40.5″ tall

seat stowing depression

MPG city: 20 mpg

MPG highway: 26 mpg

The minivan layout is especially helpful for fitting a number of large dogs crated for sure. Additional lighting over the cargo area/hatch, extra vents for AC/heat at each row of seating, and additional power outlets in the cargo area means that the Sedona is well suited to traveling with multiple, crated pets. The seat anchors are flush with the floor and appear to be positioned in a way that might lend them to use as tiedown spots. On top of all of those perks, the Sedona also carries the spare tire under the vehicle instead of in the floor, so removing crates and other items isn’t required if a tire change is needed!

As with any vehicle, there are disadvantages to take into account. One potential issue I saw was that the second row of seating is made up of two captain’s chairs, which means that there is an aisle between the seats up to the front of the vehicle. This may not seem like a big deal, but you will need to block this aisle to prevent items from rolling forward during stops.  Another flaw: the minivan-standard lack of fully opening windows in the rear of the vehicle. While moving, the rear air vents take care of this, but at a stop air is much harder to circulate behind the driver’s seat.

Overall the Kia Sedona is certainly up to the challenge of a multi-dog household that prefers having their pets ride secured in crates during travel. The expansive interior and convenient vents and lights make trips more comfortable for all.

Note: The Kia Sedona’s design hasn’t changed much over the years from what the salesperson at the dealership said, but I would still suggest doing your own measuring of any vehicles Four Paw Drive reviews, before committing to one, just in case!