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2007-2010 Saturn Outlook

How to upgrade the stereo system in your Outlook

saturn outlook suv

In brief: This Crutchfield Research Garage article gives you an overview of your Outlook's stock stereo system and your aftermarket upgrade options. We'll tell you all about:

Then, use our vehicle selector to find the gear that will fit your Saturn.

Overview of the Saturn Outlook

What's in a name? Well, for the Saturn Outlook, a lot of cruel irony. It's not the truck's fault, it's simply that by the time Saturn's biggest-ever SUV debuted, the outlook for the entire Saturn brand was mostly cloudy. Heck, the outlook for GM as a whole was pretty iffy at the time. GM survived, of course, but Saturn did not.

Saturn didn't get to go out with the same quirky fanfare it came in with, but the Outlook, a rebadged cousin to the Chevy Traverse and GMC Acadia, was a quietly competent SUV. With available 3-row seating and some nifty seat-folding options for large cargo, it even included some smart ideas. If you're in the market for a mid-sized SUV that doesn't blend into the herd, a Saturn might be just the thing you're looking for.

saturn outlook radio

The factory radio can be replaced by single-DIN (2" tall) or double-DIN (4" tall) aftermarket receivers (Crutchfield Research Photo)

The factory stereo system

Even in base trim, the Outlook was nicely appointed. The standard stereo was a 6-speaker system with an aux input and OnStar® capability. The top-line stereo was a 10-speaker Bose™ system with a sub. A navigation system was optional, as was a rear seat DVD system.

You'll lose some factory features when you replace the stock radio, but with the wide variety of aftermarket receivers available, you can not only get them back, but get them in a much-improved form. And it goes without saying that aftermarket speakers will really make a difference in how you hear your favorite songs and shows.

saturn outlook radio

You'll need an integration adapter to connect the new receiver and retain the factory safety warning chimes.(Crutchfield Research Photo)

Replacing your Outlook's factory radio

The Outlook's factory receiver is reasonably easy to remove and replace. Use a panel tool to pry out the receiver trim panel and release the retaining clips, then remove the panel and put it someplace safe, preferably on a non-scratching surface. Next, you'll remove the four 7mm screws securing the radio to the dash, disconnect the harnesses, and remove the radio.

Installing a new one isn't that hard, either, especially when you shop at Crutchfield. The mounting kit (included at a deep discount with most Crutchfield stereo purchases) will allow you to install a single-DIN (2" tall) or double-DIN (4" tall) receiver in the factory opening.

You'll also need an integration adapter to connect the new receiver and retain the factory safety warning chimes. Crutchfield strongly suggests that you use one of the recommended adapters. Failure to do so may result in serious injury or death. It will most certainly result in our polite (but firm) refusal to provide technical assistance when you call us for installation advice.

Detailed stereo and speaker removal instructions

MasterSheet image
With step-by-step disassembly instructions and plenty of up-close, detailed photos, our exclusive Crutchfield MasterSheet™ takes the guesswork out of removing the factory stereo and speakers. It's free with your Crutchfield order, or you can purchase one separately for just $9.99.

Thankfully, you don't have to worry about choosing the right adapter – we'll do that for you. Just enter your vehicle information on our Outfit My Car page, find the receiver you want, and add it to your cart. We'll show you which adapter you need, and you'll get a big discount when you purchase everything together at Crutchfield.

If your Outlook is equipped with a factory backup camera, you'll also need a special adapter if you want to continue using it. We'll help you with that, too.

Tools needed: Panel tool, 7mm socket, ratchet, and extension

Read our Car Stereo Buying Guide for shopping tips and advice.

Shop for car stereos that fit your Saturn Outlook

Steering wheel audio controls

In most cases, it's reasonably easy to retain your Outlook's steering wheel audio controls when you install a new stereo. When you enter your vehicle information, our database will choose the adapter you need to make your factory steering wheel controls work with a compatible aftermarket receiver.

saturn outlook front door

The Outlook's factory speakers aren't awful, but you can definitely do better (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Replacing your factory speakers

Depending on how it's equipped, the Outlook can have up to ten factory speakers. Generally speaking, they're not that hard to replace and the improvement in sound quality will make it worth your while.

There are plenty of aftermarket speakers that will fit nicely in the Outlook, and Posi-Products connectors will allow you to connect your new speakers without splicing. Our universal backstraps will help you secure your new speakers in any location.

saturn outlook dash

As long as you're getting into the dash, you might as well replace the center speaker (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing the center dash speaker

If your Outlook is equipped with the Bose system, there's a 3-1/2" speaker in the center of the dash. To get to it, you'll have to do the same stuff you did to get to the receiver, so as long as you’re in there, you might as well replace that speaker along with all the others. Complete, illustrated instructions can be found in the Crutchfield MasterSheet included with your purchase.

This is totally do-able for the average DIY car audio enthusiast, but it's important to be gentle when you're prying and pushing on the various plastic bits. You'll see this panel every day when you're behind the wheel, so you don't want to be reminded of that time you got frothing mad at a piece of plastic while swapping out your stereo.

Tools needed: Panel tool, and 7mm socket, ratchet, and extension

saturn outlook pillar tweeter

The pillar tweeters aren't hard to deal with, but pay attention to the instructions (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing the front pillar speakers

The factory tweeters are mounted on the back of the front pillar trim panels. Removing them isn't difficult, but the process for the driver's side is a bit different than it is on the passenger's side, so pay close attention to the instructions in your MasterSheet. You'll need to use a set of our universal backstraps to secure the new component tweeters. Hot glue or silicon will do the trick, too.

Tools needed: Panel tool (or flat blade screwdriver), 7mm (left) and 10mm (right) socket, ratchet and extension

saturn outlook front door

You'll need to remove the door panels to access the stock door speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing the front door speakers

The Outlook's stock door speakers, regardless of stereo system, are 6-3/4" units. The Bose system is pretty impressive for a factory set-up, but there's plenty of room for improvement with aftermarket gear.

A wide variety of same-size or smaller aftermarket models will fit behind the Outlook's swoopy door panels, but you may need to remove the locating tabs from the factory speaker bracket before mounting an aftermarket 6-3/4" speaker or speaker brackets. This modification isn't difficult, and it won't affect the bracket's structural integrity.

The removal and replacement process isn't that hard either, but there are some differences in how you'll approach each of the front doors. You'll be removing both door panels, but the driver's side door has a bit more going on in terms of window and lock controls, so the process is a bit different. Not harder, mind you, just different. The details, including some very helpful illustrations, can be found in your Crutchfield MasterSheet. You'll want to be careful when removing the door pull cover. It's a long-ish piece of plastic and you don't want it to break, so take your time when you're prying it loose.

Once your speakers are installed, make sure they're working properly. Before you button everything up, test the door locks and make sure the speaker wires aren't interfering with the windows. A speaker bracket may be required, and it's included free with your speaker purchase.

Tools needed: Panel tool, small flat-blade screwdriver, Torx T-30 driver, 1/4" driver

saturn outlook rear door speaker

Removing door panels isn't hard, but it does involve patience and care (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Removing the rear door speakers

The rear doors house 6-3/4" speakers and, as with the front doors, you can replace them with aftermarket 6-3/4" or 6-1/2" models.

Depending on what you're installing in your Outlook, you may also need to cut off four locating tabs on the factory bracket to allow the bracket (included with your Crutchfield speaker purchase) to fit flush.

Removing the door panel is a straightforward process and it's exactly the same on both sides. As always, you'll want to be careful when prying away at the plastic panels, of course, especially those door pull covers. Once the door panels are off, store them someplace safe until it's time to put them back on.

Tools needed: Panel tool, small flat-blade screwdriver, Torx T-30 driver, 7mm driver

Removing the rear side speakers

The Outlook's Bose system includes a set of 3-1/2" rear side panels speakers located in the third-row seating area. They're easy to reach and replace, since all you have to do is (carefully) pry up the grille and remove the screws that secure the speaker.

You'll need Posi-Products connectors to connect the new aftermarket models, but that's really all there is to it when it comes to replacing these speakers.

Tools needed: Small flat-blade screwdriver, Phillips screwdriver

Read our Car Speakers Buying Guide for more information.

Shop for speakers that fit your Saturn Outlook

saturn outlook console

There's a sub under here, but we don't recommend replacing it (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Bass in your Outlook

If your Outlook has the Bose stereo system, there's a factory subwoofer located under the front center console. Getting to the thing takes a ton of work, including the removal of the gear shift mechanism, and it's not easy. Take our word for it.

Ordinarily, we encourage our customers to install their own gear, because it's usually not that hard and it can be a lot of fun. In this case, we encourage you to leave the sub alone. In fact, we don't recommend replacing this subwoofer under any circumstances, ever, even if a pro is doing the job for you. Use it if you can, bypass it if you must, but definitely leave it where it is. Besides, there are other ways to add bass to your Outlook

Even with the third row seats up, you have a 46" W x 13" H x 18"/16" D space in the cargo area for a subwoofer box. That's a lot of room to work with, so if you're a connoisseur of great bass, you can go big if you want to.

If hauling people and stuff in your SUV is important, there are plenty of practical bass solutions. A jumbo-sized component subwoofer in an enclosure is one way to go, but on the flip side, a compact powered subwoofer will give you a surprising amount of thump without taking up too much space.

There's a storage cubby under the rear cargo floor, so you might want to keep that in mind, too. Whether you're planning to use it or not, you can improve performance and reduce rattling by lining it with sound-deadening material from Dynamat.

Learn more about building a bass system in our Car Subwoofer Buying Guide.

saturn outlook cargo area

There's plenty of room for a powered subwoofer in the cargo area — or something bigger, if you want it (Crutchfield Research Photo)

Other options for your Outlook

Here are some other upgrade ideas for your Saturn Outlook.

You'll need an amplifier for your subs

The factory amplifier is located under the driver's side dash. Removing it means disconnecting the airbag harness, which is absolutely not something you should be doing.

Your best bet is to use the factory amp with your new receiver and speakers, while installing an aftermarket mono amp elsewhere in the vehicle for a component subwoofer. Learn more about adding amps to your system in our Car Amplifier Buying Guide.

Rear-seat video options

If your Outlook came equipped with factory rear-seat entertainment, you can retain that feature when you install a DVD receiver in the dash. If you don't have that feature, and want to add it, we offer a number of aftermarket video solutions that work in a wide variety of cars and SUVs.

Backup camera options

Speaking of video, if you want to use the factory backup camera with your new video receiver, you'll need a special adapter recommended by Crutchfield. If you don't have (or don't like) the factory model, you can replace it with an aftermarket rearview camera.

Security systems and remote start

Installing a security system in your Outlook won't be easy (security systems rarely are), but it's definitely a good idea if you tow long distances and stop overnight. Our Crutchfield Advisors can help figure out what you need to get the job done, but we usually recommend taking your Outlook to a professional installer.

Adding remote start capability to your Outlook lets you warm it up in the winter or cool it down in the summer. Installation is usually easier with these systems, but we still ask that you call to order so that we can make sure you get the right harness for your ride.

Let's get started!

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