2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

12MitsubishiOutlanderSpt

Not Very Sporty

I you are not familiar with the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, It’s a smaller version of the Outlander compact SUV. The Sport is 14 inches shorter than its bigger sibling, and about 400 pounds lighter. It’s an urban runaround vehicle, like the Nissan Juke.

The Sport is nicely styled. Its blunt nose, adapted from the Lancer Evolution, conveys strength and ruggedness. Upsweeping character lines on its flanks catch the eye, and lighten the overall appearance. Optional black cargo rails on the roof provide a pleasing contrast to the body color, which was white on my test car.

Yet, the interior provides very little sparkle. My Sport had a dull black dash with just a minimum of brushed silver trim. However, the overall layout of the dash was good. Gauges and the controls for audio and air conditioning were easy to read and operate. The seats were nicely contoured too, and made of high-grade fabric. The Sport holds five passengers, with adequate head- and legroom for adults. Storage space in the rear is rather limited, just 21.7 cubic feet, but expands nearly 50 cu.-ft. with the back seats folded down.

The Sport is offered in two versions, the base model ES and the better-equipped SE. The ES comes standard with keyless entry, air conditioning, and cruise control, as well as a tilt and telescoping steering wheel for driver comfort, and Mitsubishi’s Fuse audio interface for streaming music from your iPod/Mp3 player.

The SE adds 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition, automatic headlights, windshield wipers and climate control. SE owners can also order all-wheel drive, and the Premium package, which includes a huge panoramic sunroof, a rearview camera, satellite radio and a Rockford Fosgate sound system. Navigation systems, as well as interior and exterior trim packages, are optional for both models.

Mitsubishi powers the Outlander Sport with a 2.0-liter, inline-4 engine that generates 148 horsepower. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard on the ES; a CVT automatic is standard on the SE, and optional on the ES. This later combination is not a happy one. The motor does not pull well below 3000 rpm, and the CVT likes to keep the revs down at respectable gas mileage of 25-mpg in the city and 31-mpg on the highway.

Because of its power train, Mitsubishi’s crossover is not as sporty as its name would imply. However, it handles decently on the road. The steering feedback is somewhat vague, but body lean on tight turns is modest, and stops from highway speed are short and straight. But perhaps its best quality is the smoothness of its ride. It absorbs bumps around town quite well, and is also well composed on the highway.

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has a starting price of $19,605 for the base ES model and ranges up to $24,295 for the ES with all-wheel drive. My test car, an ES front-wheel drive model, with navigation and the Premium package, had suggested price of $26,855.

Snapshot Review:

Nice Styling
Sluggish Power Train
Smooth Ride

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