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Monday, May 13, 2013

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport


The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a small crossover that competes with the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, and even the Kia Soul. A smaller version of its big brother, the Outlander, the Outlander Sport is aimed more at urban crowds than suburban families, though in some ways it's nearly as spacious as the larger vehicle. See our 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport review for pricing with...


The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a small crossover that competes with the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, and even the Kia Soul. A smaller version of its big brother, the Outlander, the Outlander Sport is aimed more at urban crowds than suburban families, though in some ways it's nearly as spacious as the larger vehicle.

Like the Outlander, the Sport is derived from today's Lancer sedan, with a four-cylinder engine driving the front or all wheels through a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The smaller Mitsubishi crossover first arrived in the U.S. as a 2011 model, and it has received various minor updates since then. In other markets, it's called either the RVR or the ASX, but it gives the struggling Japanese automaker an entry in a high-volume but very competitive segment. It's short enough that it could almost be viewed as a subcompact in some respects, and its selling point is more interior space in a smaller footprint than other entries.

From the outside, the front end of the Outlander Sport bears the most likeness to the rugged Outlander family, while the rest of the Outlander Sport feels like a rather tall, slab-sided hatchback. Inside, the Outlander Sport does feel far more like a tall car than a utility vehicle. The practically-minded will find a lot to like inside the Outlander Sport—including supportive front seats, real space for two adults (or three kids) in the back, anda low cargo floor—the downside is the very basic, drab trim and an unfortunate built-to-a-budget feel.

Road noise has been an issue since the Outlander Sport was launched—although Mitsubishi reported a few improvements for 2012, including much needed additional sound insulation. Then for 2013, the model also received a modestly redesigned (and smoother) version of the shark-like front end, plus a new bumper design and revised lower-body trim. Mitsubishi further updated the feature list for 2013 as well, adding standard alloy wheels on all trim levels, with new seat fabrics—and even more noise insulation, possibly soothing some of the harsh, low-rent impression.

There's only one engine choice: All Outlander Sport models come with a 148-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Buyers can choose a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) or opt to shift for themselves with a five-speed manual gearbox. The manual is our choice, without hesitation, because the CVT tends to make the engine feel sluggish and boomy, especially on the highway. Fuel economy is unremarkable, at 25 mpg city, 31 mpg highway at best

The Outlander Sport stands out as a strong value for the money, especially considering that the base model starts at less than $20,000. Even at the base level, front knee airbags are a standard safety feature you won't find in many other models, and keyless entry, A/C, and a 140-watt sound system are all included. Top-of-the-line SE models include automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof, premium audio, and heated seats.

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