First Drive: 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

The Mitsubishi signature
Inside, it feels like the perfect size, with a respectable rear seat and cargo room. The interior is exactly what we've come to expect from Mitsubishi. That's to say there are intuitive, driver friendly controls surrounded by cheap-looking materials. While the dash and trim bits are certainly lacking, the good news is that almost everything you touch has been thoughtfully executed, from the standard leather-wrapped steering wheel to the comfortable armrests. And if you want to dress up the interior, Mitsubishi is offering piano black trim overlays for $265. The base ES model -- which is front-wheel drive only -- includes power windows and door locks, keyless entry, Bluetooth, a USB port, and an auxiliary audio input as standard equipment. The SE trim adds passive entry and keyless ignition, high-intensity discharge headlights, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and heated seats on four-wheel-drive cars. Optional equipment includes a fixed panoramic glass roof, ambient LED lighting, and a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system. Mitsubishi's available navigation system is still in need a knob or two to make it functionally tolerable.

Smaller, not sportier
Pricing for the Outlander Sport starts at a competitive $19,250 ($20,760 with the automatic transmission). Four-wheel drive models start at $23,760, and a fully equipped Outlander Sport can cost more than $27,000. The aggressive yet handsome styling is hardly a reason to buy, but it's a perk on top of good fuel economy and a reasonable price. If you're hoping for the small Outlander to deliver on its Sport name, you'll be in for some disappointment. But if you're merely a snob for great steering who needs a small crossover, this is your vehicle.

2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Base price (with destination): $19,260
Price as tested: $27,560

Powertrain: 16-valve DOHC I-4
Displacement: 2.0 liters
Power: 148 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 145 lb-ft @ 4200 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed manual or continuously variable automatic
Drive: Front- or 4-wheel
Fuel economy: 24-25/29-31/26-27 mpg (city/highway/combined)

Steering: Electrically assisted
Turns lock-to-lock: 3.3
Turning circle: 34.8 ft
Suspension, front: Strut-type, coil springs Suspension, rear Multilink, coil springs Brakes, F/R: Vented discs/discs, ABS
Wheels: 18-inch aluminum
Tires: Goodyear Eagle LS2
Tire size: 225/55HR-18

Headroom, F/R: 39.4/37.9 in
Legroom, F/R: 41.6/36.3 in
Shoulder room, F/R: 56.2/55.7 in
Hip room, F/R: 52.1/51.6 in
Wheelbase: 105.1 in
L x W x H: 169.1 x 69.7 x 64.2 in
Track, F/R: 60.0/60.0 in
Cargo capacity (rear seats up/down): 21.7/49.5 cu ft
Weight: 3098-3263
Fuel capacity: 16.6 gal
Est. range: 448 miles
Fuel grade: 87 octane

3 of 3
Begs for a turbo, which would probably put it close to $30k. Whoa....

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