No, Rusty, this isn't an Evo, but Mitsubishi already offers something -- the Lancer Sportback Ralliart -- for those who want to mix hatchback practicality with sports-car handling. The Outlander Sport, however, is something different: a micro-sized crossover that manages to drive like a tall Lancer (which, mechanically speaking, it is).
That means the Outlander Sport is blessed with quick, well-weighted steering, along with brakes that deliver nice bite and respectable pedal feel. The 148-horsepower 2.0-liter provides adequate power for a 3032-pound vehicle, but as my colleagues note, it is rather coarse when pushed hard.
I'd argue the biggest downfall lies within the cabin. The interior is a marginal improvement over Mitsubishi's other offerings (the dash pad, for instance, is slightly softer than that on the Lancer and Outlander), but is still a sea of hard, cheap-looking plastics. I didn't notice any substantial rattle or squeaks during my weekend with the vehicle, but I can see how a number of surfaces may be prone to scuffing or scratching.
Some of that can be forgiven after a glance at the price tag. At $19,275, standard equipment includes keyless entry, an AM/FM/MP3 stereo with a USB audio input, Bluetooth, ABS, stability control, hill-start assist, and seven airbags. If Mitsubishi could see fit to improve the cabin, I think the Outlander Sport could have plenty of potential.
- Evan McCausland, Web Producer
There aren't a lot of sub-$20,000 crossovers on the market, which makes the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, on paper at least, a pretty good deal. As most of my colleagues have noted, however, the Outlander Sport doesn't have anything that makes it stand out in the marketplace, and the materials, while not shoddy, don't give a perception of high quality. As with all Mitsubishi models, the Outlander Sport's gaping maw of a grille practically shouts at you to notice it, but other than that, the experience of driving this vehicle is rather underwhelming. Still, the price is right, and there will likely be consumers to whom that is the Outlander Sport's most attractive asset.
- Amy Skogstrom, Managing Editor