2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Long-Term Road Test

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE: Random Trip Notes

November 28, 2011

outlander sport at b and b.jpg

Having wrapped up our L.A. to Monterey road trip, we have just a few more notes on the Mitsu and the trip itself.

-- On the sparsely populated, unlit mountain roads the standard xenon headlights were much appreciated as they cast a powerful, wide swath of light with a well-defined cut-off.

-- We averaged a respectable 24.8 mpg over 818 miles of mostly highway driving.

-- The nav system needs to mute the stereo more when it gives voice prompts. Sometimes it was as if Lady Monotone was trying to rap along with the music. And yes, we had the prompts volume set high enough.

-- Another high-tech bugaboo is that when you're using the Bluetooth phone hook-up, there's a low but still annoying fax machine-like noise that accompanies the call.

-- As I've said before, the Outlander Sport's a snap to park with its pug nose styling, clipped tail and rearview camera.

-- Trip highlights included the charming Centrella Inn bed and breakfast (shown above) in Pacific Grove as well as the incredible Monterey Bay Aquarium, (the sea otters are a riot).

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 19,794 miles.

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Road Trip

November 26, 2011

outlander sport 17 mile drive.jpg

This week I took the Outlander from L.A. to Monterey, CA. It's about 330 miles each way and involves driving along very scenic CA 1, aka the Pacific Coast Highway. This is one of those trips where the drive itself can be half the fun. Life being a journey and all that...

On a long trip like this, where you have open road and the ability to cruise at 60 or so for long stretches, the Mitsu was fine. Even without adjustable lumbar support for my finicky lower back, the front seats were very comfortable for hours at a time. My iPod was easy to run through the car's stereo, the Nav system helped us find some good eats and the cabin was quiet enough at high cruising speeds except when more serious inclines were tackled, where the engine's drone would require bumping the volume on the stereo.

Yes, I had to take (shifting) matters into my own hands while tackling the mountainous portions so as to keep the Outlander Sport up on its toes rather than flat on its feet. But even with the lack of power, it was still somewhat entertaining to drive as the little Mitsu is pretty good at cutting through curvy blacktop, thanks to its fairly quick steering and buttoned down composure. Too bad Mitsu didn't offer a Ralliart version of this rig...

We're heading back to L.A. shortly and will post another update after we get back with average fuel mileage and trip highlights.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 19,430 miles

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Better, Stronger, Faster.

November 22, 2011

out.sport.dockweiler.jpg

We wish.

I like the looks, size and nimble nature of the Outlander Sport. And the heated seats and navi also get it brownie points. But that laggardly powertrain! Unless you work the paddles and keep it on the boil (and hurt the fuel mileage), you best plan your merging and passing maneuvers well in advance. Ok, enough caning an expired equine.

Mitsubishi is bringing out its all electric "i" for 2012. Toyota's bringing back an all-electric version of the RAV4 next year. Think about how much better Mitsu's truly compact SUV would be with either an all-electric or hybrid powertrain. Zippy performance and much lower "fuel" costs. Works for me. There was some buzz back in July about Mitsu bringing out a plug-in hybrid version of its truly compact SUV in 2013, but we haven't heard anything since.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 18,886 miles.

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Nav Traffic?

November 16, 2011

NavTraffic-1600.jpg Who is this helping? Really.

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 18,634 miles

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Mysteries of the CVT

November 15, 2011

Chrysler-Mitsubishi-Nissan CVT.jpg
Since there are fewer moving parts inside a constantly variable transmission than a manual transmission (or so I’ve heard), I once asked an engineer to explain the CVT to me so I’d know how it worked. He said it was dumb of me to think I could even begin to figure out the CVT, especially since I was so terrible at figuring out almost everything else about cars already.

First of all, he said, the whole idea of the thing goes against the laws of physics, since the key component is a chain (or belt) that you push instead of pull. If you start out by trying to push a length of string across a table instead of pulling it, he said, then the CVT must be living in an alternate universe.

Plus, he added, a Dutchman invented it.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 18,322 miles

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE: How's Business?

November 08, 2011

Outlander Sport.jpg

I recently received an e-mail from Mitsubishi trumpeting the fact that overall calendar year to date (meaning January through October in this case) sales for the brand are up 51 percent over last year. It also stated that the Outlander Sport had "another strong showing" with 1,286 units sold for October.

Not sure what Mitsu's definition of strong is, but for October Kia sold 3,519 Sportages and Hyundai sold 3,777 Tucsons. Given their size, price points and sporty chassis tuning, those Korean cousins are the Outlander Sport's most direct competitors. Maybe if Mitsubishi gave the Sport a less lackadaisical powertrain, sales would be even "stronger".

Still, as many of us have said, working the shift paddles puts some spring in its step and it's a good city runabout given its small footprint and handy rearview camera. In unrelated news, I dig the front end styling and think it's especially sharp in this dark red shade.

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 18,185 miles

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE: Roadtrip Fuel Economy

November 03, 2011

mitsubishioutlandersport_bugs.jpg

Last week's 1000-mile round trip to Infineon Raceway in our longterm 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport was sort of a reprise. I'd driven a similar route in the same Outlander during the summer months, so I was curious to compare the fuel economy of both 1000-mile trips.

August roadtrip: 23.2 mpg

October roadtrip: 21.7 mpg

One caveat that makes this not quite an apples to apples comparison -- my cruising speed was very roughly 3-5 mph higher during the October trip, and that appears to have more than offset any fuel economy benefit the notably cooler ambient temperature provided. You gotta pay to play...

--Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Visiting Heaven

November 01, 2011

Outlander-at-Canepa-1.jpg

Bruce Canepa was a guy I used to read about in car magazines. Bigger than life. I was kid in New Jersey. He was a big time Porsche racer.

Thirty something years later I know Bruce personally. We've hung out at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and we have more mutual friends and aquaintances than I can count. Is he a friend of mine? Not even close. But we're not strangers either.

The last time I spoke to Bruce I admitted that I had never been to his store Canepa Design in Scotts Valley, CA, which is near San Jose. Instead I just drool over his inventory online and in his car mag ads. He, of course, said to come up and check it out. That he would personally give me the VIP tour.

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE: Race Weekend

October 26, 2011

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Our longterm 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE served as transportation, food service station, storage, clothesline and mobile changing room over this past weekend's 24 Hours of LeMons race at Infineon Raceway.

Though not at it's best as a mile eater -- too much road noise, tepid acceleration, sometimes choppy ride -- its alert steering and comfy seats are welcome in this class of vehicle.

One minor bummer -- where's the flip-down tailgate? I really liked that feature in the non-Sport Outlander. Good for loading, good for sitting. Ah well.

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor @ 16,627 miles.

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Service Visit - The Game Continues

October 27, 2011

mitsubishi service visit.jpg

Scene: Service department at Long Beach Mitsubishi

A customer walks in carrying an owner's manual and computer printout for the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

Customer: I'd like an oil and filter change and a tire rotation. And please do these inspections (points to the service manual).

Service advisor: Let me get the VIN and mileage from your car. (He exits, then reappears moments later) I see that you are close to 16,000 miles so we recommend this intermediate service which is $195. (He hands a sheet listing all the services and prices.)

Customer: No thanks. I'll just take the oil change and tire rotation and inspections.

Service advisor: Okay. That will be $69.95

Now for the quiz. Is this vehicle being properly maintained? Or would the more expensive service be a lot better for the Outlander?

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