2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Long-Term Road Test

2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Shift Paddles Needed

February 21, 2011


On our regular Outlander, I've found its shift paddles enhance the model's sportiness, even though their overall usefulness is pretty minimal. On our Outlander Sport, though, I've found the paddles are key to avoiding an otherwise dreary driving experience.

The issue isn't so much the power of the engine but more the way Mitsubishi tuned the CVT. Accelerating from a stop, the CVT increases rpm to a decent level for power, but after about 25 mph it drops rpm back down to improve fuel economy. Consequently, the Outlander Sport does its to be a paradigm for "sluggish acceleration." The only way to avoid this is to step down more on the throttle to the point where the CVT "downshifts" or just switch into manual mode for the paddles and shift yourself to get the engine rpm you want.

I don't necessarily blame Mitsubishi. Whether it’s the sluggish throttle response on our 528i or the skip-shift feature on our Mustang, it's obvious automakers these days are looking for inexpensive ways to boost fuel economy for EPA estimates. But in the real world, it just doesn't work for the Outlander Sport. I'm just glad for its paddle shifters.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 4,952 miles

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