2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Long-Term Road Test


2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Works for Single Me

October 10, 2011

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I've spent a lot of time in our 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport recently. In my single days the positives of this SUV outweigh the negatives easily. This is a car that I would consider spending my own money on if not for one thing. I'm not single anymore...

The positives:

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The keyless entry system is perfect for my taste. Press the button to unlock and again to lock. Simple. There aren't any fancy sensors to detect hand movement or ridges that I have to slide my thumb across to gain access to the car. It works the same every time. I like it.

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The 60/40 folding rear seats are great. I had to install some baseboards in a small bathroom last weekend. Fortunately, none of the lengths were more than 6 ft, so I got away with lowering the 40 and sliding the baseboards (not pictured, obviously) right in. The utility is attributed more to it being an SUV than an Outlander specifically, but it still gets the job done.

There are more good things to say. The seats are comfortable. The steering wheel is weighted well considering its electric nature. The ride is compliant despite its short wheelbase. And the Sport has plenty of power for life around town and on local freeways.

Not everything is great. The ride is agreeable but those tires are loud. The Sport does little to keep tire and road noise outside the cabin. Keep the radio loud and you might be ok. I said the Sport had plenty of power for local errands. Well, it does from a start. But where the CVT-little engine combination lacks is during any midrange throttle request. Need to pass somebody? Good luck. And when the CVT is hard at work it surpasses the road noise already bouncing around the cockpit. Fuel economy is adversely affected by this routine as well. It turns out that heavy on the gas isn't very efficient.

If you can come to terms with the negatives above, which I easily could in my single days, then this is an SUV worth consideration. Problem is, I'm not single anymore. And my perception of its family friendliness is ultimately the dealbreaker for me now. I can strap the kid into the car seat just fine. Tight and secure. But when I close the backseat door and its tin-can thud reaches my ears, I'm out. Not even if a government safety test tells me me this SUV ranks among the safest on the road, I can't get over the audible appeal of a solidly closing door. Maybe I'm narrow minded in this respect. I won't hide it. Still, I'm going with my gut on this one.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 14,635 miles

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