2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Long-Term Road Test

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Road Trip To Monterey

October 13, 2011

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Today three of our long-term cars will be driven from Santa Monica 325 miles north to Monterey, CA for the Porsche Rennsport Reunion. Kurt Neibuhr will drive our 1985 911 (duh!), Michael Jordan will pilot our new long-term Audi A8, which arrived yesterday, and I'll be in our Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

Why did I choose the Mitsu?

Simple, I like it. It has everything my dad and I need for a successful road trip, including a nice ride, comfy seats, strong air con, sat nav, sat radio and plenty of room for two big strong Oldham men and our luggage.

It also gets good mileage. 29 mpg on the highway according to the EPA.

I can't wait to get on the road. Check back here early next week for an update on the Mitsu and our road trip.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief

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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...

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Seat Belt Chime

October 07, 2011

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See that red fasten seatbelt light on the dash of our 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport? It is driving me nuts. Actually, the light itself I can live with. The associated chime is the problem...

Now don't get me wrong, I understand the importance of the chime. And I can promise you that if the car is moving, my seatbelt is always buckled. But why does this chime persist when I'm parked? Can't I just sit here, listen to the radio and choke down this egg McMuffin in peace while I wait for the auto parts store to open? Not unless my seatbelt is on. Frustrating.

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE: Great for Around Town

September 15, 2011

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First the good news. Our long-term 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE is great for around town. Running errands, short trips, and going out: it's good for all that due its manageable size, decent handling, and good utility. The Outlander Sport has a good-sized storage area, is easy to park, and you can squirt around traffic -- if you use the paddles. And I think it looks great too.

However, I wouldn't want to take it on long trips or a road trip. The suspension is OK, but the ride is a bit choppy, due in part at least, to the short wheelbase. And the engine is anemic and emits a droning noise. Sure those nice magnesium paddles keep the revs up and make things somewhat interesting. But I wouldn't want to climb the I-15 grades to Vegas in this thing. You would get squashed by the big rigs.

How about your ride? Is it better around town or on the open road?

Albert Austria, Senior VE Engineer @ ~14,000 miles

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE: Hidden Seat Heater Switch?

August 16, 2011

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The Outlander's seat heater switches are on the inside of both front seats tucked out of the way below the bolster. There is no industry standard for where to locate these switches so I sometimes hunt around for a minute before finding them.

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2011 Mitsu Outlander Sport: Well-Designed Sunshade

August 10, 2011

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I'll be honest, I'm not a fan of the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. Not with that engine and transmission I'm not. Seriously, I'm quite confident that my 16-year-old blender would be more successful at propelling this thing. But that's not the point I'm making here. Instead, here's something I like about this little utility vehicle

Look at that panoramic sunroof and more specifically its sunroof shade. Most jumbo sunroofs come with a sliding shade that utilizes thin vinyl or headliner-like materials of varying thickness. Oh, and then there's the useless meshy stuff that gives you more sun than shade.

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE: 1000-Mile Road Trip

August 09, 2011

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I just returned from road-tripping our 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. No, it was nothing like Phil's rock-crawling adventure in the Juke. Instead, my trip was exclusively paved. Nearly all freeway for 1000 miles, give or take, from Los Angeles to Thunderhill Raceway in lovely Willows, CA, and back.

There are a few things that stood out, both good and bad.

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE: Trying to Like it

July 25, 2011

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I spent three days in our 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE and I wish I could be more enthusiastic about it. I drove to San Diego and liked the way it handled at highway speeds and the interior is attractive if you don't look to closely. It's also a good size for tight parking spaces and still has a roomy interior. But the navigation system is difficult to program and my cell phone had to be connected each time I got in the car. After driving 316 miles we got 25.3 mpg which is pretty good for a tall SUV.

I don't mind the lack of power as much as the feeling you get from the power delivery. You step on the gas, the engine buzzes and then it sort of accelerates. The problem is that the 2.0 L, 148-hp engine feels disconnected from the transmission. Years ago I owned a 2000 Mitsubishi Galant and, while it wasn't fast, it had good low-end torque. Around town it felt lively and responsive. An auto engineer once said something to me that has really stuck with me: "People buy horsepower but they drive torque." Unfortunately, the Outlander is short on both.

Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor @ 11,311 miles

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE: Daily Grind Delights

July 22, 2011

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We've all griped about the Outlander Sport's flat-footed nature when left to its own transmission devices. And as noted (and useful when dealing with L.A.'s legions of unpredictable and inattentive zombies) working the CVT manually puts some spring in this Outlander's step. Once you've got that down (or just don't care and leave it in D) you'll likely notice and appreciate this Mitsu's trio of upscale features:

Keyless entry/ignition: Until fairly recently, this was just something you'd see in premium brand luxury cars. Simply touching and then pulling the door handle rather than fishing and/or fumbling with a remote is handy, especially when you're running errands.

Xenon headlights: Another high-end feature that, like the above, is standard on the SE. We've all been on streets that seem to be illuminated with candles, so obviously having powerful headlights with a broad, sharply focused light spray make for a less stressful and more confident night time drive.

Back-up camera: Yes, we all know how to parallel park here. But let's be honest, a back-up camera makes it much easier to fine-tune your car's position on crowded city streets and strip malls (where the spaces here in L.A. are often sub-standard in size.)

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 10,996 miles

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Cabin After Dark

July 19, 2011

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The Outlander Sport may come up short on power, but one thing you can't gripe about is the look of its cabin. Said cabin looks even better after dark, I think.

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE: Big Chunk of Invisibility

June 06, 2011

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This photo somewhat exaggerates the effect, but I only noticed recently how big a chunk of visibility the Outlander Sport A-pillar area consumes. It's enough to make moderately tight right-hand turns a stretch-and-see effort, especially if any concrete pillars or posts are around. It's a combination of the wide, blocky mirror, the black sail panel housing the tweeter, the widening pillar base, and the thick A-pillar itself.

When I'm king, I'll make Mitsubishi use more vertical Wrangler-style mirrors, move the tweeter to the door panel and install a sail window, and make the A-pillar out of bulletproof, crushproof and suckproof Lexan. Or if I'm a king on a budget, maybe just adhere some surplus Aztek cladding to the quarter panels.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Seat Fabric Of Our Lives

May 19, 2011


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The seats in our Outlander Sport have three different types of fabric with three different textures. For some reason, when I look at the the nubby, blue-specked fabric that covers most of the seats, I think of these things...

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Manages Interior Glare

May 18, 2011

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Interior glare seems to be the flavor of the month around here. But it's an important element of interior design. We've seen the 2011 Buick Regal, 2011 Infiniti M56 and 2011 Kia Optima all struggle with the issue. Well, our 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport does it right.

I won't make excuses for the overall interior materials quality. It isn't top notch. We don't expect it to be. But the matte finish on its steering wheel plastics diffuse sunlight glare without losing the intended artistic touch. The plastic reflects light no more intensely than the leather wrapped steering wheel. That gets a thumbs up in my book.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 7,813 miles

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE: DIY A-pillar Trim Fix

April 18, 2011

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The Outlander Sport's loose A pillar trim piece was bugging me so I took a closer look. Seems that nothing was actually broken but rather a fastener somehow freed itself. The trim piece has a semicircular hook of sorts that must be pushed upwards to engage the fastener on the inner part of the A pillar. So I carefully lined the hook up, pressed the trim piece firmly towards the A pillar (making sure the rubber seal didn't get caught within) and then gave it a solid, but not all-out thump with my hand to engage the fastener. Done deal.


John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 7,093 miles

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Well, Would You Look At That

April 06, 2011

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Radioactive mustard? No. Mood lighting!

It's too bad you only get to see this at night because that's the only time I can stand driving with our Sporty's sun shade open. Even on a cool, cloudy day, all that glass turns the inside of the Outlander into a low grade Easy Bake Oven.

Kurt Niebuhr, Photo Editor @ 6,313 miles

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Smells Like Team Spirit

March 23, 2011

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After 6,000 miles, multiple drivers and a couple of road trips, a new car smell still - remarkably - permeates our Outlander Sport. Mind you, the scent is curiously like that of a giant Band-Aid, leading me to believe that one of the staffers recently loaded up the O-Sport with several hundred rolls of athletic tape. Either that or the seat fabric and dash plastics were cooked up in a Johnson & Johnson lab.

Regardless, the Outlander Sport appeals in a way that I'm still trying to pin down.

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Mystery Mitsu

March 21, 2011

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The flipside to the O-Sport's great observatory sunroof: near total darkness at night. There are no overheard lights for the rear seat. Not a big deal if your passengers aren't trying to read a map. But a bigger deal when you're parked under dim streetlamps, or in a parking garage, and trying to fetch something from the rear seat or load items into the floor area. I'm curious why Mitsubishi didn't run an adjustable airplane-style reading light next to the grab handles.

Meanwhile, in the cargo area, you get a single, small lamp mounted just above the Rockford Fosgate subwoofer.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Big Sun

March 04, 2011

Here is a short video highlighting the single best feature of the Outlander Sport: Panaramic Sun Roof.

Scott Jacobs, Sr. Mgr. Photography

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Highway Drive

March 04, 2011

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Our Outlander Sport is a decent urban runabout. But I haven't found it particularly enjoyable for long-distance driving on the freeway. There are a couple reasons. One is noise. Road noise is prominent at times, and the car's big side mirrors kick up a fair amount of wind noise. This isn't to say that the O-Sport is making a racket -- in testing, we measured 69.2 db at 70 mph, compared to 72.9 db for our notably noisy Mazda 2 and 67.1 db for our Chevy Cruze -- but in general I find myself noticing wind, road and engine noise more in our Sport than I do in most other long-term cars.

I also haven't found the driver seat to be all that comfortable -- the cushioning is too flat and firm for my tastes. Oldham wrote he liked the comfort, though, so there would seem to be a divergent opinion here. I do like having a telescoping steering wheel, something our regular Outlander doesn't have.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Five Things I Like

February 28, 2011

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1) Sporty styling. Typically small crossovers are as generic as Kirkland. But the Outlander Sport looks sharp.

2) The sunroof. Liked a couple of us have noted before, it's really pretty impressive in the way it airs out the cabin when open.

3) Easy to park. Driving a vehicle with a small footprint is always nice.

4) Cargo space. Sometimes I need more space than a sedan's trunk for a bulky item, but not that much more. The Sport's 50 cubic feet is sufficient for a lot of slightly extraordinary tasks.

5) Shift paddles. They're a useful workaround for the economy-tuned CVT.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 5,114 miles

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Backseat Comfort

February 25, 2011

Outlander_sport_rseat.JPG Since the Outlander Sport is smaller than the regular Outlander, I was curious to find out how comfortable the backseat is. First I compared the two on Edmunds; the Sport measures about 3 inches less in rear legroom (36.3) and just a tad less headroom (37.9). Our Sport does have the panoramic sunroof, so that does take out an additional inch or so.

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Also Has Auto Wipers

February 18, 2011

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Found to my surprise that our Outlander Sport has rain-sensing wipers, too, just like our 528i. They come standard on the SE trim ($21,695 base price). The operation (matching wiper speed to the amount of rain) didn't seem as quite as ideal as the BMW's, but otherwise it's all the same benefits (or negatives, depending on your view) as everybody noted in the 528i comments.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: A Few Words About Leather

February 16, 2011

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It's February, so as soon as millions of us switched on the car this morning, we went right for the seat heater.

This is not because we are all wimps. (Well, some of us are, actually.) Instead it's because we're sitting in leather-upholstered seats.

And leather is the worst in winter.

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE: Excellent Seats

January 08, 2011

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I just spent most of the day driving our long-term 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. Nothing too exciting, just running errands and visiting a sick friend down in Irvine, California, about 50 miles south of the Oldham Estate.

And while the Outlander Sport won't be displacing the ZR1 from my Gotta Get One List anytime soon, there is a lot I like about this little crossover. I like the way it rides, I like the way it looks and I really like its seats.

The Outldander Sport's driver's seat is shaped well, sized right and it's not too firm. I find it just right for my 5 ft. 11 in. 180 lbs. bod. I haven't road tripped the Outlander Sport yet, which is of course the ultimate seat test, but I will soon and let you know if I feel the same way about the Mitsu's bucket after a few hours of Interstate.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 3,554 miles

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Hey, No One Mentioned This!

January 06, 2011

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I am evidently the last Edmunds editor to find out that our new long-term 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has a great, big glass roof. Usually, I don't like the idea of paying for such extravagances, but I am a sucker for Mitsu's Rockford-Fosgate sound systems (one of which is bundled with the roof in the $1,800 Premium package), so I guess I'd be making an exception here.

And indeed the roof serves its intended purpose. It opens up would otherwise be just another dank small, dim, grayscale cabin and blurs the psychological line between the compact Outlander Sport and the medium-size Outlander.

Alas, the cabin noise level is notably higher in the Sport than in the Outlander Sr. I could blame the roof, I suppose, but I'd guess the Sport also has less insulation throughout its body, along with one of the segment's noisier four-cylinder engines.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 3,455 miles

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Steering Wheel Lock

December 24, 2010

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Our 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has keyless entry and push-button start. I'm a big fan of both features. What I'm not a fan of is the "Steering Wheel Unlocked" warning, which chimes every time I turn off the car.

After awhile the chime made me laugh, though. Do you remember The Club? Maybe Mitsubishi has a secret, backroom deal with the makers of the theft-deterrent device and this is an effort to subliminally restore its popularity.

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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE: Road Trip +'s and -'s

December 21, 2010

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First stop on our road trip was Tahoe, and we were lucky enough to be driving our new Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. I say lucky because while we were in Tahoe it snowed 6 feet in town and almost 10 feet in the pass on US-50 and the Outlander's 4wd came in handy.

4wd isn't the only reason taking the Outlander on a road trip was great. In fact the best part of our Outlander on a road trip is the flexibility of the media system, it has RCA/Usb ins, CD player, and satellite radio. Virtually everything you could want to keep you entertained for a 480+ mile road trip our Outlander has it, and it's easy to use with a simple intuitive touch screen. The only real negative that we observed was the amount of road and wind noise when traveling at highway speeds.

Seth Compton, Field Producer @ 2589 miles

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