2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: Good at Mundane Sports
March 25, 2011
Last night, there wasn't much sport to my life. Our long-term 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and I went to Trader Joe's in the rain; then, we drove 25 miles out to the San Gabriel Valley in a downpour. I turned the dial on the Outlander Sport's console from 2WD to 4WD (because I felt like it), but it was slick out there, no matter what your tires or drive wheels. On the way home, I drove by a nice new E92 coupe that had just been punted into the wall on the East LA interchange. Too bad, guy.
On this night, though, the Outlander Sport perfectly satisfied my transportation requirements.
You've likely gotten the impression that our Outlander Sport doesn't really have an engine under-hood. This is sadly true. This 148-hp 2.0-liter is a slightly lower-power version of the engine we had in our old long-term 2008 Lancer GTS, which was maybe 100 pounds lighter and equally slow. Except that we had a nice five-speed manual gearbox to keep us occupied in the Lancer, instead of the Sport's fun-killing CVT. (You can get a manual if you order a base O'Sport ES.)
Never mind that, though, because last night I was all about steeaaddy-as-she-goes acceleration up to 65 mph, and the O'Sport does that just fine. Meanwhile, various V6 Camrys around me were flooring it, scaring themselves, then slamming on the brakes. Also, as a bonus, I couldn't really hear the usual engine racket from the Mitsu's 2.0-liter over the rain and my public radio.
Visibility was good, as the Outlander Sport has HID low-beams, foglights and rain-sensing wipers. I hadn't realized it had the auto wipers before I set, but it started taking care of me in that regard as soon as I started the engine.
I also like the O'Sport's ride, which is very similar to Outlander Sr., as it offers reasonable comfort and good control over expansion joints and bumps. The electric-assist power steering is well calibrated, too. There's a steady, secure feel on center, with pretty natural effort levels off center and good precision.
Mind you, there are plenty of vehicles out there that could have provided the same experience last night, but I happened to be in the Outlander Sport and it happened to be a fairly pleasant experience.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 6,207 miles