2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE: Not Really.
February 09, 2011
I'm the type of guy who pulls for the underdog, and that includes Mitsubishi. I've crowed to anyone who will listen how my dad's 2001 Galant has been a gem. Bought it new and it's given him not a lick of trouble in 130k miles apart from a recently departed A/C compressor. And it performs and rides like it has half that mileage.
But I have to say I'm disappointed with Mitsu's misnamed compact crossover...
Outlander SPORT?! Are you kidding? Don't get me wrong -- I'm not some single-minded gearhead that demands rip-snorting acceleration out of even four-cylinder-powered utilitarian vehicles. But this thing feels like it just rolled out of bed when you lean into it. And it even sounds annoyed when you do so.
Part of the blame lies with the CVT, which feels like it's doing its part to suck the life out of the engine. Yes, working the tranny manually helps as you can keep the revs up to get somewhat peppy performance, but that's gonna hurt the fuel mileage. Maybe a manual gearbox would be a better choice. Never mind -- that's only available on the the entry-level ES. Besides, although a real manual version would be more spirited and fun to drive, the reality is most folks shopping this segment get automatics.
Granted, these impressions are just based on my commute -- perhaps a stint on a twisty two-laner or a long road trip may earn it some more favorable comments. But for now -- and as a daily commuter -- no thanks. If I wanted a small crossover SUV that has "Sport" in its character and not just in its model name, I'd go with a Kia Sportage or Hyundai Tucson, hands down.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 4, 633 miles