Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2011 – A Bit Of Everything (PHOTOS)
Mitsubishi’ has focused their attention, and with great results, on too names in particular: the Lancer and the Outlander. With the Galant toiling away in obscurity and the Eclipse a heavyweight shell of its former self, the Japanese automaker’s compact sedan and crossover lines are the two remaining bright spots in its portfolio (all-electric iMiEV aside).
According to Bryan Arnett, Mitsubishi’s Manager of Product Strategy, the Outlander brand is set to expand in the coming years, and the Sport is a smaller variant of the CUV with sporty spirit, but in balanced doses.
Compared to the usual Outlander, the Sport 2011 has the same wheelbase of 105.1 inches, but the it’s overall length has been cut down from 183.7 to 169.1 inches. Overall the Sport is lighter with some 400 pounds! While there’s a redesigned rear floor pan, new front deck and cross-member, nearly everything underneath has carried over from the standard Outlander, including its front MacPherson struts and multi-link rear suspension, which have been slightly tweaked with different spring rates and a smaller diameter rear sway bar.
The jet plane-looking grille and square hatch ending makes the car look aggressive enough, but manages to be all about comfort with the front and rear headroom unchanged despite the smaller height. Inside most of the interior is refreshed, with a more dark theme and fauxluminum and chrome accents, and better materials than even the top of the Lancer line. The dual gauges are bisected by a multi-information display, all of which remains clear and readable no matter the lighting. The standard stereo is an ode to simplicity, while the optional sat-nav/rear-view camera and 710-watt, nine-speaker Rockford-Fosgate stereo brings the noise and does its part to upgrade the dash. Add in some adjustable seats, with quality material and optional leather. Also noteworthy are the standard USB and Bluetooth connectivity and a HDD-based navigation system available, that makes the Sport well worth it’s penny on the tech part.
The new Outlander Sport is powered by a 148 horsepower at 6,000 RPM and 145 pound-feet of torque at 4,200 RPM engine, the same MiVEC-equipped 2.0-liter four-cylinder featured on the Lancer line-up. With the Sportronic CVT equipped ($22k), the Outlander Sport 2011 is estimated by internal Mitsubishi test to manage 31 mpg on the highway, which is impressive. Matched with Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control doest not come with the standard low-priced ES model, but SE can be had with AWC, complete with a user-selectable terrain system that doles out power to either the front wheels or all four depending on user settings and roar conditions, and other important factors like: Are you eating popcorn? Better not, I think that’s illegal in some states. Erm…
Mitsubishi also saw fit to equip the Sport with an “Eco” light on the dash to encourage lighter throttle inputs and a new Brake Energy Regeneration System which, partnered with a redesigned alternator, captures kinetic energy during deceleration to reduce electrical load.
For the States, the split between models neans the ES has 16-inch rims (steel or cast aluminum), while the SE gets 18-inch alloys and foglights with chrome bezels. Oh, also a Mitsubishi Motors North America representative said the U.S. would get “foxier wheels.”
The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2011 comes standard with seven airbags, stability control, ABS and Hill Start Assistant. So what about prices? You’ll pay some $19,000 for the ES with the five-speed manual, below $22k for the SE/CVT combo and less than $25,000 for the full nav-equipped package. If the cross-over market gets as fiery as specialists predict, you can bet Mitsubishi has a strong player for the fight. We’ll be hearing more of the Outlander if good things happen to the name, just like this Sport 2011 model.