The Outlander Sport is definitely growing on me. Now that I'm more familiar with the controls, she feels like a good fit. I haven't yet struggled to figure out anything, and hooking up my iPod was pretty easy -- basically plug and play from the touch-screen infotainment screen. The sound quality is amazing thanks to the nine speakers and 10-inch subwoofer.

Speaking about the infotainment controls, there's a really useful button to the left of the rev-counter on the dash that cycles through interesting information such as the Mitsubishi's range in miles, average miles per gallon, and average speed. And like an increasing number of vehicles, a service reminder flashes when its time for maintenance.

I also appreciate the Eco mode indicator display that turns green when high fuel efficiency is achieved. Of course, in the Outlander Sport I rarely see the green indicator because the gutless 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine - the only one available on this crossover -- requires a heavy foot on the gas pedal. That's my ongoing issue with the Outlander Sport. Maybe Mitsubishi should have its performance division, Ralliart, find more performance from this engine since 148 horsepower is not cutting it. The similarly sized Hyundai Tucson, for example, offers a 2.0-liter engine with 165 horsepower and Nissan's small Juke has a 188-horsepower 1.6-liter engine under the hood.

A fix may be on the way for the Outlander Sport. In the 2012 model year, Mitsubishi says the compact crossover will see a recalibrated engine claimed to improve acceleration and responsiveness. With a boost in power to match the sport badge on the back, Mitsubishi will be on its way to crafting a much more desirable sport/utility, though folks taller than six feet sitting in the back seats with their heads pressed against the roof might have a different opinion.

Our fully loaded Outlander Sport SE has plenty of extra equipment that adds up to a whopping $5035 in options. Without all the extras, I think this SUV would be a hard sell. The exterior sport package ($995) includes large rear spoiler, front corner extensions, rear diffuser garnish, front chrome lower garnish, and a very nice alloy fuel door. We'd recommend the extra trim, since without it, your Outlander Sport would appear even less sporty. Spending $28,825 on a vehicle like the Outlander Sport is a tough call, but with a few tweaks under the hood, it might be a more appealing package.

Our Car
Months/miles in service 4/5590
Avg econ/CO2 23.2 mpg/0.84 lb/mi
Energy cons 145 kW-hr/100 mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $0
Normal-wear cost $0