As buying a car isn't an easy decision with so many choices out there, a review such as this hopefully gives a sneak preview of long-term ownership.

Walk into any dealership, and a short test drive is likely to give only an instant first impression of a vehicle. While that's important, for me an emotional connection is critical, especially if you intend to keep a car for many years. With the Outlander Sport, I haven't quite made that bond between man and car.

The Outlander isn't a bad vehicle, and it does a lot of things well. However, during a recent road trip from Hermosa Beach south along Pacific Coast Highway, after about 80 miles I came to the conclusion that this was pretty much an uninvolving experience.

Let me explain. I woke up one Saturday morning and decided to go for a drive, nowhere in particular. I started off really early so traffic would not frustrate -- just man and metal in harmony.

I figured I'd drive until I got bored, and was prepared to go as far as the Mexican border. The coastal highway scenery is so beautiful, and the Mitsubishi's moonroof, which covers almost the whole roof, brings so much light into the cabin it's almost a convertible experience. (Actually sometimes that bright glare obscures the navigation screen, especially when using the reversing camera.)

So getting back to the driving, I was thinking about the vehicle's handling when a corner came up. The stability control suddenly kicked in with a warning light in the dash, and I got significant body roll. That scary moment set the limitations of the Outlander Sport for me. It doesn't like to be driven hard around corners or even on the straights. The noisy, rev-happy engine note is not a welcome sound when you're out for sheer driving pleasure.

On this trip I had a little taste of the straights and a few twisty roads with a bit of town driving, and with all that I was a bit flat with the Mitsubishi. It doesn't feel special. I think the overwhelming negative is the noisy, underpowered engine. It really does affect how far I'm prepared to drive for pure pleasure. I got as far as San Clemente and didn't want to go any further.

And there's a little problem with the seats: I actually had to stop and take off my belt because it was uncomfortably digging into the small of my back. The lower part of the seat is way too firm to the point where a chunky belt doesn't cushion into the seat, but rather sticks hard into your back.

I'm beginning to think the Outlander Sport is good for getting from point A to B. For an exciting driving experience, I would look elsewhere.


Our Car
Months/miles in service5/6139
Avg econ/CO222.9 mpg/0.85 lb/mi
Energy cons147 kW-hr/100 mi
Unresolved problemsNone
Maintenance cost$0
Normal-wear cost$0