My wife and I took the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport from the warm Southern California coast to the cold Rocky Mountains. We weren't able to make it to Utah to visit family during the holidays, so we decided a mid-January trip was in order. Also, we needed to make a storage unit run and what better way to bring backcarry our boxes than in a crossover.

Initially, the cargo hatch seems a bit small when you open the fifth door, but after removing the rear window shelf and folding the rear seats down, it opens up substantially. The 148-horsepower hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder and CVT transmission provide adequate -- though not thrilling -- power for moving the mini-SUV around. I left it in two-wheel drive (front- drive) to maximize fuel mileage. We took the Outlander Sport from sea level to 4500 feet above sea level in Salt Lake City. On the way, we climbed several summits over 6000 feet including one at 6500 feet. The Outlander SportMitsubishi handled them all on the way up. We made the trip up in one day going about nine 9 mph [above?}the posted limit. The leather seats were comfortable after an 11 11-hour drive.

Our first stop the morning after we arrived in Utah was at our storage unit. After folding down the rear seats, we loaded the cargo hold of the Outlander Sport to the ceiling fromwith our boxes. We even stuffed as much as we could on the rear passenger floor behind the front seats. When all was loaded, the rear of the crossover sat about an inch lower than the front end. During our time running around the Salt Lake/Utah County area to visit family and friends, the Outlander SportMitsubishi only felt like it was only slightly weighed down.

We met my cousin and her husband the second last morning for breakfast before leaving Salt Lake. It had been pouring rain since mid-night, and the temperature was in the mid-40s. I We made the 40 40-mile trip for breakfast in two-wheel drive2WD mode. On the way back to father-in-law's house to finish gathering our stuff for the return trip, the rain was coming down harder. I reluctantly switched the cute-Ute ute into automatic four-wheel drive4WD to enhance stability. Once we had packed up the remainder of our things, we set out to for Las Vegas. Around noon (12 hours after the rain started), the temperature began dropping. As we headed for to the on-ramp of I-15, the temp was now 37 degrees and falling.

I got a message on the Outlander's information display flashed a warning of "possible slippery roads." Was it the temperature, the automatic four-wheel drive4WD doing its thing, or the rain rain-sensing wipers that prompted the warning? Maybe it was a combination of the three. We headed south to Las Vegas with the rain pounding. Fortunately, the temp held steady as we went south. (We got out before the rain up eventually turned to snow and the water on the ground became a sheet of ice below.) It rained hard most of the way and didn't let up until we were south of Mesquite, Nevada.

With the loaded-down Outlander Sport switched to AWD, we were able to maintain posted speeds of 80 mph through in the rain most of the drive to to Nevada. The drivetrain struggled to maintain 80 over a few of the summits. The revs also climbed pulling the hills. I put it in "manual" mode, and the CVT was in its theoretical fourth gear climbing the five 5- to seven 7-percent grades. The AWD system felt confident in the rain even weighted down. It rained hard most of the way, and didn't let up until we were south of Mesquite, Nevada.

We spent that night with family in Las Vegas. The next day, we continued our trip back to Southern California. The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a nice size crossover, and we were able to bring home everything we planned on plus a few extras (a trip in the Nissan NV would have probably allowed us to grab the rest of our things from storage). It Still, the Outlander could use more power. Unloaded, it is adequate; loaded, it is disappointing. Mitsubishi should offer the 2.4-liter from the Lancer, and Galant, and the defunct Eclipse as the base engine, and offer the turbocharged 2.0-liter from the Lancer Ralliart as the step-up engine. In its current form, the powertrain keeps the Outlander Sport from being worthy of its asking price.


Our Car
Service life 9 months/13,874 miles
Average fuel economy 22.5 mpg
CO2 emissions 0.86 lb/mi
Energy consumption 150 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost 000.0 in
Normal-wear cost $0