If someone told me that the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport was to be my daily driver for the next five years, I think I'd fall to my knees and weep. I've spent six months with the Outlander and the problem is what I've been carrying on about from the very start: Its just way too slow in just about every driving situation I've encountered.

The Outlander Sport's combination of a 148-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a continuously variable transmission is a bad choice. Trust me on this one, the five-speed manual gearbox is definitely the way to go. You'll save yourself from listening to the boomy engine tone every time you try to get any kind of acceleration. On a recent drive from Los Angeles to Palm Springs -- a round trip of about 250 miles -- I again realized that the Outlander's engine is no better suited to the open highway than it is for driving around town. Praying for more power when entering highways and passing remains a huge issue for me, causing anxiety and making any trip less than enjoyable. Handling is similarly disappointing, with an abundance of body roll that does little to instill driver confidence or fun.

Here's my biggest gripe: I don't think I've ever looked forward to driving the Outlander. Living with it is a purely functional experience. When purchasing a new vehicle and with so much choice out there, I think sheer driving pleasure has to be near the top of anybody's list.

Now for the good stuff: To its credit, the Mitsubishi does have numerous safety features, including standard all-disc antilock brakes, an electronic stability system, traction control, and seven airbags, a driver's-knee airbag and side curtains for both rows. Though the odometer now reads around 20,000 miles, reliability has been perfect. Build quality is good, as well. Evincing not so much as a squeak or a rattle, all feels solid and well put together. I would even say this Sport SE Premium cabin is a nice place to be. All controls are within easy reach, apart from the heated front seat switch, which is rather obscured with the front seat bolster padding to the right (passenger) and left (driver) of the center console.


Our Car
Service life 12 months/19,957 miles
Average fuel economy 23.5 mpg
CO2 emissions 0.83 lb/mi
Energy consumption 143 kW-hr/100mi
Unresolved problems None
Maintenance cost $245.32 (2 x oil change, inspection; 1 x rotate tires, air filter)
Normal-wear cost $0