A base Outlander Sport ES with the five-speed manual transmission weighs just 3,042 pounds; a CVT and magnesium-alloy paddle shifters are optional. For comparison, a base Lancer tips the scales at 2,911 pounds, Hyundai Tucson at 3,179 pounds, and the Honda CR-V at 3,386 pounds. Part of the Outlander Sport's light weight comes from the recycled plastic front fenders and thinner high-strength steel in the hood, tailgate, and doors. Interior materials, we're told, are also lighter and we're curious to discover whether the price of the interior weight savings is interior quality.

Inside, the driver should benefit from a high contrast LCD instrument display meter and an indicator that shows when the Outlander Sport is driven efficiently. Mitsubishi will also offer an alternative to Ford's SYNC called FUSE, a hands-free technology using Bluetooth designed to make answering phone calls and controlling the entertainment system easier and safer.

Speaking of safety, the Outlander Sport has seven air bags, Active Stability Control, and Hill Start Assist, which helps prevent the vehicle from rolling backward on a steep hill.

The Outlander Sport's 34.8-foot turning radius also puts it ahead of its competitors, but we wonder which vehicles Mitsubishi really thinks customers are going to cross-shop the Outlander Sport against. The regular Outlander is 14.6 inches longer than the Outlander Sport and even the short-for-the-class Hyundai Tucson is about four inches longer. Bigger is certainly not always better, but we imagine the Outlander Sport will have to be sold to those who really don't need a vehicle to carry four people and their luggage.

Dimensionally, the Scion xB is within two inches of the Outlander Sport's length, one-half inch taller, and just slightly narrower. Regardless of who is considering the Outlander Sport, the relatively handsome crossover which is set to hit U.S. this fall adds to Mitsubishi's lineup and moves the automaker one step closer to reaching 100,000 units a year in the U.S. in three years.