First Test: 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE AWD

Is Value Enough To Replace Performance?

Scott Evans
Jul 30, 2010
Mitsubishi isn't a name you hear much, but the new 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport could change that. We recently sampled the new compact crossover and came away impressed. Now, we've had a chance to put one through the paces on our test track and see how it really stacks up against the competition.
Photo 2/16   |   2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Rear Three Quarter Red
As we noted in our First Drive, the Outlander Sport's 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine isn't especially impressive on paper. Offering 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque, it's down a minimum of 20 horsepower against every other vehicle in its competitive set. Our tester was equipped with a continuously variable automatic (a five-speed manual is optional) and Mitsubishi's Super-All Wheel Control all-wheel drive system (front-wheel drive is standard). While it isn't deal-breaking on the road, the test track tells a different story.
In fact, it's a rather predictable story. Down on power, the Outlander Sport needs 10.1 seconds to reach 60 mph despite its competitive 3362-pound curb weight. That puts the Mitsubishi at the back of the pack, a full second or more behind its competition. The quarter-mile requires 17.1 seconds and is dispatched at 79.4 mph, again well behind the pack.
Photo 3/16   |   2011 Mitsubishi Outlander SE Front View
Things get better when you add a curve or two. On the skid pad, the S-AWC takes over and spits out a respectable 0.76 g average, on the low end of the class but still competitive. It's the same story on the figure eight, where the Outlander Sport pulls off a 28.9-second lap at 0.56 g average, again on the low side but still a match for the competition. The story is a bit better in the braking test, where the Mitsubishi finishes mid-pack, stopping in 125 feet from 60 mph.
Luckily, raw performance isn't the Outlander Sport's selling point. Mitsubishi is instead aiming at value shoppers, offering a lot of content for a little money. Standard features include Bluetooth, USB audio inputs, a tilting and telescoping steering wheel, air conditioning, power everything, and Fuse, a Ford Sync-like voice-control technology. Options include navigation, a monster Rockford Fosgate stereo with satellite radio, a panoramic sunroof, HID headlights, and heated front seats.
Photo 13/16   |   2011 Mitsubishi Outlander SE Shifter
The value proposition comes in the pricing. Though not finalized, the base Outlander Sport is expected to come in under $19,000, putting it ahead of most of the competitive set. Up-market SE models like our tester should start under $23,000 and a fully loaded model is expected to top out at $26,500, just $2500 more than a base Volkswagen Tiguan. Are the savings and features enough to make up for the lackluster performance? We'll have to have a comparison test and find out.
Base price $22,800 (est)
Price as tested $26,500 (est)
Vehicle layout Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door, SUV
Engine 2.0L/148-hp/145-lb-ft DOHC 16-valve 4-cyl I-4
Transmission cont. variable auto
Curb weight (f/r dist) 3362 lb (58 / 42%)
Wheelbase 105.1 in
Length x width x height 169.1 x 69.7 x 64.2 in
0-60 mph 10.1 sec
Quarter mile 17.7 sec @ 78.4 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 125 ft
Lateral acceleration 0.76 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight 28.9 sec @ 0.56 g (avg)
EPA city/hwy fuel econ 24 / 29 mpg (est)
CO2 emissions 0.75 lb/mile (est)
On sale in U.S. October 2010



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