A road-ready version of Mitsubishi’s compact Concept-CX enters production as the 2011 Outlander Sport. It shares its 105.1-inch wheelbase with the other Outlander compact crossovers, but casts a much shorter shadow with reduced rear overhang. That drops seating from seven to five, but makes Sport’s stockier silhouette far more aggressive.

Up front is yet another rendition of Mitsubishi’s trademark fighter jet grille, flanked by Evo Ten-style HID headlights. Out back, taillights are reminiscent of the Lancer Sportback, but are much easier on the eyes.

The Sport’s all-aluminum 2.0-liter is a reworked version of the Lancer’s 4-cylinder. With 148 horsepower on tap and a curb weight just 100 pounds north of the Lancer, the Outlander Sport felt peppy- but not exactly quick- on our Sonoma, California preview drive. Road holding, however, is far above small crossover class standards.

Plus, front-drive Outlander Sport models are rated at 31 miles per gallon highway. That’s with both the standard five-speed manual, and the optional CVT automatic. A shiftable CVT is standard with four-wheel drive. Naturally, stability and traction control, ABS, and Hill Start Assist are included on all Sports.

As is a well-rendered cabin that’s surprisingly spacious, if a little low-rent. Optional nine-speaker audio is from Rockford Fosgate. And the Sport still has true crossover virtues. Drop the seats for nearly 50 cubic feet of cargo space, almost as much as the Volkswagen Tiguan. In showrooms this October, Sport prices will start under $20,000.


"The Vue Two-Mode Hybrid proves that power and efficiency can coexist, and in a modern crossover you can have them both without skimping on any ability." – Ben Davis


  • 2.0-liter 4-cylinder:
  • 148-horsepower:
  • Starts under $20,000: