New 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Crosses the Line Between CUV, Sport Wagon
Mitsubishi plans to bolster its impressive North American lineup with the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport which is a compact crossover that is already available in Europe and Japan as the Mitsubishi ASX and Mitsubishi RVR, respectively. Based off the mid-size Mitsubishi Outlander, the all-new Outlander Sport adds a smaller, sportier and more fuel-efficient crossover to Mitsubishi's lineup of vehicles. Although Mitsubishi hasn't said when it plans to introduce the 2011 Outlander Sport, it is likely to go on sale in the United States by the end of this year with a base price that should be well under $20,000. Mitsubishi unveiled its newest model at the New York International Auto Show earlier this year, but at the time the compact crossover was simply referred to as the Mitsubishi CUV.
Inspired by the styling of the 2007 Mitsubishi Concept-cX, the Outlander Sport carries the same aggressive front-end styling as the Mitsubishi Lancer and the styling is completely unique from the larger Mitsubishi Outlander except for the exterior door mirrors. As the naming would suggest, the Outlander Sport has a much sportier appearance than its bigger crossover counterpart thanks to a less boxy rear end, rounded wheel arches and hard sharp side body creases. This unique and aggressive styling should help it stand apart from other competitors in the compact crossover segment including the Nissan Rogue and the Hyundai Tucson. Despite being an entry-level model, the Outlander Sport will offer plenty of luxury options including a panoramic sunroof lined with LED mood lights, a 40-giagabyte hard drive-based navigation system and a nine-speaker, 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate audio system.
Powering the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is the aluminum 2.0-liter MIVEC inline-four that is tuned to produce 148 horsepower and 143 lb-ft of torque. With a standard front-wheel drive layout and optional all-wheel drive, the base Outlander Sport ES will come with five-speed manual transmission and the Outlander Sport SE will have the more fuel-efficient continuously variable transmission (CVT). Another benefit to both performance and fuel economy should be the new electric power steering system. Mitsubishi has yet to announce expected fuel economy estimates or performance figures for either model. Riding on the same 105.1-inch wheelbase as the seven-passenger Outlander, the Outlander Sport has an overall length that is 14.6 inches shorter, a height that is almost two inches shorter and a width that is 1.2 inches narrower.
While the larger Outlander model features a three-row, seven-passenger configuration, the Outlander Sport will have just two rows and seat five passengers. Passenger and cargo volume should be very similar to the Mitsubishi Lancer Sportback. Mitsubishi went to great lengths to give the Outlander Sport a quieter, more refined cabin by adding sound deadening material on the floor, cowl and headliner and equipping the crossover with 'low-noise' tires (although it's not clear if these are low-rolling resistance tires). For added safety, the Outlander Sport will have seven airbags (including a driver knee airbag) and a brake override system that has been in the news lately following the unintended acceleration concerns with Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Mitsubishi expects its newest model to receive five-star crash ratings for frontal- and side-impact protection from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
'The all-new 2011 Outlander Sport is a reflection of what happens when Mitsubishi Motors focuses its engineering and design resources on the mission of developing a fun, expressive, affordable, yet eco-friendlier vehicle,' said Shinichi Kurihara, President and CEO of Mistubishi Motors North America.