The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a crossover manufactured by Mitsubishi Motors, a Japanese auto manufacturer. The Outlander was introduced in 2001 in its domestic market of Japan, where it was known as the Mitsubishi Airtrek. The Outlander was based on a concept vehicle called the Mitsubishi ASX (which stands for Active Sports Crossover) that had previously been revealed at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The ASX concept exemplified what Mitsubishi thought were the key characteristics of the newly emerging crossover category: providing off-road and sport driving capacity while maintaining car-like driveability, economics, and fuel economy. The name Airtrek was chosen to evoke those abilities, since Mitsubishi believed the combination of the words “air” and “trek” evoked feelings of journeying in search of adventure. These characteristics were key as Mitsubishi developed the Outlander and other vehicles into the vehicle that would eventually become the Outlander Sport.
The Mitsubishi Outlander began to be exported to North America in 2003 to replace the outgoing Mitsubishi Montero Sport. Mistubishi introduced the second generation of the Outlander in 2005, even though they were still producing and selling the first generation. This was possible because though the first generation was known by different names in different markets, the Outlander name was universal across the second generation.
While the early generations of the Outlander were being produced and refined, Mitsubishi was also selling a vehicle called the RVR (though, in the United States, it was called the Mitsubishi Expo LRV). The RVR, a compact MPV four-door wagon, was introduced in 1991, entered its second generation in 1997, and was discontinued in 2002. Mitsubishi decided to revive the RVR and reintroduced it in 2010, although the new third generation RVR was a compact crossover instead of a multi-purpose vehicle. In other markets, such as Europe, Australia and South America, Mitsubishi resurrected the Mitsubishi ASX name for this vehicle, and it was shown at the Geneva Motor Show in March of 2010. In the United States, though, it was introduced as the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, and premiered at the 2010 New York International Auto Show.
The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is based on the platform of the Outlander, modified and shortened. The North American version of the vehicle got a 2-liter gasoline engine that yielded 150 horsepower. The Outlander Sport can come with a five-speed manual transmission, a six-speed manual transmission, or a six-speed continuously variable automatic transmission. It is a front-engine, front-wheel-drive vehicle, although a four-wheel-drive option is available. The base model Outlander Sport has 18-inch alloy wheels, seven airbags, and wireless integration with USB auxiliary input. Options include a navigation system, remote keyless entry, a touchscreen audio control screen with a rearview camera, satellite radio, and HID headlights. Mitsubishi has concentrated on making the Outlander Sport a budget-conscious option in the crowded crossover market, as well as reasonably fuel efficient (although there are no hybrid drivetrain options available for the vehicle). As of 2012, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is built at a Mitsubishi production facility in Illinois in the United States, for North American market vehicles as well as a number of other global markets.