Despite all the talk about green cars and performance cars lately, crossovers are still one of the most popular vehicle segments, and Mitsubishi will be adding to its lineup when it unveils the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. Based largely off the 2007 Mitsubishi Concept-cX, the styling of the North American-bound Outlander Sport was unveiled at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show branded as the Mitsubishi ASX (pictured here) and is already on sale in Japan as the Mitsubishi RVR. The production version of the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport will be introduced at the end of this month at the 2010 New York International Auto Show with production starting toward the end of the year.
As the naming would suggest, there are many similarities between the Outlander and the Outlander Sport including the same underpinning and similar styling both derived from the Mitsubishi Lancer sedan. Both crossovers ride on an identical wheelbase that measures 105.1 inches, but while the Outlander focuses on maximizing interior space and offering seating for up to seven passengers, the Outlander Sport offers a more manageable size with a sportier design. The Outlander Sport has an overall length that is 14.6 inches shorter, a height that is almost 3 inches shorter and a width that is 1.2 inches narrower than the Outlander.
Despite the obvious size differences, the new Outlander Sport shares many design cues with the bigger Outlander, which is obvious when compared side by side. Both feature the same shark-like front snout as the Lancer including angular headlamps, but the Sport gets much sportier styling with a less boxy rear end, rounded wheel arches and hard sharp side body creases. Adding a true crossover look, the Sport features black plastic cladding encircling the lower edges of it and black roof racks which both help make it appear much taller than it is. This unique and aggressive styling should help it stand apart from other competitors in the compact crossover segment including Nissan Rogue and the Hyundai Tucson.
Inside, the Outlander Sport will feature a five-passenger layout that is very familiar with current Mitsubishi models. The instrument gauge cluster and HVAC controls are almost identical to every current Mitsubishi vehicle, while the panoramic roof and sport front bucket seats help give the Sport its name. The Sport will also feature more luxurious features such as the keyless entry and push button starting and a Rockford-Fosgate premium audio system. No word yet as to how much space the 60/40 split rear seat will offer, but it should be about comparable to the Lancer sedan.
Under the hood, the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport will be introduced with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine paired up with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), but future engine options could include a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder shared with the Lancer Ralliart. The new crossover will probably offer both front- and all-wheel drive layouts with the former focusing on maximizing fuel efficiency. Keeping up with the competitors, Mitsubishi is probably aiming for a highway fuel economy number north of 30 miles per gallon which shouldn't be that hard with the bigger, bulkier Outlander getting up to 27 mpg highway in its current form.
Following the cancellation of the Mitsubishi Raider pickup truck, the 2011 Outlander Sport will once again give Mitsubishi a six-model lineup. More details on the Outlander Sport should be available in a couple weeks, but we expect the new model to be priced below the current Outlander ($20,840).