What is it? Based on the same platform as the Lancer sedan, this entry-level SUV is a smaller version of the current Mitsubishi Outlander GT. Its almost 15 inches shorter than the GT and rides on a 105-inch wheelbase. The Sport is powered by a 148-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, similar to that in the Lancer. Both the base ES and uplevel SE versions use a CVT transmission; the SEs can be shifted like a manual, with paddle shifters on the steering wheel. The full complement of seven air bags includes a knee bag for the driver. All-wheel drive is optional on the SE. With front-wheel drive, the Outlander Sport starts at just under $19,000.
What's new or notable? The Sport uses regenerative braking, like a hybrid, to conserve fuel and has electric power steering. Its colorful backlit LCD gauge display has a section that tracks real-time fuel use and prods you to drive with maximum fuel efficiency. Front fenders are made from recycled plastic. Mitsubishi claims an EPA highway fuel economy rating of 31 mpg.
CR's take: For city dwellers who need an SUV, the Sport is the right size for urban driving and parking.
When will it be available? Fall 2010.
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