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2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport was new.


Performance: 7.7

The automotive press says that while the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport’s name makes it sounds like one of the most fun-to-drive SUVs in the class, that’s not that case. With 148 horsepower, significant body roll, a loud continuously variable transmission and imprecise steering, the Outlander Sport is limited to mundane driving tasks.

While the press gripes about the Outlander Sport’s underpowered engine, they love its fuel economy ratings. The Outlander Sport gets up to 25/31 mpg city/highway, which are the highest non-hybrid ratings in the class.

  • "The most responsive and fun-to-drive model of the lineup is the lowest priced, five-speed manual ES model. The front-wheel-drive powertrain saves some weight, and the ability to row your own gears makes the manual feel sprightlier than the CVT." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "On the road, the little four feels surprisingly peppy and while it won't win any drag races, it should stay on pace with its competitors." -- Motor Trend
  • "So while acceleration isn't exactly blistering, it's not bad, especially with the manual transmission." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Even with the Sport’s lower curb weight, 148 hp is not enough to generate anything approximating face-distorting acceleration." -- Car and Driver
  • "On the open road this motor, the result of a joint engineering venture involving Mitsubishi, Hyundai and Chrysler, is underwhelming." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

The Toyota RAV4 has an optional V6 engine, and the Mazda CX-7 has a turbocharged option, but the 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport doesn’t offer any upgrades. It’s only available with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. When test drivers hopped inside the Outlander Sport, they hoped its small frame would make this compact SUV more fun-to-drive than its competitors. That wasn’t the case. They found the Outlander Sport to be underpowered and generally underwhelming.

One reason why reviewers dislike the Outlander Sport’s performance so much is because its automatic transmission is a continuously variable transmission, which they say is loud and unrefined. That’s not the case with all CVTs, but it is with the Outlander Sport. According to the EPA, the Outlander Sport gets up to 25/31 mpg city/highway with the CVT, which is fantastic. Those numbers drop to 24/31mpg city/highway with a manual transmission. All-wheel drive is also available, and with it, the Outlander Sport gets 24/29 mpg city/highway.

  • "Acceleration with the CVT is slightly quicker. With either transmission, the engine tends to run out of steam at high speeds prompting a deep stab of the accelerator pedal or a downshift to summon the meager passing reserves. All Outlander Sport models come with a brake-override feature that reduces engine power when the brake pedal is depressed during acceleration." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Overall, a very underwhelming experience." -- Edmunds
  • "It's also quite slow. Without the benefit of turbocharging or direct injection, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder delivers just 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. Acceleration is merely adequate." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Even with the Sport’s lower curb weight, 148 hp is not enough to generate anything approximating face-distorting acceleration." -- Car and Driver
  • "We floored it as we attempted to pass other cars on the highway, which only resulted in moderate acceleration and a horrible straining sound from the engine compartment." -- CNET

Handling and Braking

Opinions of the Outlander Sport’s handling and braking capabilities vary widely. Critiques of the Outlander Sport’s steering capabilities range from poor to good, and there are numerous complaints of body roll. For a better handler, the auto press suggests the Honda CR-V. As for its braking abilities, some reviewers say the Outlander Sport’s brakes are strong while others think the brakes react slowly to driver input. 

  • "On the open undulating roads surrounding Sonoma's Infineon Raceway, the Outlander Sport delivered a ride and handling compromise that's a near-perfect balance." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "If the two-wheel drive ES has a shortcoming, though, it's in the handling department. Our pre-production ride exhibited quite a bit of body roll on turn-in and didn't feel planted at higher speeds. A switch over to a pre-production SE model with Mitsubishi's fantastic All Wheel Control all-wheel drive quickly cured those problems." -- Motor Trend
  • "The significant brake dive and extended stopping distances had us rethinking our daily braking points." -- Edmunds

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