2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Coming to North America

Staff - CAP staff
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Mitsubishi has a history of creating all-new models, or at least what other manufacturers would consider all-new, and giving them the same name as one of their popular models, with "Sport" tagged on at the end.  They did it with the Montero, the largest vehicle the automaker has ever sold in North American and very popular during the SUV craze days, the slightly smaller (and therefore sportier) Montero Sport, providing savings initially upon purchase and, although no one cared at the time, savings at the pump.  This time around, however, the Japanese brand is saying that the name Outlander Sport is only temporary, with a new name to be derived from a contest being held at the New York auto show where it was introduced to our market. 

Whatever the name, fuel economy continues to be at or near the top of everyone's list, and therefore the new Outlander Sport will not only cost less at the time of purchase, but its 7.6 L/100km EPA equivalent highway rating should increase its popularity further.  The fact that it's good looking won't hurt either. 

The Outlander Sport boasts the same design language as the rest of Mitsubishi's refreshed lineup, the regular Outlander having been updated for the current 2010 model year.  The new Outlander Sport is shorter than the current Outlander by a whopping 38 centimeters (15 inches), and sits lower to the ground for a more car-like stance.  Its smaller footprint helps it achieve such good fuel economy, of course, as does its lightweight plastic front fenders, electric power steering, wind-cheating 0.33 coefficient of drag and thrifty continuously variable transmission (CTV), complete with steering column-mounted magnesium paddles actuating six forward speeds; a five-speed manual will be standard. 

A new 148-horsepower 2.0-litre four-cylinder should cause this 1,380-kilo (3,042-pound) crossover to accelerate quickly, and the Outlander Sport will likely prove to be a deft handler too, as is normally the case with Mitsubishi vehicles, especially those based on the Lancer architecture.

Additionally, the Outlander Sport will be a true crossover, as it will be available with all-wheel drive.  The new AWD system, however, replaces the old hydraulically actuated differentials with electronically locking ones, saving weight.  According to reports, the new system delivers the same level of on- and off-road prowess.  It is expected to be adapted for use across the entire Mitsubishi lineup. 

When can we expect it?  It's slated as a 2011 model, so the Outlander Sport, or whatever it ends up being called, will likely arrive soon, and Mitsubishi could certainly use a boost in sales.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, Mitsubishi, 2011, Compact,

Organizations: Mitsubishi

Geographic location: North America

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