Friday, March 1, 2013

While pop lacks, Outlander Sport changes work


Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at www.sacbee.com/business

Sacramento, California – Quick, name the best-selling vehicle in Mitsubishi Motors’ North American model lineup?

It’s the five-passenger Outlander Sport crossover SUV, and kudos to you if that was the first answer that escaped your lips.

And for 2013, the OS comes with a fairly impressive list of improvements inside and out.

I liked my tester – a 2013 SE model with two-wheel drive – right from the start, thanks to a very sharp-looking “Rally Red/Black” color scheme that stood out from the crowd.  Mitsubishi redesigned the front end and did a nice job of it.  Viewed head-on, the Outlander Sport comes off not only as sporty, but downright elegant too.

Peering at the sticker reveals numerous high marks in government safety ratings, plus pretty fair miles per gallon numbers of 24 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway.  Starting price on the sticker is pretty easy on the eyes as well – $22,295, although mine was dressed up with options for a bottom line of $27,170.

Interior space: Really good.  I found that I could actually stretch out my 6-4 frame in the back and not injure myself.  Believe me, that’s a rarity for me.

A long list of comfort/convenience features kept me busy.  Most were easy to reach and to use, but I struggled mightily with a satellite radio feature that the previous car user had coded to “skip” certain stations … naturally they were stations I regularly listen to.  Took me 10 minutes to eliminate the skip feature.  I’m sure there’s a genius reason for having it in there, but I don’t want to hear it.

On the roll, everything was pretty good.  I know fuel mileage is king here in California and elsewhere in these days of $4-a-gallon-plus gasoline, but the compact 2-liter, four-cylinder, 148-horsepower engine in this crossover falls short of doing the heavy lifting.  I found myself hammering the throttle to produce noisy, but necessary accelerations.

I’m discovering that more-fuelish, less-oomph engines are now the norm for numerous SUVs on the market.  More about that in coming weeks.

For now, consider this Outlander Sport an attractive, functional, albeit a bit horsepower-challenged cargo/carbon-based life form carrier that’s within the range of most budgets.  And the warranties provide serious backup to the as-is package.

I enjoyed my week in the Outlander Sport.  During that time, it gave me relatively little to complain about.

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