The new Outlander Sport starts at $18,495, for the ES model with a five-speed manual transmission, or $19,495 with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). An upscale SE model will also be offered—although only with the CVT. All-wheel drive is optional on the SE model, though all ES models have front-wheel drive.
The 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is essentially a lighter, shorter version of the Outlander—though it shares the same wheelbase as the Outlander—but it competes in the same size class as the Dodge Caliber and Toyota Matrix. While the Outlander fits up to seven passengers in three rows, the Outlander Sport seats five.
A 148-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (with 20 hp less than the Outlander's 2.4) powers the Outlander Sport, and we're eager to see how this model drives and handles as it marks the debut of a new electric power steering system for the brand. The Outlander Sport gets an EPA-rated 24 mpg city, 31 highway with the five-speed manual, or 25/31 with the CVT or 24/29 with all-wheel drive.
Standard features on the Outlander Sport ES include cruise control, steering-wheel controls, heated outside mirrors, tilt/telescopic steering, a USB port, and the new FUSE Hands-free Link System that we've tested in the 2010 Mitsubishi Outlander GT. All Outlander Sport models with the CVT do include steering-wheel paddle-shifters, and seven airbags are standard.
There are a couple of large option packages, available only on the top-of-the-line SE AWC (all-wheel-drive) model. A Premium Package adds a black roof rails, panoramic roof, LED illumination, and a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate Punch sound system with subwoofer, and Sirius Satellite Radio; a separate package pairs a hard-disk navigation system with music server, real-time traffic, a rearview camera system, and auxiliary video jack. Other sport and appearance packages are available throughout most of the lineup.
Each of these prices doesn't include Mitsubishi's $745 destination fee; the top-of-the-range SE with the Premium and Navigation packages will total $27,540.
Mitsubishi plans to turn its Outlander name into a sort of mini-brand, somewhat like Subaru has done with its Outback label. The automaker started that trend with the introduction of the 2010 Outlander GT earlier this year, and this fall the new Outlander Sport arrives.
We'll update you with full driving impressions as soon as we can spend a few days with the 2011 Outlander Sport.