Road noise is an issue...but the price is right
That said, we're really impressed with the Outlander Sport's combination of responsiveness and ride quality. The suspension does a great job of absorbing minor road shocks; so it's surprising that when you load up the suspension a bit more in cornering that it feels as good as it does. Unfortunately, the Outlander Sport doesn't get the more sophisticated Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) all-wheel-drive system that's in the Lancer Evolution family and the top-of-the-line Outlander GT, but you'd only miss that in rally-car-style driving or in conditions like slushy winter roads.
Interior controls are much like those of the Lancer family, which is to say they're very straightforward and feel good...in a non-luxurious sense. Sound system controls are mounted high, while climate controls—including a full auto mode—are mounted below. There's a little more soft touch here—mainly in the form of a layer of padded material that's been added to the dash—but it's still not even remotely an upscale look or feel.
The bottom-line sticker of our test Outlander Sport SE AWD was just $25,575, and that included the $1,800 Premium Package that brings the panoramic sunroof, Rockford Fosgate premium audio with subwoofer, Sirius satellite radio, a 6-CD changer, and black roof rails. Standard equipment is already impressive, with the SE including automatic climate control, heated front seats and mirrors, the FUSE Bluetooth hands-free system, and a good set of steering-wheel control for audio functions. Safety kit includes the expected stability control, anti-lock brakes, and side and side-curtain bags, and the Outlander Sport also comes with front knee bags.
If you can look past the Outlander Sport's boomy interior and just-adequate powertrain performance, the Outlander Sport stands out as quite a deal—especially for the base front-wheel-drive model, at $19,275 including destination.
The virtual test drive might have been a gimmick, but Mitsubishi had nothing to cover up here; take one out for a drive and you'll find this to be one of the best takes on 'tall small' yet.