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2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.4 SEL AWC
The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.4 SEL AWC crossover is practical and competent but only mildly sporty.

Price: $25,895

It’s a shame many Americans likely will overlook Mitsubishi’s 2018 Outlander Sport 2.4 SEL AWC crossover because this outfit has made major competition-event winning cars and trucks.

Mitsubishi is trying to make a comeback in this country with more mainstream vehicles such as its all-wheel drive 2018 Outlander Sport, which I’ve tested in top-line SEL AWC form.

The Outlander Sport shouldn’t be confused with the regular Outlander, which is less sporty. Not that the Outlander Sport offers much in the way of ”sport” because it’s rather heavy and only has a 2.4-liter four cylinder engine that generates 168 horsepower and 167 pound/feet of torque.

Another 32 horsepower would be welcome, but then fuel economy would dip below the Outlander Sport’s estimated 23 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on highways.

Still, this Mitsubishi has good in-town punch and an adequate 65-75 highway passing time. Moreover, the engine is reasonably quiet during hard acceleration and works well with a smooth continuously variable transmission.

Handling is above-average with such items as a four-wheel independent suspension with stabilizer bars and all-wheel drive. Traction and stability control also help. I found that the Outlander Sport stayed mostly flat when taking freeway on- and off- ramps at above-average speeds.

However, the electric power steering felt a little vague in the on-center position, although it’s fast enough and the Outlander Sport easily slides into tight parking spots. Strong brakes stop it quickly and surely, with nice pedal feel.    

The Sport is dressed up with items including a roof spoiler, silver front bumper under garnish, color-keyed outside door handles, chrome belt line molding, wheel arch moldings and color-keyed heated folding power sideview mirrors with turn indicators.

The Outlander Sport 2.4 SEL AWC is reasonably priced at $25,895 (excluding destination), especially considering it’s got lots of standard Items. They include keyless entry and start, automatic climate control, power driver’s seat, heated leather front seats, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, tilt/telescopic wheel, AM/FM audio stereo with six speakers, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, cruise control and a rearview camera.

My test Outlander had an optional Touring Package that contained forward collision mitigation, lane-departure warning, Rockford Fosgate premium audio system with 9 speakers and a panoramic sunroof. That put the Outlander’s final price with destination at $29,110.

Safety items include anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, traction control, stability control, hill-start assist, front- and side-curtain air bags and the above-mentioned traction and stability controls.

Entering the Outlander Sport’s moderately high floor takes a little extra effort, but the interior is quiet and reasonably attractive, despite some hard dashboard plastic. It still doesn’t look like a place where passengers wold break out a bottle of Chateau Lafite-Rothschild. Only four adults fit with reasonable comfort, although long-legged rear occupants could use a little more knee room. Front seats are comfortable and supportive, but rear seatbacks are flat and should provide more under-thigh support. A fifth rear occupant will have to put up with the backseat’s stiff center, which is best left to a fold-down armrest that contains cupholders.

Gauges can be quickly read and controls, including the center stack touchscreen, are easy to use. Redundant sound system controls can be handy. And the front console has nicely placed cupholders and a deep, covered storage compartment. Sun visors have lighted mirrors.

The opening for the fairly large cargo area is wide but rather high for quick, easy loading of heavy objects. However, rear seatbacks fold flat to significantly enlarge the cargo area.

The Outlander Sport 2.4 SEL AWC comes with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 7-year/100,000-mile corrosion warranty. It’s nice to know that Outlander Sport owners need not fear vehicle rust in winter salt-belt areas of the country.