The 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: a high content, low price compact SUV
The Mitsubishi brand has seen better days in the US market but the company has put a tremendous amount of R&D (and stock) in their current sport utility vehicle lineup and that is a point illustrated well by the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. While the Outlander Sport may be overshadowed by stronger selling models like the Ford Escape and the Honda CR-V, the fact that fully loaded Outlander Sport costs only slightly more than the entry level 4WD Escape and slightly less than the entry level 4WD CR-V while also achieving similar fuel economy should be reason enough for new SUV shoppers to check out the Outlander Sport. Our loaded up 2012 Outlander Sport carried a sticker price of $28,155 which includes the top of the line SE AWC package, a CVT transmission, the premium package and the navigation package. This loaded price of the Outlander Sport is similar to the pricing of the mid-level Ford Escape and Honda CR-V, before you add any options to those two models.
On the outside, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport offers a design that is very similar to the larger Outlander and the sporty Lancer lineup. This includes a headlight design that gives the Outlander Sport a scowling, aggressive look with heavily chromed out bezels around the projection headlight system. Like the Lancer and Outlander, the Outlander Sport has a large central grille opening that runs from the hood to the lower fascia and widens as it gets to the bottom of the vehicle – with a chrome trim piece running around the perimeter of the cooling opening with a body colored strip dividing the upper and lower portions. The lower portion of the front fascia carries a set of chrome fog light housing in black bezels with a collection of air openings scattered across the front end. While the overall shape of the Outlander Sport does a fine job of wearing the “sport” designation – the front end is a big part of the sporty attitude of this small SUV.
Along the side, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has a design with lines that rise as the near the rear end, including the upper body line and the lower defining line of the side windows. The way that these lines run up towards the downward tapering roofline gives the Outlander Sport a sleek look while also forgoing the bulky feel that you get with many SUVs. The wheel wells have a slight flare to them with a contrasting flat face against the curvy body with 18” aluminum wheels filling those wheel openings. Most importantly, while the Outlander Sport does not sit high in the air like many SUVs, it still has plenty of ground clearance for conquering the urban jungle. The shortish roof line combined with the blackened B and C pillars almost give the Outlander Sport a coupe look at certain angles – furthering the “bigger than I look” design.
Out back, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has angular tail lights that offer just as much attitude as the front lights with predominantly red lenses pointing in toward the license plate and the chrome Mitsubishi three-diamond logo. The lower rear fascia has a hard dividing line similar to the one up front with a sporty inward-angling design wrapping around the polished exhaust tip. Along the top of the rear end the Outlander Sport wears a subtle spoiler hovering over the angled rear glass – both of which accentuate the sporty nature of this compact SUV.
Overall, the exterior design of the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport works very well to emphasize the “sport” portion of the name. The design of the front and rear fascia, the upward running lines along the side and the low, stalking stance make this a great looking compact SUV. In a segment where many models can fade into obscurity due to overly vanilla exterior design, the Outlander Sport stands out with a silhouette that is much smaller than the competition – without compromising interior comforts.
Inside, while the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport doesn’t offer leather seats – there isn’t much else that isn’t available. Out Outlander Sport SE AWC was fitted with the navigation with rearview camera package and the premium package. The premium package adds the gorgeous panoramic glass roof with LED illumination, a large touchscreen display that controls the various infotainment functions, an auto dimming rear view mirror, a rear camera system and an absolutely incredible Rockford Fosgate Punch premium sound system with 9 speakers including a 10” subwoofer and 710 watts of amplified power. The sound system works with CD, AM/AF/ satellite radio and USB connectivity and this premium sound system hits hard than your average aftermarket sound system – a real audiophiles dream come true. Also, if you don’t want to take your hands off of the steering wheel to change the track or radio station, the Outlander Sport SE AWC comes with standard steering wheel mounted controls for the infotainment system, the hands-free phone system and the cruise control. Most importantly, the infotainment system in the 2012 Outlander Sport is very easy to use with no real learning curve so new owners won’t have to take a class at the dealership to learn how to use their radio. The Outlander Sport features automatic climate control but unlike some HVAC systems that are brutal buttonfests, the Sport features three basic knobs with temperature, fan speed and fan direction with auto modes for those last two.