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2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Excellent Partner>

The shape of Mitsubishi’s Outlander Sport SUV has always been appealing to me. It has very little overhang at either end of the cabin and seems so very aesthetically integrated with its single accent body line hugging this SUV from stem to stern. The corporate Mitsubishi snout has gotten a bit more elegant through time and the rear tail lamp treatment is handsome.

Dressed in white pearl with a black cloth interior, our 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE AWC (that’s all-wheel control) is an excellent partner for a trip from Indianapolis to Detroit to Chicago, all accomplished within the space of one week. There was racing involved, as we recovered from the Indianapolis 500, then went to the INDYCAR doubleheader at Belle Isle Park on the Detroit River, then back to Chicago where this Mitsubishi lives between reviewer flogs.

The Outlander Sport SE AWC comes with a single inline 2-liter four-cylinder engine making 148 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 143 lb-ft of torque at 4200; redline is 6500. This very willing little engine is mated to a 6-speed continuously variable transmission (CVT) for efficiency and weight purposes, which seems to be the way the world’s going these days… at least it’s shiftable using paddles behind the leather-wrapped steering wheel.
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Suspension is by MacPherson front and multi-link rear systems with stabilizer bars at both ends of the chassis; brakes are four-wheel, four-channel disc brakes that handily stop this 3263-pound Outlander with the utmost competence. Electric power steering isn’t as numb as usual and turning circle is a handy 34.8 feet at 3.3 turns lock to lock. I particularly like the handsome 8-spoke alloy rims on Nexen P225/55R 18-inch tires. They help absorb road abnormalities and provide a good ride, even with Detroit potholes!

For our long jaunts, the cloth bucket seats up front are extremely supportive; the driver has power activation while passenger has manual adjustments. The high seating position, elevated with 8.5 inches of ground clearance, allows everyone to see the world outside this vehicle’s quiet interior. There is privacy glass on the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE AWC (which is the top of the lineup) but no hatch cover, so it’s important to be careful when traveling.

The driver has straightforward gauges including temperature and every control is simple to access. With its starting price of $24,820 including freight, the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE AWC is well equipped, but a premium package took that farther: its 71-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system kept the music coming (satellite radio is fitted) throughout our voyage with 9 speakers, subwoofer in the hatch area; this package also includes the power driver’s seat and auto-dimming rearview mirror. The bottom line is $25,820. Nicely done.

Mileage isn’t too shabby from the 15.8-gallon tank; while the Outlander Sport is rated at 24/29/26, our first tank was well over 27mpg using regular unleaded. With steady driving there’s no reason why anyone can’t do as well. Around town it suffers a little bit. The steering wheel contains audio and phone controls on the left and a good cruise control on the right side. There are cup holders in the front doors, in the pull-down armrest at the rear and in the central tunnel. 60/40 access allows 20.7 cubic feet of space to increase to nearly 49.5 cubes with rear seats folded.
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A trip computer accessed at the lower left of the dash keeps the driver informed and is good to have, particularly for range – there’s an instant-mpg bar in the info center between gauges. The large central screen is navigation-ready, crisp and clear with the rearward camera. It rained in Detroit and Mitsubishi’s rain-sensing wipers are excellent in varying conditions. We never needed the standard seat heaters in late May, thank goodness.

The 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE AWC is an excellent road-tripper and behaved impeccably over the 800+ miles to which we subjected it. It handles winds well, has that wonderful button that allows you to lock/unlock without the key and has pushbutton start/stop to ease the trip. I’ve always liked this model of Mitsubishi and this week long voyage did nothing to change that perception. With its basic warranty of 5 years/60,000 miles and standard roadside assistance, this Mitsubishi is built for the long haul – and there’s no reason why it can’t fulfill all your needs.

Words and photos by Anne Proffit