The 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: A Crossover for the Active Small Family

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With family spread out from Washington to New York to California to Korea the holidays always mean travel. This holiday season, we packed our bags, boarded a plane and headed to visit our family in Seattle, Washington for Christmas. Living in Southern California, taking trips up north in the winter always mean skiing – and lots of it. Anyone who travels with a toddler knows that THAT, in and of itself, requires triple the amount of luggage you would normally pack. Add onto this packing for cold weather AND ski equipment and you might as well call us a bus for transportation.

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

When I first caught sight of the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport waiting for us at the local Park and Fly, I thought “Wow.” It had a sleek, sporty exterior and I just LOVED the paint color – reminiscent of tropical waters. It had a sculpted body with curves in all the right places, giving the Outlander a more muscular look that added to it’s sporty exterior.  I’m sure the shiny new 18in aluminum-alloy wheels (now standard on every 2013 Outlander Sport) had something to do with this too.

After I was done marveling at the exterior I thought…”Oh Poop on a Popsicle”. Looking from our luggage to the car and back again, I was convinced the Outlander Sport was too small. Dubiously I looked at Ben and he looked at me, both envisioning luggage strapped to the top with a tangle of rope precariously holding it all together. Thankfully, I was wrong.

A full sized ski bag, boot bag, 2 extra large suitcases, a carryon size suitcase, 3 backpacks, a 3 year old in a carseat and 2 adults all fit. Talk about storage space! Color me impressed.

After packing us all in, I was pleasantly surprised by the interior. The Outlander Sport was FULLY LOADED and do I mean loaded. Seriously, name one other vehicle with mood lighting – besides maybe a limo.  But lets start at the “beginning.”  We touched down in Seattle to Drizzly Rain (shocker, right?) and a cool 40 degrees.  So the heated seats were a warm welcome to my already frozen behind. The car started up effortlessly with it’s keyless push Start/Stop button and the dashboard has a nice sporty vibe.

The Outlander Sport’s color LCD multi-information display serves up a wide range of information such as trip computer, maintenance reminder, ambient temp, audio system information. My favorite feature on new vehicles is always the rear camera – and I wasn’t disappointed.

I thought I saw something about a CD player and was perplexed for a few minutes until I discovered this hidden gem – LOVE! There is also an auxiliary audio-in plugin here for those of you that refuse to let go of your old school pre-bluetooth phones/music devices. This is a feature I’ve yet to see (or maybe just find?) on other vehicles Ive been in lately.

Ben is always talking about spending time on his grandparents’ farm when he was a kid. I’ve been dying to see it so we packed 4 adults and the kiddo into the Outlander and  over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house we went – getting 31 miles to the gallon (in large part thanks to the Fuel-Efficient MIVEC Engine).

The 2 Liter engine uses MIVEC (short for Mitsubishi Innovative Valve Timing Electronic Control) technology to balance power with fuel efficiency. It gives the Outlander Sport 148 horsepower along with a remarkable 31 mpg¹ on the highway when you pair it with the available CVT transmission. It’s green AND mean, for a crossover that is.

The MIVEC Engine isn’t the only way Mitsubishi is going green. The Outlander Sport also features a Brake Energy Regeneration System. I had never head of it before and I must say I was impressed. The system uses a smart alternator to capture kinetic energy during deceleration and converts it into electrical energy. This helps keep the battery fully charged, so the engine and alternator don’t have to work as hard. For those of you trying to follow along, this translates to better fuel efficiency for you!  In addition to perks like engine and brake performance, the new clean lines of the Mitsubishi are designed to reduce air friction which means also better fuel efficiency.

And it sure is purty too.

Since Ben is the one who skis and I am the one who watches and documents said skiing, we had to plan logistics for heading up to the local mountain. Luckily, Whistler can get his fill of the slopes in a half day, so we decided to sleep in while Dad caught a ride up early with friends. Normally I don’t have a problem with figuring out how to get where I’m going and have never been one of those people who were “scared to drive”. But in this instance, I’ll admit I was a little apprehensive about driving 2 hours up a mountain I’ve never been to before, alone with my 3 year old and in snowy winter conditions.

So while it’s all the extras that make me “ooh” and “ahh”, it’s always safety that’s at the top of my priority list.  My nerves were eased knowing that the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE features a 7 airbag system, an ABS System, and LATCH hooks for carseats – both convenient and safe! But my favorite saftey feature is that it’s all wheel drive. Mitsubishi’s electrically controlled All-Wheel Control (AWC) system monitors throttle, vehicle speed and road condition—and makes split-second adjustments to help maximize control in any weather. Not only can you switch between 2WD, 4WD, and LOCK drive modes while on the go, but there was even a point during our ascent where the dashboard told me to be careful – that the roads could be icy! It was the perfect reminder to make sure the car was in 4WD.

Whistler doesn’t get to see the snow often, so once I started seeing white all around I was able to give him a nice little surprise. The Outlander Sport features an impressive moonroof 4 feet in length by 3.2 feet across, and features a retractable electric sunshade that lets you control how much daylight (or moonlight) gets in. I opened this baby up all the way and laughed when I heard Whistler squealing “Wow!!!” in delight.

Oh, and remember the mood lighting I mentioned earlier? Well it’s an adjustable amber-colored LED accent lighting that runs around the moonroof and turns on with a push of a button. I didn’t get a chance to play with it at night, but I’m sure I would have gotten a similar response.

While unfortunately the Outlander Sport did not pass my standard kid-kick test,

it does get bonus points for it’s super-wide HID headlamps that not only look good, but they can actually help improve your driving at night. Through the use of Xenon gas, they project a beam that’s 35% brighter than standard HID headlamps and the super-wide beams span a full 80 degrees to give you a more complete view of the road. (It’s all about safety, remember?)

My only other complaint was that the rear seat belt buckles tended to get trapped in the rear seat gap making it difficult for passengers to locate and put on their seat belts. This actually happened several times on both sides with different passengers so I blame the car, not the individual.

Lastly,  Mitsubishi, is so confident in the quality, reliability and durability of the Outlander Sport that we back it with extensive warranties designed to give you thousands of miles of worry-free driving. This list is headed by a 10 year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty, and also includes a 5 year/60,000-mile, New Vehicle Limited Warranty, a 7 year/100,000-mile Anti-Corrosion/Perforation Limited Warranty and 5 years/unlimited miles of Roadside Assistance.

The 5years/unlimited Miles of Roadside Assistance comes with a complimentary FREE Roadside Assistance App for iPhone. This handy app provides easy access to immediate roadside help for things like a flat tire, jumpstart or if you get locked out of your car. They’ll even deliver fuel if you run out or tow you to the nearest dealer. Talk about peace of mind!

Thank you to Mitsubishi for allowing me to test drive this vehicle for purposes of this review. No compensation was received and all opinions are mine.

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