This week we jump into the smaller crossover area with the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE. These are vehicles that are small, usually have all wheel drive, can haul some stuff, can zip through city traffic and still feel comfortable out on the highway.

There is so much to like about this vehicle. It is roomier inside than most in its small crossover class, it is very comfortable, it handles well, has a ton of equipment including 4WD with a low gear, shift paddles and is visually pleasing to look at. But yet like a great meal with bad coffee served after it, it just didn’t sit right at the end of the night.

At first look the Outlander Sport has a nice profile. Tall for its class it works off of the bigger Outlander quite well. Nice family resemblance here including the fish mouth grille. It comes across as distinctive. The OS also gets a muscular treatment on the front fenders with smaller bulges at the rear wheels. With the integrated roof rack it looks sharp.

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport  tailgate features easy access and LED Lighting

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport tailgate features easy access to the cargo area and LED Lighting.

Getting in and out is easy both front and rear with more backseat leg room than you might expect in the class. Seats are comfortable if not a bit Spartan. The OS also has a massive panoramic roof with a nice touch, Holiday Inn lounge lights on each side with dimmer!  Next to the Kia Soul’s pulsing 60’s psychedelic speakers, the coolest ambient lighting setup in anything I’ve driven so far this year.

Crank up the Disco!

Crank up the Disco!

It's where the happy people go!

It’s Where the Happy People Go!

Engine wise the Outlander Sport really falls short. The 148-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, paired with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) just doesn’t cut it especially when the vehicle is loaded. The engine never gives you any kind of response from a standstill and huffs and puffs to make it up hills. You can make things a bit better by manually shifting the CVT with the paddles. I really would like to see one of these in a manual transmission. It has to be better.

It’s a shame because handling and road feel in the Outlander Sport are excellent! It has a solid grip on the road and the power steering feels just right delivering enough road feel to make the drive interesting, almost fun!

The SE AWC model I drove was about as loaded as one can load a Outlander Sport. FUSE Bluetooth hands-free system, automatic climate control, heated front seats and mirrors, satellite radio. Rockford Fosgate premium audio with subwoofer and black roof rails all for a sticker price of $28,570.

MPG numbers come in at 24 city 29 highway with an average of 26 combined. It also get a 4 star safety rating in most categories, a five star on side front seat impact in Government Crash Tests and is a Insurance Institute of Highway Safety Top Pick.

I really liked the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. It is a solid, well built, excellent handling vehicle that has a bit of personality going for it. It was comfortable and while spartan inside as far as materials still had a lot of features.

I just wish it had a lot more oomph going up the street.

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Get more reviews, news about cars and the people who drive them, interviews and tips on how to get more out of your driving experience all on Drivetime with Vinnie Richichi and Rob Pratte Saturday mornings 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA. Also listen to Vinnie on The Vinnie and Cook Show Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sportsradio 93-7 The Fan.