Mitsubishi Outlander Sport CUV for 2016 updated inside-out

2016, Mitsubishi, Outlander Sport CUV

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- On the leafy tree-lined North Parkway Boulevard we're cruising through midtown Memphis in the sleekly sculpted 2016 Outlander Sport GT, the remodeled and power-boosted small crossover utility vehicle from Mitsubishi that comes together at Mitsubishi's USA assembly plant in Illinois.

Enhancements to Outlander Sport 2016 models concern fresh styling of the exterior package, a load of comfort-oriented equipment added to the 5-door and 5-seat passenger compartment, plus a more powerful engine available across the board.

As a Mitsubishi best-seller, Outlander Sport offers front-wheel-drive (FWD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD) traction for all trims -- the price-leader ES, upgraded SE, luxurious SEL and line-topping GT.

Mitsubishi's design engineers set the compact-size wagon on a rigid unibody platform with FWD orientation, then applied lively independent suspension elements to fashion a ride quality that's smooth and comfortable for riders yet also responsive. Suspension components include front MacPherson struts with stabilizer bar and a rear multi-link arrangement also with stabilizer bar to hold back wheels in line while also damping vertical movement prompted by pavement bumps.

The platform supports the 105.1-inch wheelbase and a wide wheel track of 60.6 inches front/rear. Pushing wheels to edges of the chassis brings stability to the stance and improves the CUV's agility when cornering, while the long wheelbase fosters the smooth ride quality.

The rack-mounted steering system adds electric power assistance to boost fuel efficiency.

Brakes consist of discs tied to an anti-lock brake system (ABS), electronic brake force distribution (EBD), active stability control (ACS) with traction control logic (TCL), hill start assist (HSA) and a brake override system that slows the CUV to a complete stop if both the accelerator and brake pedal are depressed at the same time.

For power the base trim ES edition stocks a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder aluminum-block engine with dual overhead cams (DOHC) and the Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing and lift Electronic Control (MIVEC) equipment. The plant delivers 148 hp at 6000 rpm plus 145 lb-ft of torque at 4200 rpm and regulates the output through a 5-speed manual transmission that's standard for FWD, or an advanced continuously variable transaxle (CVT) with Sportronic sequential control via paddle shifters.

All other 2016 Outlander Sport issues carry a more powerful engine -- Mitsubishi's DOHC 2.4-liter 4-in-line with MIVAC controls coupled to the Sportronic CVT with paddle shifters. Output rises to 168 hp at 6000 rpm and 167 lb-ft of torque at 4100 rpm, with EPA-estimated fuel economy figures of 23/28 mpg city/highway with FWD or 22/27 mpg city/highway for AWD.

Boxy parameters of a wagon have been disguised by the fluid sculptural treatment of body panels on Outback Sport plus a raked face and forward-tilting tail, elements which collectively diffuse all rectangular hard corners.

Mitsubishi's new "Dynamic Shield" front-end design concept centers on a dominating wide-mouth grille filled with matte-black slats and flanking narrow composite headlamp clusters. Side panels feature black wheel lip moldings, power folding side door mirrors with integrated turn-indicator lamps and 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels capped by 225/55R18 Nexen tires.

The cabin design for Outlander Sport shows two buckets up front, a back bench split 60/40 with room for three, and the aft cargo area accessed via a tail-side liftgate.

Outlander Sport's dash is clean and uncluttered with the instrument panel tucked below a cowl and binnacles housing high contrast meters plus a new color LCD multi-information display.

New standard features for all trims include a leather-bound tilting/telescoping steering wheel, soft-touch material on the instrument panel, a remote keyless entry device, power windows with driver's 1-touch up/down feature, 60/40 split folding/reclining high-back rear seats with folding armrest/cupholder, rear privacy glass and a 140-watt 4-speaker audio kit with AM/FM/CD/MP3 and audio controls mounted on the steering wheel.

The value-loaded price points for Mitsubishi's 2016 Outlander Sport series begin at $19,595 for the ES FWD model with a manual transmission. The MSRP for top-model Outlander Sport GT AWD tallies to $29,195.

By Bob Plunkett

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Images of the 2016, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport CUV

2016 Mitsubisher Outlander Sport CUV
2016 Mitsubisher Outlander Sport CUV
2016 Mitsubisher Outlander Sport CUV cockpit
2016 Mitsubisher Outlander Sport CUV cockpit
2016 Mitsubisher Outlander Sport CUV 2nd row
2016 Mitsubisher Outlander Sport CUV 2nd row
2016 Mitsubisher Outlander Sport CUV side view
2016 Mitsubisher Outlander Sport CUV side view