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Mitsubishi Outlander Sport a reliable choice in crowded small SUV field

Monday - 11/11/2013, 6:23am  ET

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The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport costs about $29,000. (WTOP/Mike Parris)

WASHINGTON - Fresh from being named as a reliable small crossover, according to Consumer Reports, my ride for the week was the fully loaded 2013 Outlander Sport SE AWD. And it cost less than $29,000.

This is one of the smaller of the "small crossovers" and makes a great urban ride that isn't bad at tackling a long road trip. It gets 30 mpg on the highway. One nice thing about the all-wheel-drive system is that you can chose to turn it off and run it in two-wheel drive to reap the extra gas mileage -- at least until the weather turns bad.

I like the look of the Outlander Sport. The front end looks more aggressive than most of the competition. The seats are comfortable and the 710-watt Rockford Fosgate Punch premium sound system is plenty loud and part of the premium package, which also includes a rear camera system and cool panoramic glass roof.

The bonus package in the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport comes with a panoramic glass roof and a backup camera. (WTOP/Mike Parris)

Driving the Outlander Sport was a pleasure, with just enough of a sporty feel to throw into a corner once in a while. At 148 horsepower, I just wish it had a bit more, but I like lots of power. I'm sure it's plenty for just about everyone else.

A big calling card is the price. The base front-wheel drive model starts at less than $20,000, and it would be hard to break $30,000 for a fully-loaded model. It's also one of the few crossovers with the option to choose a manual transmission.

If you want the AWD, you'll have the continuously variable transmission (CVT), which takes some getting used to, as it really never shifts like a regular automatic transmission. But the CVT really pays off in fuel economy. I noticed about 27.1 mpg, with about 80 percent city driving.

The Outlander Sport comes with a 10-year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty and a five-year, 60,000 mile new vehicle warranty.

So if you're in the market and looking for a small crossover that is economical to run and buy, it may time to look at Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. You might be surprised at what you get for your money.

Editor's Note: Mike Parris is a member of the Washington Automotive Press Association. The vehicles are provided by STI ,FMI or Event Solutions for the purpose of this review.

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