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Mitsubishi Outlander Sport a reliable choice in crowded small SUV field

Monday - 11/11/2013, 6:23am  ET

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.

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