Boasting a welcome blend of added style and improved dynamic qualities, the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport made its debut in New York. This impressively equipped five-passenger compact crossover is currently the best-selling model in the automaker's lineup, and the changes it receives for 2013 should help it hang onto that top spot when it does go on sale later this year.
Key visual enhancements to the 2013 Outlander Sport include a recast front fascia that brings a reshaped trapezoidal grille opening and new fog lamps well as black lower valence trim. The Outlander Sport's rear bumper gets a mild reshape of its own -- including a similar black-bottom treatment -- while the side sills also transition from body color to black to give the exterior a more unified appearance. Like the top-line Outlander Sport SE, the entry-level ES now comes with new 18-inch alloy wheels as standard. The cabin also benefits from a minor trim refresh, gaining richer-looking fabrics and a bit more brightwork accenting in the process.
Sole engine in all Outlander Sport models remains the existing 148-horsepower/2.0-liter MIVEC inline-four. While the five-speed manual used in the front-drive SE carries over unchanged, the paddle-shiftable CVT automatic that's standard in the both front- and all-wheel-drive versions of the SE and optional on the ES has been recalibrated to improve acceleration and shift feel when flipped into Sport mode. For the first time, the ES also will offer AWD as an option. The final bit of mechanical rethinking for 2013 involves a retuning of the Outlander Sport's multilink rear suspension to improve both control and ride comfort.
Production of the new 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport will start this July in the automaker's manufacturing facility in Normal, Illinois. While pricing has not yet been announced, it appears likely this now even classier crossover will continue to be a high-value proposition within its competitive set.