New York 2010: Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Debuts With High Expectations

New York 2010: Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Debuts With High Expectations

Already shown in different markets with different names, Mitsubishi has now revealed what it will call the Outlander Sport for the North American market. A compact crossover, slotting in under the current Outlander model, the new Outlander Sport is a different vehicle (and not just another trim level), with its own unique style. Interestingly, however, it does ride on the current Outlander platform and actually boasts the same overall wheelbase, even though it is roughly 15-inches shorter in length. The reduced size, therefore, has come from the overhangs, making the Outlander Sport inherently more exciting to drive.

Power for this new crossover comes from Mitsubishi’s 2.0-liter MIVEC 4-cylinder with 148-hp and 145 ft-lbs of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, while a “6-speed” CVT (with paddle shifters) comes on the up-rated SE model. Mitsubishi expects the new crossover to get an impressive 31-mpg on the highway.

One reason for the impressive fuel economy is the CUV’s light weight. At 3,042-lbs, it’s roughly 130 lbs less than the new Hyundai Tucson – which is already considerably lighter than much of the competition.

Entry level models will be front-drive, but Mitsubishi will offer SE models with its All-Wheel Control (AWC) 4WD system. Drivers will be able to select from 2WD, 4WD Auto and 4WD Lock for different driving environments.

Standard features on the all-new Outlander Sport include electronic power steering, stability control, hill start assist, 7 airbags and a regenerative braking system that reduces load on the alternator. Also standard are HID headlights. SE models will get items like 18-inch wheels and a push-button ignition, plus optional goodies like a 710 watt Rockford Fosgate audio system.

During the car’s unveiling in New York, Mitsubishi North America President and CEO Shinichi Kurihara commented that after a tough time the past two years the company is looking to move from survival mode to growth mode, with the new Outlander Sport being the first of three all-new vehicles over the next few years. Kurihara even commented that with the expanding compact crossover segment, Mitsubishi hopes the Outlander Sport will become its highest volume model.

GALLERY: Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

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Official release after the jump:

PRESS RELEASE

Mitsubishi Debuts All-New CUV At 2010 New York International Auto Show Expands lineup with dynamically designed, eco-friendly, and smart-sized entry Wed, Mar 31, 2010 – NEW YORK –

At the 2010 New York International Auto Show, Mitsubishi Motors expanded the Outlander family lineup with the debut of an all-new crossover utility vehicle (CUV). Designed from the bottom up with a striking design and rigid, lightweight body, the smart-sized crossover combines fuel efficiency with stylish and feature-rich premium performance. Using lightweight, dent-resistant plastic front fender body panels, regenerative braking and enhanced class-leading aerodynamics, engineers have brought estimated highway fuel economy into the 31mpg range. Boosting the new crossover’s list of premium features are such standard technologies as Active Stability Control (ASC), Hill Start Assist (HSA), Electric Power Steering (EPS), a comprehensive seven-airbag safety system, and a cutting edge, high-contrast LCD instrument display. Active and stylish buyers will also appreciate the available LED-accented Panoramic Glass Roof, 710W nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system and FUSE Hands-free Link system.

Two trims will be offered in the U.S. market for 2010: the budget-minded ES with a standard 5-speed manual transmission or the premium SE with a standard sportronic ™ 6-speed CVT with magnesium-alloy paddle shifters. Standard for all models is a fuel efficient, 148hp MIVEC-equipped 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. A CVT transmission is available on ES trim and electronically controlled All-Wheel Control (AWC) is available on SE models.

BOLD SIGNATURE DESIGN One of the core concepts for the new CUV is a striking new design language known as “compact dynamism”, providing a functionally vibrant look that uses proper, flowing aerodynamics to maximize visual impact and fuel efficiency. Featuring Mitsubishi’s distinctive front “jet fighter” grille treatment, the clean and refreshing body lines are both emotionally stirring and high grade. By merging the Outlander’s driving position and high-impact SUV design with the vigor of a smaller package, designers have created a cutting-edge entry level CUV that fits a broad range of lifestyles.

The new CUV also features smoothly refined aerodynamics and a class-leading 0.33 coefficient of drag, beating the Mazda CX7 (0.34), Hyundai Tuscon (0.37), and Subaru Forester (0.38). Special steps were taken during the design process, resulting in a wind tunnel tested front face, sloping sides, and gently curving roof. With a lower coefficient of drag, the vehicle’s slippery shape is able to cut through air with less effort, increasing both fuel economy and acceleration.

A wide range of eight body colors is available, including new exterior paint options Mercury Gray and Laguna Blue. The ES trim features standard high-rigidity, lightweight 16-in. wheels, available in either steel or aluminum alloy. For those looking for an even sportier look, the SE models include 18-inch alloy wheels and fog lights with chrome bezels. Owners can personalize that exterior with an array of accessories including an optional Exterior Sport Package featuring an alloy fuel door, tailgate spoiler, front skid plate, rear diffuser garnish, and front corner extensions.

Accenting the CUV’s exterior treatment and functionality are the addition of LED rear combination taillights on both models and Super wide range High Intensity Discharge (S-HID) headlamps on SE models. With 35% greater light output than standard HID headlamps and a wide coverage beam, S-HID headlamps provide extra visibility and security when driving on dark roads.

SMART-SIZED PACKAGING In essence the Outlander’s “little brother”, this entry-level crossover merges the Outlander family’s impressive real world capability with a smaller, more maneuverable urban package. Designed to fit with a wide range of active lifestyles, the vehicle features the easy entry, exit, and turning radius of a smaller vehicle yet also the higher sightline and interior volume of a CUV. Seeking to create a dynamic new shape without compromising interior space, designers came up with a spacious five-passenger body that is 14.6-inches shorter than the Outlander. Compared to the Lancer passenger car, the new CUV features a visual reference point that is almost 5-inches taller.

The entry-level CUV is also more agile and maneuverable than its competitors, featuring an independent suspension design and dynamic shape that leads to easier parking and driving. At just 34.8-ft., its turning circle is smaller than the Ford Escape (36.7-ft.), Nissan Rogue (37.4-ft.), and Honda CR-V (37.8-ft.).

The new crossover’s dynamic and compact design is also lightweight at just 3,042-lb. for the ES 5-speed manual transmission model. This reduction in weight was achieved through the use of thinner high-strength steel in the hood, tailgate, and doors, recycled plastic front fenders, and new interior materials. Just a few examples of the design team’s attention to detail include changing the handle lock body from zinc to magnesium and using less door trim. Compared to the Hyundai Tucson’s 3,179-lb., Nissan Rogue’s 3,281-lb. (with roof rails), and Mazda CX7’s 3,496-lb., Mitsubishi’s new CUV’s lower curb weight allows it to deliver better fuel economy and better handling.

SMART PERFORMANCE All models come standard with a MIVEC-equipped 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which produces 148hp at 6,000rpm and 145lb-ft of torque at 4,200rpm. Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicle (PZEV) models produce 143hp at 6,000rpm and 143lb-ft of torque at 4,200rpm. In order to reduce weight, the engine block is cast out of lightweight aluminum and MIVEC variable valve timing technology is used to improve both engine output and efficiency.

Paired with the 2.0-liter engine in ES models is a 5-speed manual transmission or a steering column-mounted paddle shift 6-step Sportronic™ CVT available. SE trims come standard with the fuel economy-optimized CVT transmission. Mitsubishi engineers have spent countless development hours optimizing the CVT transmission’s shift patterns and gear ratios, as well as reducing friction within its hydraulic oil control for greater fuel economy. To enhance the driving experience, magnesium alloy paddle shifters are mounted just behind the steering wheel, allowing the driver to switch between automatic and manual shifting modes without moving their hands. The CVT’s manual gear shifting Sport mode can be selected by either pulling the paddle shifter while the lever is in “D” or by selecting Sport mode with the shift lever. After Sport mode is activated, the driver can shift up or down using the paddle shifters. Pulling the right paddle shifter for at least two seconds will deactivate Sport mode.

FUEL ECONOMY INNOVATIONS All models are equipped with revolutionary new lightweight and dent resistant plastic front fenders. Made from recycled materials, the plastic body panels contribute to a lower curb weight and increased fuel efficiency. Reducing friction and drag with the road surface also helps increase fuel economy and the new crossover comes specifically equipped with tires with a low rolling resistance coefficient. An Electric Power Steering (EPS) system has also been added to eliminate the parasitic engine drag found in conventional hydraulic power steering systems, freeing up engine efficiency and increasing fuel economy.

In order to reduce fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions, the highly efficient engine is paired with a “smart” alternator and regenerative braking system. Recharging the onboard batteries using friction energy during braking, the system detects battery-charging conditions and utilizes the unique alternator to adjust voltage based on the vehicle load. Combined with the recycled body panels, class-leading aerodynamics, EPS, low curb weight, and efficient engine, the braking system helps push the new CUV into the 31mpg range on the highway.

FUN TO DRIVE With its low curb weight, compact mobility, and available electronically controlled AWC, the compact crossover also features a fun-to-drive handling balance that resonates with active CUV buyers. Designed to be nimble and swift both on-road and off-road, the vehicle combines outstanding ground clearance with a tuned MacPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear suspension design. Lightweight suspension pieces and front and rear swaybars are just a few elements of a suspension that has been tuned for better agility, roll control, and ride comfort. Four-wheel independent gas-charged shock absorbers and coil springs are used at all four corners.

Standard on all models are the driver assist aids Active Stability Control (ASC) and Hill Start Assist (HSA). Making for a more controlled and pleasant driving experience through all situations, ASC helps ensure stability during slippery driving conditions and maintains control after sudden driving inputs. ASC also features traction control to prevent wheel spin, ensuring worry-free take-offs and increased grip on slippery roads. Hill Start Assist uses front and rear gravity sensors to detect steep hills or gradients and applies brake pressure to prevent the vehicle from rolling backwards, making for easier starts.

ALL-WHEEL CONTROL (AWC) Building upon Mitsubishi’s reputation in off-road performance, the SE features an available electronically controlled All-Wheel Control (AWC) 4WD system. The AWC system comes with the same capable “drive anywhere” functionality on other Mitsubishi vehicles the AWC provides increased handling, traction, and stability during any driving or weather situation. The compact design of the AWC system also calls for low viscosity transfer case oil for reduced friction and is capable of being switched between 2WD and 4WD modes, optimizing fuel efficiency.

The new crossover’s AWC system also features a driver control knob, conveniently located in the center console, to adjust the electronically controlled coupling. With selectable fuel-efficient 2WD, capable 4WD Auto and rough surface 4WD Lock modes, AWC allows the driver to maximize fuel economy and traction at all times and over all surfaces.

FRESH AND HIGH-GRADE INTERIOR Showcasing new premium materials, the interior is designed for sporty functionality and possesses a look previously found only in more expensive SUVs. From the first press of the One-touch Start System (OSS), standard on SE models, the new crossover offers the driver a modern experience. Highlighting the driver’s experience is a first-in-class full color, high contrast LCD instrument display meter, accented with bold meter rings, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gearshift knob. The instrument display also features an ECO driver indicator light, which signals when the vehicle is driven in a fuel-efficient manner. Covering the dashboard surfaces and extending to the door trim is a stylish, grained soft padding that gives a premium look and feel.

From its 60/40 split-folding rear seats to its spacious luggage area and armrest pass-through, the compact crossover is designed for interior space and functionality. Available on SE models with the Premium Package is the striking and fresh Panoramic Glass Roof with LED ambient lighting. Almost 20% wider and 219% longer than a typical sunroof, the Panoramic Glass Roof offers a spacious view of the surrounding skies and offers rear seat occupants a new feeling of greater interior space. Adding modern styling cues, LED lighting within the Panoramic Glass Roof provides an ambient accent to the cabin at night.

ADVANCED SAFETY FEATURES From the chassis design on up, the new CUV was created with safety in mind. Based on the Outlander structure, which has received the highest NCAP safety rating for collision-worthiness, the new crossover uses the same Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution (RISE) body design. This improves impact safety from all directions by utilizing a high rigidity body and crush zones which progressively crumble to absorb collision energy. The windshield has been given a wide glass area and high eye point for increased visibility and its lower base designed with the hood to reduce injury to pedestrians. Key structural areas on the chassis also direct energy away from the cabin and occupants while front and side members feature crush box front sections, which help reduce the cost of body repairs after minor incidents.

Another by-product of a rigid structure is increased stability and ride comfort. To further reduce cabin noise and vibration, the crossover’s pillars have been foam filled for strength and the engine bay fitted with sound absorption material. Triple-sealing the side sills and double-sealing the door surrounds further improve sound insulation.

Keeping occupants safe inside during collisions is a comprehensive seven-airbag supplementary restraint system, which includes side, curtain, and a driver’s knee airbag. Not a feature commonly found in this class, the driver’s knee airbag controls posture and prevents injury to the legs during a frontal collision. The CUV’s seats have been optimized to reduce whiplash and the front seats feature pretensioners that secure occupants during collisions and force-limiters that gently release to reduce the risk of injury.

FUSE HANDS-FREE LINK SYSTEM™ Offering greater convenience and reduced distractions, the FUSE Hands-free Link System combines advanced voice-recognition capabilities with Bluetooth 2.0 enabled hands-free calling and audio playback. With the FUSE system, drivers can experience new levels of entertainment convenience while still retaining the capability to focus fully on the road. Automatic phonebook transfer and multiple phone support are both elements of the FUSE Hands-free Link System, as well as control of the SE model’s optional navigation system, which is equipped with a 40GB hard disk drive for quick point-of-interest lookup. Full iPod and USB music device charging and playback are featured as well for portable music compatibility.

PREMIUM ELECTRONICS The new crossover features a variety of electronic accessory options. These additional features solidify the CUV’s already refined and rich driving experience. SE models include a number of convenience features that would normally be found only in more expensive offerings such as standard automatic climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers and the keyless FAST-key passive entry system with push-button, One-Touch Start/Stop (OSS). Also available on SE models, the optional 40GB hard disk drive navigation system provides accurate mapping and lifetime real-time traffic updates with its 7-inch LCD display and doubles as a music server. The optional Rockford Fosgate in-car entertainment system has a full 710 watts of power and nine speakers for greater sound detail and quality.

PERSONALIZED ACCESSORIES Realizing the desire of many hip and stylish urban buyers to customize their crossover, Mitsubishi has announced a number of optional customization packages. The Exterior Sport Package includes a large tailgate spoiler, front corner extensions, rear diffuser garnish, front skid plate, and alloy fuel door. The Protection Package offers a scuff plate cover, rear bumper plate, and front and rear mudguards. The Interior Package features a chromed Piano Black panel garnish and gearshift panel, and a black leather and aluminum CVT shift knob. The Illumination Package includes blue LED floor illumination lighting for the driver and front passenger, and a blue LED tailgate light. Also available is the Cargo Package, which includes a cargo mat, tonneau cover, and rear cargo net. With so many options and customization choices, Mitsubishi’s all-new crossover is designed to fit with nearly any owner and active lifestyle.

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