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Mitsubishi Outlander Sport caught in the wild

CNET Car Tech gets a sneak peek at the all new 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Mitsubishi showed the new Outlander Sport at the New York auto show, but we caught it on the road. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

During a press event for the Mitsubishi i-Miev, we also got a chance to see, but not drive, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. Already launched in Japan as the RVR and Europe as the ASX, Mitsubishi showed off the new small crossover at the New York Auto Show.

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
The Outlander Sport is a completely different vehicle from the Outlander. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

The Outlander Sport is built on the same platform as the Lancer, but it is a very different vehicle than Mitsubishi's Outlander. Although small, it has a burly presence and incorporates Mitsubishi's now standard big, open grille. The available all-wheel-drive system is designed for sport, similar to that in the Evo series of cars, and Mitsubishi promised us the chance to try it out on the track later this year.

When our local Mitsubishi rep wasn't looking, we crawled around inside and noted paddle shifters and the same hard-drive-based navigation system we saw in the Lancer Ralliart. Those paddle shifters control virtual gear shifts, as the Outlander Sport uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT). We are eager to see if this CVT can live up to the car's Sport moniker.

Power will come from a 2-liter four-cylinder engine producing 148 horsepower, which could be a sprightly performer up to a point but won't pull very fast on the long straightaways. However, with the CVT, fuel economy should be very good.