PerformancePerformance  - 2013 Mitsubishi ASX Review - Reviews - Mitsubishi ASX

For a compact crossover, 148 horsepower isn't a lot. Competitors like the Hyundai Tucson, at 165 hp, and the Nissan Rogue, at 170 hp, offer more confident passing power and better acceleration from a dead stop. The Outlander Sport feels more like a compact car in its slow response. It's adequate, just not exemplary. (See the Sport compared with three competitors here.)

The Outlander Sport weighs 107 pounds less than the Tucson and 244 pounds less than the Rogue. The lighter weight and miserly engine certainly help with fuel economy. The Outlander Sport is rated 24/31 mpg city/highway with the manual transmission and 25/31 mpg with the optional CVT automatic and front-wheel drive. A selectable all-wheel-drive system is optional if you get the CVT; it's rated 23/28 mpg.

The Tucson is rated a similar 23/31 mpg, but that's with the optional six-speed automatic transmission. The manual transmission is rated a miserable 20/27 mpg. The Rogue comes only with a CVT and is estimated to get 23/28 mpg, also far below the Outlander Sport.

It's unusual for crossovers to even offer manual transmissions, as the base Outlander Sport and Tucson do. Both models feel more economy car than sporty. In the Outlander, I found shifting to be relatively effortless, if a bit boring. Unlike the CVT I tested last year, though, I could control the acceleration smoothly. An example of man being mightier than machine, I guess.

The Sport handles nimbly and its ride remains somewhat firm, though it's much softer than the Tucson.

And the engine noise? It isn't gone, but Mitsubishi definitely invested a few dollars to address the issue. Noise still fills the cabin when pushing the engine hard, but it isn't a constant drone during regular driving, as it was last year. And one editor's spouse — with no prior knowledge of the previous model — was annoyed by the 2012's still noticeable engine noise.

I still caution shoppers about the Outlander Sport's engine noise and performance, but it isn't the deal-breaker it was last year. Unfortunately, I'm still unable to offer a recommendation on the updated CVT. Perhaps a buyer-beware note is appropriate here.

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