2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

The Outlander Sport is a small crossover based on Mitsubishi's larger Outlander model. It comes up short on cargo room, engine power and handling compared to many similarly-priced rivals, but pleasant styling and decent fuel efficiency make it worth a look.

An angular front fascia gives the Outlander Sport a focused look while preserving the small 'ute's pint-sized and playful overall design theme. Underneath the sheet metal, the Outlander Sport uses the same suspension setup as the larger Outlander - a MacPherson strut layout in front with a trailing multi-link at the rear. The configuration delivers a smooth ride quality but falls short in the realm of handling dynamics. Electric power steering comes standard.

Life Aboard
The cabin features a rather non-descript design, and, while durable, the materials don't feel upscale. Road noise is kept to a minimum thanks to increased sound insulation, helping occupants appreciate the improved sound quality from the available premium sound system.

Cargo space, at 49.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, is quite limited by the standards of the segment.

While well-equipped Outlander Sports come with a 6.1-inch dash-mounted touch screen that runs the entertainment system but Mitsubishi's FUSE infotainment system is available at an option. FUSE packs the car's connectivity, navigation and entertainment systems into a single easy-to-use touch screen-based software that features voice command in addition to knobs and buttons.

Under The Hood
Power comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 143 lb-ft of torque. Entry-level models get a five-speed manual gearbox while more expensive versions are fitted with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Acceleration isn't blistering but fuel economy for the front-wheel-drive model is rated at 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway with the stick, and 24 in the city and 31 on the highway with the CVT. An optional all-wheel-drive system (available only with the CVT) improves all-weather traction but lowers mileage to 24 in the city and 29 on the highway.

Trim Level Breakdown
The Outlander Sport is offered in ES and SE trim levels.

The ES comes standard with the five-speed manual gearbox in addition to air conditioning, power windows and locks, cruise control, a six-speaker, 140-watt AM/FM/CD sound system, Bluetooth smartphone connectivity with voice command capability, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a color LCD multi-information display and 18-inch alloy wheels.

The SE adds the aforementioned CVT, cloth-upholstered heated seats, automatic climate control, HID headlights, push-button start, HD Radio, the aforementioned 6.1-inch touch screen, a rear-view camera and a proximity key.

Highlights from the options list include leather upholstery, a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate premium audio system and a navigation system controlled by a seven-inch touch screen mounted on the center stack.

Occupant Safety
All Outlander Sport models come standard with dual front, front side and full-length side curtain airbags in addition to a driver's knee airbag, traction and stability control systems and a tire-pressure monitoring system.

Key Competitors
As the Outlander Sport is focused more on fun on-road dynamics than tackling difficult off-road trails, its main rivals include sporty small 'utes like the Mazda CX-7, the Kia Sportage and the Volkswagen Tiguan. More mainstream offerings like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V are also worth a test drive.