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, although pleasant styling and decent fuel efficiency make it worth a look.
Mitsubishi gave the Outlander Sport a significant update for the latest model year that included revised styling, several interior upgrades and minor tweaks to the suspension and steering.
New front and rear fascias give the Outlander Sport a more focused look than before, while preserving the small Â‘ute's pint-sized and playful overall design theme. Underneath the sheetmetal, the Outlander Sport continues to use the same suspension setup as larger Outlander brother - a MacPherson strut layout in front with a trailing multi-link at the rear. The configuration delivers smooth ride quality but falls short in the realm of handling dynamics, although recent revisions to the multi-link system help in this regard. A reworked electric power steering setup is also said to transmit more road feel to the driver.
The cabin features a rather non-descript design, and, while durable, the materials don't feel upscale. Road noise is kept to a minimum, however, thanks to increased sound insulation that arrived as part of the recent refresh. This in turn helps 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.
Power comes from a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 148 horsepower and 143 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, while upper trim levels get a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Acceleration isn't blistering, although fuel economy for the front-wheel-drive model is rated at 24/30 city/highway mpg with the stick and 24/31 with the CVT. An optional all-wheel-drive system (available only with the CVT) improves all-weather traction but lowers mileage to 24/29 mpg.
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, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a color LCD multi-information display and 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
The SE adds the CVT, heated from seats, "sport" fabric cloth upholstery, automatic climate control, HID headlights, push-button start and a proximity key.
Highlights from the options list include leather upholstery, a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate premium audio system, a navigation system and a rear camera.
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.
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, Kia Sportage and Volkswagen Tiguan. More mainstream offerings like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V are also worth a look, however.