The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is offered in well-equipped ES, premium SE and sporty GT trims. The standard engine in ES and SE trims is a 148-horsepower, 2.0L DOHC 4-cylinder engine. A new 168-horsepower 2.4L four is optional in the ES and SE and standard in the GT. On 2-wheel-drive ES models, a 5-speed manual gearbox is standard, while a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is optional and standard on all other Outlander Sports.
All-wheel drive is available on all trim levels, and the system, which is geared toward improved traction on slippery roads, includes a separate 2WD mode for improved fuel efficiency.
The Outlander Sport is laid out more as a tall car than as a traditional utility vehicle, and with responsive, quick-ratio electric power steering it drives more like a sporty hatchback on the road. It maneuvers well and parks easily in the city, and CVT models offer steering-wheel paddle-shifters that let you toggle between six simulated gears.
Inside, the Outlander Sport has space for five. Rear seatbacks are split 60/40 and fold forward, while back-seat occupants get a fold-down padded armrest. There's also a trunk pass-through for skis and longer items.
All Outlander Sport models include Mitsubishi's FUSE connectivity system for hands-free cellphone use, as well as a USB port for cellphone or iPod control, plus steering-wheel audio controls. The standard sound system has 140 watts and four speakers. Other standard features on the ES include rear LED tail lamps, a trip computer, air conditioning, and rear heat ducts. SE models add a 6-speaker system, automatic climate control, HID headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, rearview camera, and push-button engine start. The GT trim includes chrome exterior accents, integrated turn signals in the mirrors, a power driver's seat, roof rails, and aluminum pedals.
Top options on the Outlander Sport include a navigation system with real-time traffic data plus music-server storage; a 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate sound system with nine speakers and a 10-inch subwoofer; Sirius XM satellite radio; and a panoramic glass roof with adjustable LED lighting.
On the safety front, all models include electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes, Hill Start Assist, active front headrests, and a driver knee bag in addition to a full set of frontal and side airbags.
Who doesn't love an underdog? The little guy prevailing against a stronger opponent or impossible odds is the stuff legends are made of. Whether it's David squaring off against Goliath, the Royal Air Force versus Hitler's Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain or even that so-called "Miracle on Ice," where the US hockey team defeated the heavily favored Soviets at the 1980 Winter Olympics, seeing the downtrodden or otherwise disregarded pull out a win is nothing short of inspiring.
Unfortunately, the tale of the Mitsubishi Sport isn't so triumphant. In fact, testing this car kind of feels like I'm being punished. Less than 5 minutes behind the wheel was all it took to leave me as deflated as a Thanksgiving Day parade float on Black Friday. So after a week of testing, my consensus is clear: The Outlander Sport gets a hard pass from me.
Mitsubishi is working to redesign or significantly refresh its entire North American lineup over the next year or so. A prominent part of this soup-to-nuts renaissance is the updated Outlander Sport, which was the automaker's second-best-selling nameplate in 2019, trailing the slightly larger Outlander by a few thousand units in the annual dealership delivery derby.
Since it first arrived in the US around 2011, this vehicle has been updated multiple times, kind of like reheating a sandwich over and over again until the bread becomes too hard to chew. It may be warmer, but it's certainly not better. Changes for this year are few, with the most significant one being that bold new front-end design. It's aggressive and distinctive without going over the top. That updated grille, plus redesigned taillights, a new rear bumper and a few other changes make the Outlander Sport a decently attractive subcompact crossover. Still, even with a handful of minor tweaks inside and three fresh exterior colors joining the palette, nothing can disguise its age.
The Good ~ Spunky acceleration ~ Generous warranty ~ Attractive styling
The Bad ~ Dreadful driving dynamics ~ Cheap interior elements ~ Inflated pricing ~ Outdated tech ~ Noisy inside
The Bottom Line The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport might look good on paper, but there's absolutely no reason to consider this crossover as every one of its rivals is superior.
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