2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GTPosted on April 25th, 2016
Value-packed compact crossover
By Nina Russin
There are worse things in this world than being known for outstanding value. As Mitsubishi continues its aggressive campaign to regain market share, the automaker has wisely focused on a few core models, including the compact Outlander Sport Crossover. While its underpinnings are older than some of its competitors, Mitsubishi’s five-passenger car continues to deliver satisfying performance, with good acceleration from its 2.4-liter engine.
Add in an extensive roster of standard safety and convenience features together with a fully-transferable factory warranty and it’s hard not to give the Outlander Sport a second look.
Recently, Mitsubishi updated the crossover’s exterior in keeping with its three-row Outlander sibling and added higher quality materials throughout the interior, correcting fit and finish issues that had drawn criticism in the past.
Base price for the front-wheel drive model tested excluding the $895 destination charge is $25,995. Standard convenience features include keyless entry and start, panoramic sunroof, rearview camera, heated front seats, 60/40 fold flat second-row seats, Rockford Fosgate audio system, Bluetooth, USB ports, satellite radio and automatic climate control. Final MSRP is $26,890.
Test drive in Phoenix
Having family in town this week presented the perfect opportunity to test drive the Outlander Sport, since we were able to utilize both rows of seating and do some extra driving. Mitsubishi’s 2.4-liter naturally-aspirated engine with variable valve timing delivers 168-horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque: slightly less than competitors such as the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, but fully capable of good acceleration off the line and the ability to pass slower vehicles on the highway.
While I prefer traditional step transmissions to continuously variable units that are becoming the industry standard, the CVT in the Outlander works well, with linear power progression and no obvious hunting.
A four-wheel independent suspension consisting of MacPherson struts up front and multi-link setup in the rear keeps passengers in both rows comfortable. Stabilizer bars on both axles prevents the chassis from leaning in the corners.
The electric power steering system has exceptionally good low-speed assist, giving the Outlander Sport a 34.8-foot turning circle. I had no problems performing U-turns on wider suburban roads. On-center response at speed is on the soft side, but the driver should feel well in control of the car.
Visibility around the perimeter is good. I was able to adjust the power driver’s seat upward for a clear forward view, and had no problems monitoring vehicles in adjacent lanes on the highway. The standard rearview camera projects a wide angle view to the back of the car on the center stack screen when the driver shifts into reverse.
Engineers did a good job of minimizing noise intrusion to the interior, so occupants can converse or enjoy the premium audio system.
Mitsubishi has made quantum improvements to its interiors, in terms of design, material quality, fit and finish. Keyless access and start saves the owner from fumbling for the key fob after dark. When he locks the car, side mirrors fold automatically to prevent dings in crowded parking lots.
I found the power driver’s seat comfortable for trips up to an hour in duration. Both the center stack screen and gauge cluster are easy to read in bright sunlight and after dark. The standard Rockford Fosgate audio system has exceptional sound quality.
There are a couple of small issues: the glovebox doesn’t lock and there are no vents behind the center console so the back of the car can feel stuffy in warm weather. This was the only discomfort I experience sitting in the second-row. Head, leg and hip room are ample.
With rear seats in place there is plenty of cargo space for a family’s luggage. On an overnight at a nearly resort area we had no problems loading in three roller bag and several smaller duffle bags. Folding the second-row seats flat makes the Outlander Sport bicycle friendly.
The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport comes with seven airbags, antilock brakes, stability control, hill start assist, traction control and a rearview camera.
The Outlander Sport is on display at Mitsubishi dealerships nationwide.
Like: Mitsubishi’s compact crossover offers buyers on a budget a tremendous value with its extensive roster of standard convenience and safety features and a fully-transferable factory warranty.
Dislikes: Glovebox does not lock. No air vents behind the center console or in the B-pillars so the back area of the car can get uncomfortable in hot weather.
Model: Outlander Sport
Base price: $25,995
As tested: 26,890
Horsepower: 168 Hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 167 lbs.-ft. @ 4100 rpm
Antilock brakes: Standard
Side curtain airbags: Standard
First aid kit: N/A
Bicycle friendly: Yes
Fuel economy: 23/28 mpg city/highway2016, Best Value 2016, Active Lifestyle Vehicles, auto review, Mitsubishi, performance, pricing, standard safety