$14,533 - $17,994

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 6.5

The 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is most at home in urban environments, where it can breeze through a packed parking garage and keep its composure pretty well over uneven pavement. Its four-cylinder engines deliver uninspiring performance and fuel economy, however, and handling is so-so.

  • "It offers a manual transmission on base front-wheel-drive (FWD) models, a rarity these days. It gets really good gas mileage thanks to a pair of efficient 4-cylinder engine options and an even better CVT automatic transmission. While not nearly as lively in the corners as the Mazda CX-5 or Kia Sportage, the Outlander Sport is still a very competent compact SUV, especially when equipped with the optional all-wheel-drive (AWD) system." -- Kelley Blue Book
  •  +"The available all-wheel-drive system is a nice feature for snowy climates, but it doesn't transform the Outlander Sport into a real SUV by any means. Happily, the Sport is an agreeable companion on the pavement, riding smoothly and fairly quietly for a bargain-priced SUV." -- Autotrader (2015)
  • "It stumbles on the performance front, too. Its 148-horsepower engine lacks muscle relative to the competition and handling isn't nearly as sharp and responsive as you'd expect from a vehicle with ‘Sport’ in its name." -- Edmunds (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Outlander Sport presents a tale of two powertrains. The base ES model comes with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission, with an output of 148 horsepower. Under the hood of the SE, SEL, and GT models is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It's paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which functions like an automatic, and has a 168-horsepower rating. You can swap out the manual transmission for the CVT in the ES model, but beyond that, no other powertrain combinations are available.

Of the two, reviewers prefer the larger engine and CVT, saying they accelerate faster and quieter than the smaller four-cylinder combined with the manual transmission. Both provide enough power to adequately move you through most around-town traffic, but don't expect a spirited run. There's little difference in fuel economy between the different drivetrain options, ranging from 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway for the 2.0-liter engine with the CVT and front-wheel drive to 22 mpg city/24 mpg highway for the 2.4-liter engine with the CVT and all-wheel drive. These are among the lowest fuel economy ratings in the subcompact SUV class.

  • The base engine in the 2017 Outlander Sport is a forgettable 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with only 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. It comes with a 5-speed manual or CVT automatic transmission, but it's overwhelmed by this little SUV, which comes in front- or all-wheel drive. Instead, get the available 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. At 168 horsepower it's no powerhouse, but it doesn't have to work as hard to get the Outlander Sport moving, so it's quieter as well as offering more punch. The continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is the only option, but it mimics a standard transmission with ‘shift’ points, and it was smooth enough." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "With the base 2.0-liter engine, the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport isn't the slowest vehicle in its class, but the raucous drone during acceleration may deter you from exploring its potential. That's largely the CVT's fault, as it's programmed to hold a high engine speed for maximum performance, but the 2.0-liter motor itself is also unrefined by nature. The 2.4-liter upgrade is marginally better-mannered, but the CVT is still an unpleasant companion. Unfortunately for stick-shift enthusiasts, the five-speed manual is only available with the lesser of the two engines." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • The base 2.0-liter engine is this Mitsu's weak link. It's noisy and slow compared to others in the segment, though at least the CVT has been revised for 2015 with simulated gears for a more conventional feel during acceleration. The upgraded 2.4-liter engine makes a difference; make sure to try it before settling on the smaller motor." -- Autotrader (2015)

Handling and Braking

The 2017 Outlander Sport comes standard with front-wheel drive, with the exception of the GT model, which comes only with all-wheel drive. This AWD system, which is also available in the other Outlander Sport models, is ideal for winter weather and other slippery situations, but isn't intended for traveling off-road. Little effort is needed to pilot the Outlander Sport, which proves especially dexterous in cramped parking lots. Its steering and brakes are mostly on-point, though they can occasionally feel squirrelly.

  • “Despite the 'Sport' moniker, this Mitsubishi is far from sporty on a winding road. There's little steering feel and a significant dead spot in the center. The suspension doesn't fare any better, suffering from an abundance of body roll and a nervous ride quality over rough surfaces. In Edmunds handling tests, the Outlander Sport GT was described as being 'all over the place.’” -- Edmunds (2016)
  • 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." -- Left Lane News (2016)
  • While flat-out acceleration isn't the Outlander Sport's trump card, its impressive handling is. Things get even better when equipped with Mitsubishi's all-wheel-drive system that includes an all-wheel-control ‘auto’ mode for enhanced grip on dry pavement and a ‘lock’ mode for snow or light off-road adventuring." -- Kelley Blue Book (2015)

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