$14,726 - $19,144

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 6.2

Don't be fooled by the "sport" in this Mitsubishi’s name. The 2018 Outlander Sport is not an athletic SUV. It has meager engine power, and while its handling is mostly composed, it can't keep up with nimbler rivals. The power steering is particularly troublesome, as it is not centered very well. The Outlander Sport earns poor fuel economy for the class as well.

  • "It offers a manual transmission on base front-wheel-drive (FWD) models, a rarity these days. 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 (2017)
  • 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 base ES model is powered by a 148-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission. A continuously variable transmission (CVT), which functions like an automatic, is optional with this engine. Higher trims come equipped with a 168-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder mated to a CVT. With the base engine and optional CVT, the Outlander Sport gets up to 24 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. That's below average for the subcompact SUV class.

Neither engine is particularly impressive, as both provide underwhelming acceleration at high speeds. Still, the larger available engine is the better of the two, as it has marginally more power to move the SUV's weight and it is more refined than the harsh-feeling base engine.

  • 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 (2017)
  • "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 Outlander Sport has a cushioned ride, but handling is a mixed bag. Under normal driving conditions, this SUV takes turns with composure. However, at higher speeds or during sudden turns, it can be unsettled and have significant body lean. The power steering is vague, so you may find yourself continuously adjusting just to keep the SUV straight. The Outlander Sport comes standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available.

  • "The Outlander Sport suffers from skittish handling and large amounts of body roll when it's driven aggressively around turns. It doesn't inspire much confidence in its ability to make evasive maneuvers during emergency handling situations." -- Edmunds
  • 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) 

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