2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Starting MSRP: $19,595 - $29,195

Estimated MPG: 24 city / 31 hwy

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review

With a revamped exterior that boasts Mitsubishi’s “Dynamic Shield” design concept in front, the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport borrows a few styling cues from the iconic Lancer Evolution. This compact crossover rolls off the showroom floor with pricing that significantly undercuts the competition's.

By Chris Brewer
Last Updated 05/19/2016

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a four-door, five-passenger compact crossover that receives numerous interior and exterior styling updates for 2016. It is available in ES, SE, SEL and GT trims. The base Outlander Sport ES is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission, with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) offered as an option. The all-wheel drive ES comes with a standard CVT, as do all other trim levels. A larger and more powerful four-cylinder engine is offered.

With its low sticker price and segment-leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, the 2016 Outlander Sport represents excellent value in an ever-expanding sea of compact crossovers.

Exterior

Exterior
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Thanks to a 2016 model-year refresh, the Outlander Sport features Mitsubishi’s sporty new “Dynamic Shield” front design that loosely ties the crossover to the brand’s iconic Lancer Evolution. Although the crossover is petite in stature even by compact-SUV standards, assertive styling provides the Outlander Sport with distinctive allure. All models include an attractive set of 18-inch alloy wheels framed by new wheel-lip moldings. Standard heated side mirrors with LED indicators add to the crossover’s appeal.

Our test Outlander Sport GT was a front-wheel drive model with HID headlights and fog lights. Attractive LED taillights gave our Outlander Sport a unique identifying feature at night. Our GT also included color-keyed sideview mirrors and outer door handles, along with chrome beltline molding and a chrome tip on the exhaust.

While style and design are subjective issues, we found the refreshed Outlander Sport's exterior attractive, and to an extent, impressive. The GT trim garnered great support from neighbors who regularly came by to ask about the “pretty, new Mitsubishi” parked in the driveway.

Interior

Interior
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Mitsubishi’s timely refresh is also evident in the Outlander Sport's nicely equipped interior. New, improved seat materials are found in all trim levels. A soft-touch instrument panel gives the cabin an upscale feel, even at the lowest price point. There are certainly entry-level reminders throughout, but the standard tilt-and-telescopic leather-wrapped steering and color LCD multi-information display go a long way toward creating an impression of quality.

The Outlander Sport’s front seats are roomy and comfortable. Finding an ergonomic driving position is straightforward and easy. The second row provides plenty of room for two adults or three children, but the angle of the seatback is less than optimal. Our best guess is that the steep angle is the result of a pursuit for maximum rear cargo space. Adding to the back seat’s problems is the fact that the rear doors don’t open wide enough for easy ingress and egress. The biggest issue is hitting your knee on the door’s armrest, since the armrest extends well into the entrance/exit path.

With 21.7 cubic feet behind the second row, cargo space in the Outlander Sport is meager compared with that of the leading compact SUVs, but it shines compared to the capacity offered by the newly emerging subcompact SUV market. For reference, the Toyota RAV4 offers 38.4 cubic feet, and the Mazda CX-5 provides 34.1 cubic feet. On the subcompact front, the Chevrolet Trax offers a mere 18.7 cubic feet.

Performance

Performance
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The base 2016 Outlander Sport SE is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. The SE’s engine is coupled with a five-speed manual transmission. An optional CVT is available on the base model and is standard on all other trim levels. All Outlander Sport models come with front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is available as an option.

A larger 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 168 horsepower and 167 pound-feet of torque is available. The larger engine is coupled with the CVT. SEL and GT trims also receive some of the best-looking and most user-friendly steering column-mounted paddle shifters of any car currently being manufactured.

While models with the base engine represent excellent value both at the dealer and the pump, the smaller engine tends to strain under the crossover's weight. The larger 2.4-liter gives the Outlander Sport a much-needed power boost, and while you wouldn’t call the Sport an enthusiast's vehicle, this engine and transmission combination is more than adequate for entering highway on-ramps and executing high-speed passing.

The Outlander Sport GT continually impressed us on the road. The model tends to get a bad rap in the performance category, but we found the GT's larger engine up to the task. This power plant is more than sufficient for most daily driving scenarios, and we would list the engine’s power and handling as two of the GT's highlights. The front-wheel drive Outlander GT provides decent fuel economy at 23/28 mpg city/highway. All-wheel drive models with the larger engine achieve 22/27 mpg.

When equipped with the CVT, the smaller 2.0-liter model gets up to 24/31 mpg city/highway.

Technology

Technology
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The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport boasts a nice collection of standard tech features. A four-speaker, 140-watt audio system with Bluetooth and USB connectivity is included on all models. A color multi-information display, steering wheel audio controls, remote keyless entry and power windows and door locks are also standard equipment.

Moving to the midgrade SE trim adds a 6.1-inch touch-screen audio display with SiriusXM, HD Radio, six speakers and a rearview camera. The SE model also includes push-button start.

Our top-trim GT model was equipped with a nice sounding 710-watt Rockford Fosgate sound system with nine speakers, including an attractive 10-inch rear mounted subwoofer. The system sounds great and is easy to navigate thanks to the 6.1-inch touch screen.

Unfortunately, no Outlander Sport trim includes standard navigation, even at the highest trim level. Still, there is an available navigation option with a 7-inch touch panel, voice command, 3D mapping, real time traffic and two free annual map updates. In today’s smartphone-app-filled world, in-car navigation is becoming less of an issue. However, it seems a strange oversight to include the feature as optional equipment at the top trim level.

Safety

Safety
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The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is equipped with seven air bags, including dual-stage front air bags, a driver’s side knee air bag, front seat-mounted side-impact air bags and front- and rear-curtain side air bags. The Sport also includes antilock brakes, hill-start assist and a tire pressure monitoring system.

SE trims and above include a rearview camera. Unlike many of its direct competitors, the Outlander Sport does not offer active safety features such as blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist or forward collision warning.

For overall safety, the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport earned a rating of four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Outlander Sport earned a perfect five stars in side-impact crash tests and scored four out of five stars in the frontal-impact and rollover tests.

Cost-Effectiveness

Cost-Effectiveness
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The front-wheel drive 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE with the 2.0-liter engine and five-speed manual transmission starts at an affordable $19,595, not including the $895 destination fee. The base Outlander Sport represents excellent value for an entry-level compact crossover, with a few caveats. If you don’t mind the smaller engine and manual transmission and are shopping for a crossover that seats five, the base Outlander Sport has some nice standard features and one of the best warranties available, making it hard to beat.

Our top-trim GT was equipped with plenty of standard equipment, including the 2.4-liter engine, a premium sound system and a leather interior. It was priced at $26,845, including the destination charge.

Our value pick would be the all-wheel drive Outlander Sport SE for $24,790, which includes the 6.1-inch audio upgrade, bigger 2.4-liter engine, CVT, and push-button start. These additions amount to an enhanced driving experience that’s well worth the additional cost.

The biggest downside of the Outlander Sport is the lack of available active safety equipment and overall technology, even at the top trim levels. The limited cargo space and the narrow path allotted for rear ingress and egress should also be considered when deciding if the Outlander Sport is for you.

Overall

Overall
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The effort that Mitsubishi has put into making the 2016 Outlander Sport a stronger contender in the ever-growing compact crossover segment is commendable. The Outlander's Sport's cargo space and interior accommodations are comparable to those offered by many of the newer subcompact crossovers on the market, but this Mitsubishi sweetens the deal by providing a bit more utility at a considerably lower price point than even the smallest crossover vehicles. We'd recommend opting for the bigger engine and CVT. Pass on the extra luxury options, since they do not bring enough to the table to warrant the additional cost.

Allow rear-seat passengers to tag along for the test drive, since they will likely have the strongest opinions on whether the Outlander Sport belongs in your driveway. It is also important to consider Mitsubishi’s warranty, which promises an impressive 10 years or 100,000-miles of trouble-free powertrain use.