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2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: New Car Review

If you’re looking for information on a newer Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review

The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport compact crossover SUV is one of the older vehicles in its class. It makes its case by offering a fairly high level of standard equipment for what is a fairly reasonable price.

Besides that, it comes with the elevated driving position loved by many, visibility is good, and this Mitsubishi is compact enough to take the dread out of congested parking lots. But you could also say that about its newer rivals.

What’s New for 2016?

Along with a midcycle refresh that brings revisions to the exterior and interior styling, there’s a new SEL trim level coming in just below the top trim. There’s also a new steering-wheel design, a new 6.1-inch touchscreen and improved seating materials. See the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport models for sale near you

What We Like

Low price; tidy dimensions; adult-friendly back seat; agreeable ride quality; decent amount of standard equipment

What We Don’t

Noisy and underpowered base engine; unpleasant continuously variable transmission (CVT); scant cargo capacity

How Much?

$20,445-$26,845

Fuel Economy

The Outlander Sport starts with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard in the 2.0 ES; a CVT is optional.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel economy for the 2.0-liter engine with the manual transmission at 23 miles per gallon in the city, 29 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined. With the CVT, it’s 23 mpg city/31 mpg hwy/27 mpg combined. Adding optional all-wheel drive (which requires the CVT) results in 23 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined.

A 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine is an option for the ES but standard in the SE, SEL and GT. It’s rated at 168 hp and 167 lb-ft. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is still optional. The CVT is the only transmission offered with this engine, which returns 23 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 22 mpg city/27 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined with all-wheel drive.

Standard Features & Options

The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is offered in 2.0 ES, 2.4 ES, 2.4 SE, 2.4 SEL and 2.4 GT trim levels.

The 2.0 ES ($20,445) starts with 18-in alloy wheels, LED taillights, heated mirrors, power accessories, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt-telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, a voice command system for phones and music devices, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and a 4-speaker audio system with USB connectivity. The 2.4 ES ($22,145) means the larger engine and the CVT.

The 2.4 SE ($23,345) adds fog lights, heated front seats, a rearview camera, automatic climate control, a 6.1-in touchscreen, keyless entry/ignition and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite radio, along with HD Radio.

The 2.4 SEL ($24,845) brings rain-sensing wipers, leather seating surfaces, a sliding rear-center armrest, power-folding mirrors, an 8-way power driver’s seat, aluminum pedals, steering-wheel-mounted gearshift paddles, black roof rails and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The 2.4 GT ($26,845) adds a panoramic sunroof, ambient LED lighting and a 9-speaker/710-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system (which includes a subwoofer that cuts cargo space behind the rear seats to 20.1 cu ft.).

Some of the fancier standard features in the higher trims are optional in the lower levels. The other main extra is a hard-drive-based navigation system with a 7-in touchscreen.

Safety

The Outlander Sport comes with standard stability control, anti-lock brakes and seven airbags (front, front-side, driver-knee and full-length side-curtain). It also has hill-start assist as standard.

In government crash tests, it received four stars out of five overall. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Outlander Sport its highest rating of Good in every crash test except the front small-overlap test, where it was deemed Acceptable (the second-best rating of four).

Behind the Wheel

Thanks to such features as soft-touch plastics on the dashboard, the Outlander Sport is quite nice inside. The front seats aren’t memorably supportive, but the standard height-adjustable driver’s seat elevates the driving position to an agreeable midpoint between hatchbacks and SUVs.

The hooded rev counter and speedometer feature crisp white backlighting and numerals that are easily read at a glance. The ergonomics are generally good, including both the manual and automatic climate controls.

The accommodating back seat is a pleasant surprise. Despite this crossover’s compact dimensions, adults should have no problem getting comfortable in the second row. Cargo space is not a high point, however, measuring 21.7 cu ft. behind the back seat and topping out at 49.5 cu ft. with the rear seats folded down.

The base 2.0-liter engine is weak. It’s noisy and slow compared with others in the segment, but at least the CVT has simulated gears for a more conventional feel during acceleration. The 2.4-liter engine makes a bit of a difference; be sure to try it before settling on the smaller motor.

This is a softly sprung crossover designed for urban duty. The available all-wheel-drive system is a useful feature for snowy climates but doesn’t transform the Outlander Sport into a real SUV by any means. It’s agreeable enough on the pavement, riding smoothly and fairly quietly for a bargain-priced SUV.

Other Cars to Consider

2016 Honda HR-V — This model is based on the excellent Fit. It has good cargo/people combinations and is a much newer model than the Outlander Sport.

2016 Mazda CX-3 — This CX-3 is also a newer model than the Outlander Sport and one of the more entertaining vehicles in this class.

2016 Jeep Renegade — The Renegade demonstrates that a little ruggedness is cool. And this is yet another newer model.

Used Mitsubishi Outlander — Take a look at your Mitsubishi dealer’s inventory and see if there’s a certified pre-owned Outlander V6 available. It has plenty of power and much more space.

Autotrader’s Advice

The pick of the range has to be the 2.4 SEL. It comes with the bigger engine and lots of equipment but isn’t prohibitively expensive. Find a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport for sale

 

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