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2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader December 2016

The 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport soldiers gamely on despite being one of elder statesmen of the compact crossover SUV class. What it lacks in youth it makes up for with 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, its outward vision is good, and the Outlander Sport is compact enough to take the dread out of congested parking lots. But the same could be said for its newer rivals as well.

What's New for 2017?

The "shark fin" antenna is standard throughout the range, along with automatic climate control. The entry-level ES trim no longer offers the option of the 2.4-liter engine, but it does now have upgraded seat fabric.

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 CVT; scant cargo capacity.

How Much?

$20,690 to $28,590

Fuel Economy

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

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 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 in combined driving. With the CVT, it's 24 mpg city/30 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 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 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is offered in the 2.0 ES, 2.4 SE, 2.4 SEL and 2.4 GT trim levels.

The 2.0 ES ($20,690) starts with 18-inch alloy wheels, LED tail lights, heated mirrors, power accessories, automatic climate control, 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 Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

The 2.4 SE ($23,590) adds the larger engine and CVT, plus fog lights, heated front seats, a rearview camera, a 6.1-in touchscreen, keyless entry/ignition, and a 6-speaker audio system with satellite/HD Radio.

The 2.4 SEL ($25,090) brings rain-sensing wipers, leather seating surfaces, a sliding rear center armrest, power-folding mirrors, an 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat, aluminum pedals, steering-wheel-mounted gearshift paddles, black roof rails and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The 2.4 GT ($28,590) adds a panoramic sunroof, ambient LED lighting and a 9-speaker/710-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system (whose subwoofer 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, the Outlander Sport received four stars out of five overall. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Outlander Sport its highest rating of Good in every crash test except the small-overlap front crash test, where it was deemed Acceptable (the second-best rating out 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 particularly 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 those of 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 to 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. Remember that 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, however, riding smoothly and fairly quietly for a bargain-priced SUV.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Honda HR-V -- Based on the excellent Fit. Good cargo/people combinations and a much newer model than the Outlander Sport.

2017 Mazda CX-3 -- Also a newer model than the Outlander Sport and one of the more entertaining vehicles in this class.

2017 Jeep Renegade -- A little ruggedness is cool. And this is yet another newer model.

2017 Fiat 500X -- Charming, affordable and, yes, newer than the Outlander Sport.

2017 Subaru Crosstrek -- Comes with all-wheel drive as standard and is popular with the Subaru faithful. Not blessed with a punchy engine, however.

Used Honda CR-V -- It's bigger, but still considered compact. This is the best-selling crossover for a reason -- it's so good at so many things.

Autotrader's Advice

The 2.4 SEL comes with the bigger engine and lots of equipment, yet isn't prohibitively expensive. But it would be wise to cast a net beyond the Mitsubishi dealership, as there are far more modern choices available.

Find a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport for sale

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Used 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SEL
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Used 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport FWD
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: New Car Review - Autotrader