The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport was perhaps ahead of its time but is now behind the curve. As a subcompact crossover, it belongs to a class of vehicle that’s rapidly going from popular to wildly desirable.
Buyers are liking the crossover practicality, excellent outward vision and raised driving position, while the subcompact element makes parking less of a chore.
However, the Outlander Sport has been around since 2011. Its rivals are all newer and therefore more sophisticated. In an effort to compensate for the Outlander Sport’s age, Mitsubishi packs it full of standard equipment while asking reasonable prices. For 2020, Mitsubishi has also made some upgrades.
This is a generally pleasant subcompact crossover but there are some impressive rivals.
What’s New for 2020?
Exterior styling tweaks bring revised front and rear ends, including new LED headlights/taillights/daytime running lights fitted to the whole range, plus a few new color choices. The interior has also been updated with gloss black/silver temperature controls.
The base ES trim now gains an automatic transmission as standard and the SE trim gains some driver aids, while the LE trim has been discontinued.
A new Convenience options package for the ES trim brings a new 8-in touchscreen and some other useful items (see the Standard Features and Options section below). See the 2020 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 CVT
- Scant cargo capacity
The Outlander Sport starts with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) with front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is optional.
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates fuel economy at 24 miles per gallon in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg in combined driving. Adding optional AWD results in 23 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/26 mpg combined.
A 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine comes in the GT. It’s rated at 168 hp and 167 lb-ft. Fuel consumption is 23 mpg city/29 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined with FWD and 23 mpg city/28 mpg hwy/25 mpg combined with AWD.
Standard Features and Options
The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is offered in 2.0 ES, 2.0 SE, 2.0 SP and 2.4 GT trim levels.
The 2.0 ES ($23,590) starts with 18-in alloy wheels, LED headlights/taillights/daytime running lights, heated side mirrors, power accessories, automatic climate control, cruise control, tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel with audio controls, 6-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, 4-way adjustable front passenger seat, 60/40 split/folding rear seats, cloth upholstery, two 12-volt outlets, 7-in touchscreen and a 4-speaker audio system with Bluetooth, USB port and AM/FM/HD radio.
A Convenience options package for the ES trim brings an 8-in infotainment display, heated front seats, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, satellite radio, a voice command button on the steering wheel, and another USB port up front.
The 2.0 SE ($25,290) has LED fog lights, automatic high beams, keyless entry/ignition, power-folding side mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, chrome-tipped exhaust, vanity mirrors and illumination for both sun visors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel/shift knob/parking brake lever, self-dimming rearview mirror, 6-speaker audio system, forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic assist.
The 2.0 SP ($25,640) includes the contents of that Convenience package, then adds a larger rear spoiler, carbon style grille, black tailgate protector, black front/rear under-body covers and a "Special Edition" badge.
The 2.4 GT ($26,490) has the larger engine, black roof rails, "soft-touch" seating surfaces and a garage door opener.
AWD is an extra $1,500. Among the individual options are parking sensors, remote engine start, ambient LED cabin lighting and roof rack crossbars.
There’s 21.7 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, expanding to 49.5 cubic feet when they’re folded.
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 (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 of four).
Behind the Wheel
Thanks to features such as soft-touch plastics on the dashboard, the Outlander Sport’s cabin is quite nice. 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.
Ergonomics are generally good. The hooded rev counter and speedometer feature crisp white backlighting and numerals that are easily read at a glance.
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 cubic feet behind the back seat and topping out at 49.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down (or 48.8 if the upgraded audio system is installed).
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 but it’s only available with the GT trim.
This is a softly sprung crossover designed for urban duty. It’s agreeable enough on the pavement, riding smoothly and fairly quietly for a bargain-priced SUV. The available AWD system is a useful feature for snowy climates but doesn’t transform the Outlander Sport into a real SUV by any means.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Mazda CX-3 — One of the more entertaining vehicles in this class.
2020 Hyundai Kona — Well-priced and well-equipped.
2020 Jeep Renegade — A little ruggedness is cool.
2020 Fiat 500X — Charming and affordable. AWD is standard.
2020 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross — The company’s other subcompact crossover, which is much newer.
2020 Subaru Crosstrek — Another rival with standard AWD. Not blessed with a punchy engine.
2020 Nissan Kicks — Good on gas, only available with FWD.
2020 Toyota C-HR — Reasonable drivetrain, individual looks, Toyota quality. Front-drive only.
Used Honda CR-V — It’s bigger but still considered compact. This is the bestselling crossover for a reason — it’s so good at so many things.
At these prices, a 2.4 GT might be within reach but we’d recommend going for the 2.0 SE, at least. However, do some research on the many rivals, which includes taking resale values into account. Find a Mitsubishi Outlander Sport for sale