2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review

Consumer Reviews
3 Reviews
2019
The Car Connection
2019
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Aaron Cole Aaron Cole Managing Editor
June 26, 2017

The 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is an attractive option for budget buyers looking for a capable crossover, but doesn't come without compromises.

The 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a compact SUV and the automaker's best-selling vehicle in the U.S. It starts at a very thrifty $20,690—and all three of those things are related.

It's offered in base ES trim with a 2.0-liter inline-4, or ascending SE, SEL, and GT trims with a 2.4-liter inline-4. Front- or all-wheel drive are available in every trim level (except GT, which is all-wheel-drive only).

The Outlander Sport manages a 4.5 out of 10 on our overall scale. Its features and fuel economy help where styling and performance leave it short. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Review continues below

Styling and performance

For most buyers, the best-looking feature of the Outlander Sport will be its price tag. The exterior helps keep the Outlander Sport relevant, including a reworked front grille and relatively interesting profile. From some angles, the Outlander Sport looks nimble; other angles look a little bulbous. Mitsubishi's interior lets the side down, though. Plain and straightforward, the Outlander Sport's interior is flat, black, and uninteresting.

Under the hood isn't much better either. Base SUVs will be powered by a 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes 148 horsepower and is paired with either a 5-speed manual or automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT). These cars are slow for the class and don't realize any fuel-economy gains that would trade-off with the lack of power. Front-drive is standard, all-wheel drive (AWD) is available.

Upper trims get a 2.4-liter inline-4 that makes 168 hp and are a little quicker off the line, but it's worth noting that Ford's Escape starts at 168 hp—Mitsubishi ends there. Unlike the smaller mill, the 5-speed manual isn't available here; it's all CVTs here. It's the best engine for AWD and the only combination that helps keep the Outlander Sport competitive in the calss. 

Comfort, safety, and features

Like other crossovers, the Outlander Sport is versatile and capable, with a low loading floor and more than 20 cubic feet of room behind the rear seat. Fold down the 60/40-split rear seats and the Outlander Sport swallows near than 50 cubes, which is impressive considering its a half-step smaller than some of its contemporaries.

From the beginning, it's clear why the Outlander Sport is priced thousands less than its competitors. The interior materials aren't up to snuff, and the budget sedan roots start to show through the glossier parts. 

The Outlander Sport still manages to keep pace with modern safety tests, although it doesn't offer many of the advanced features that new models can. Federal and IIHS tests are largely mixed, but without a standard rearview camera, or advanced safety features, it falls far down the list compared to others.

Base Outlander Sports come equipped with 18-inch wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, and automatic climate controls. Upper trims can be equipped with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, leather upholstery, heated power adjustable seats, and a wide range of convenience features, but the Outlander Sport doesn't ever feel luxurious.

The biggest change for 2017 from last year is a new standard cloth upholstery for base models.

Then again, the Outlander Sport can stay under $30,000—even in top trims.

3

2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Styling

Perhaps the best looking part of the Outlander Sport is its price tag?

One year removed from a full makeover, the 2017 Outlander Sport faithfully executes Mitsubishi's newest design language on the outside. 

The tall wagon does its best to break up the slab-sided look with a rising character line that reaches from the front wheel arch to the back of the rear doors. From certain angles, the Outlander Sport manages to be sporty; from other angles, it's bulbous. You can't win them all, folks.

We say the sheet metal is mid-pack, but it's the Outlander Sport's interior that really lets the side down. It's flat, black, and uninteresting, but an unintentional safety feature as it's better to look at the road instead? The Outback Sport gets an A for "affordability" but a 3 for styling. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The new front-end treatment, dubbed "Dynamic Shield," visually widens the grille and the lower air intake with body-color panels on the bumper reaching from the center to divide the two darker inlet areas. LED running lights are found in headlight units that sweep back from the upper corners of the fenders. The Outlander Sport is also helped by standard 18-inch wheels.

There are also chrome edge trims of varying thicknesses dividing the two areas, a mock skid-plate treatment at the bottom, and round fog lights as well, meaning there are a lot of visual elements to look at. Whether it's an improvement over the previous and more aggressive opening is debatable, but at least it updates the aging design. From the front fenders back, however, the Outlander Sport remains the same, resembling a tall wagon with about the same overall width and height as the Lancer compact sedan.

Inside, the dash is devoid of many styling elements to help break up the black, and the Outlander Sport's buttons, knobs, and switches all have a decidedly budget feel to them. There are bits and pieces of brightwork to help break up the sea of black, but not many. For 2017, Mitsubishi upgraded the standard cloth seats in base ES models, but we haven't yet driven those models. We'll report back once we do.

Review continues below
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2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Performance

The Outlander Sport doesn't promise much performance, but somehow it delivers less.

If you're considering a crossover, chances are you probably prioritize capability above performance.

But even among the crossover crowd, the Outlander Sport is a little underwhelming.

We've given the smallest Mitsubishi crossover a 3 out of 10 for performance to reflect our dim views of the engine and transmission in any configuration. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Base Outlander Sport's make do with a 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. That can be mated to either a 5-speed manual or automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) with front- or all-wheel drive. We recommend none of the above; the base ES Outlander Sport models are just too loud inside and too slow. Even once up to speed, the base Outlander Sports take too long to execute a passing maneuver, and around town, it's just not frisky enough to keep up with traffic.

All other trims are fitted with a 2.4-liter inline-4 that makes 168 hp and 168 lb-ft. This engine isn't a bad pick, but it's worth noting that 168 hp is where the Ford Escape starts—the Outlander Sport finishes here. The 2.4-liter inline-4 isn't quick either, but at least doesn't carry an enormous fuel economy penalty. The bigger engine is available only with a CVT, but at least you get your pick between front- or all-wheel drive.

Even atomic clouds have silver linings: The Outlander Sport handles fairly well for a crossover its size. The body is well controlled, and Mitsubishi dialed in the steering feel from its electric rack.

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2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Comfort & Quality

The Outlander Sport scores on the big stuff (practicality, versatility) but falls down on the finer details.

We get it: Crossovers are versatile and functional, and that most drivers would rather appear naked on stage in front of their peers rather than appear in a wagon. (But why?)

In that way, the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a winner. It's good for four people and good for gear. Unfortunately, where we giveth we also taketh away: it loses in seat comfort and overall quality. It's a 5 out of 10 on our comfort scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

We've found the interior to be space-efficient and comfortable, but budget materials abound. Soft-touch surfaces are standard equipment on many Outlander Sport competitors—even in smaller, less-expensive vehicles—but on the Outlander Sport, they're limited to the dash pad and a few other areas. 

Many other surfaces and seating materials are more budget-sedan than family SUV, although Mitsubishi claims to have cleaned those up since last year. (Once we test drive those models, we'll report back.) Regardless of material, the seats aren't exactly comfortable, and are fairly flat in any trim.

The interior of the Outlander Sport looks larger than it actually is. It feels roughly the same size as a Ford Escape and Honda CR-V once inside, but is actually a half-size smaller. It's practical with a low loading cargo floor and split-folding rear seat backs, and the hip point for many drivers will be just right, which makes entry/exit easy. A pass-through in the rear seat can accommodate multiple sets of skis (or a few shorter 2-by-4s).

But the Outlander Sport is let down by its powertrains, they're too noisy. Mitsubishi has worked to turn the volume down in the past few years, but hasn't done enough. We hope to revisit this model soon and report back on the level of improvement, but our previous experiences showed far too much noise and harshness—especially while passing or on long mountain grades.

Review continues below
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2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Safety

The Outlander Sport lacks many safety features other competitors can offer.

The 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport doesn't have the same safety scores as many of its newer competitors, and unlike wine, these things don't get much better with time.

As a result, it earns a below-average 3 out of 10 on our safety scale, mostly due to its federal scores and lack of base rearview camera. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

It's too early for a complete set of ratings this year, but we anticipate many of the scores have stayed the same because of their similarities. The IIHS gave the Outlander Sport mostly "Good" scores except for the tough, small-overlap front crash test, where it earned an "Acceptable" rating.

Federal testers weren't as kind. NHTSA officials gave it a four-star overall rating, with four-star results for front and rollover crash safety.

On the surface, these scores aren't bad. But compared to other picks in the class, notably the Mazda CX-5, Kia Sportage, and Hyundai Tucson, the Outlander Sport's crash ratings just aren't up to snuff.

The Outlander Sport comes with a full complement of airbags and stability control systems, including front knee airbags for passenger and driver.

Outward visibility in the Outlander Sport is generally good, even with a thick rear roof pillar. Unlike most of its competitors, the Outlander Sport doesn't offer advanced safety features such as forward collision alert, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warnings, or blind-spot monitors. That puts it even further behind many of its competitors. 

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2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Features

Base models of the Outlander Sport aren't bad, but top models don't outrun their budget roots.

The 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport trades on its affordability—base ES models start at $20,690—to snare buyers who are shopping for compact crossovers. (Editors note: That's all of us, apparently.)

The 2017 Outlander is sold in base ES, mid-level SE, upper-end SEL, and sporty GT trims. Only the base ES trim gets the smaller 2.0-liter inline-4, the rest of the trims get the bigger 2.4-liter inline-4.

Base crossovers get Bluetooth connectivity, 18-inch wheels, a four-speaker stereo, and automatic climate controls. For 2017, Mitsubishi improved its basic cloth interior, which we haven't yet sampled. We'll report back once we do.

That's not bad—it's actually pretty good for the price—and Mitsubishi's 5-year/60,000-mile comprehensive warranty is very good. It earns a 7 out of 10 on our features scale. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Spend more on the Outlander Sport and you'll get more. In addition to the bigger engine, SE models add fog lights, heated front seats, a 6.1-inch touchscreen, upgraded stereo system, rearview camera, and keyless ignition. An automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard on SE models and higher.

SEL models get automatic headlights, power adjustable driver's seat, leather seats, rain-sensing wipers, chrome exterior accents, and paddle shifters for its CVT.

Top-of-the-line GT models add a sunroof, a massive nine-speaker stereo with subwoofer, and navigation.

There are several option packages available for all trims of the Outlander Sport that can add navigation or interior lighting. Not many automakers make all options available at every trim.

Fully loaded versions of the Outlander Sport can run near $30,000, which competes against better SUVs in the class. If you can overlook the Outlander Sport's economy-class accommodations and lack of refinement, you'll find that features are generous and cost many thousand of dollars less than the highest-end models of competing small SUVs.

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2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Fuel Economy

The Outlander Sport is mid-pack among compact SUVs in fuel economy.

It's too early for a complete set of EPA ratings, but aging powertrains have placed the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport mid-pack for fuel efficiency among most compact SUVs.

The most popular all-wheel-drive models with a 2.4-liter inline-4 managed 22 mpg city, 27 highway, 24 combined last year, according to the EPA. Our rating of 6 out of 10 for fuel economy is based on those models. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

Front-drive models fare a little better on fuel economy. The EPA rates the front-drive 2.0-liter Outlander Sport at 24/30/27 mpg, and the 2.4-liter Outlander Sport at 23/28/25 mpg.

The good news? There isn't much of a penalty for opting for a bigger engine or more drive wheels. The bad news? Both powertrains are relatively slow, without much of a fuel economy reward, and smaller SUVs like the Honda HR-V or Chevy Trax do better than the Mitsubishi.

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March 20, 2018
For 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

great performing car for a great price

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I love the 2017 outlander sport. A great deal at a great price
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January 21, 2018
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT 2.4 AWC CVT

Good looking excellent performance of 2.4i engine with exceptional mileage 37mpg on mine

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I have had it for 6 months now and after reading the reviews on the different sites I was a bit hesitant to get this vehicle. But after reading reviews from people that bought this SUV, I decided to get it... + More »
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January 18, 2017
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ES 2.0 CVT

Exceptional.

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Just bought recently but very satisiedwith this automobile.
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