2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

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2021
The Car Connection
2021
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Andrew Ganz Andrew Ganz Senior Editor
January 10, 2021

Buying tip

The Outlander Sport makes more sense the less you spend—and don’t take one home without a big discount.

features & specs

BE 2.0 AWC CVT
BE 2.0 CVT
ES 2.0 AWC CVT
MPG
23 city / 29 hwy
MPG
24 city / 30 hwy
MPG
23 city / 29 hwy
MSRP
$26,745
MSRP
$25,195
MSRP
$24,545

The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a respectable value, but it’s sluggish and dated in most respects.

What kind of vehicle is the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport? What does it compare to?

The 2021 Outlander Sport is a small crossover SUV sized for city use and priced accordingly. It competes with the Subaru Crosstrek and Kia Seltos. 

Is the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport a good car/SUV?

Review continues below

The Outlander Sport has seen only a few updates in more than a decade on the market, and both rivals and time have passed it by. We rate it at 4.5 out of 10. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport?

Mitsubishi shuffled the Outlander Sport’s lineup a little this year by adding safety tech and creating a new, lower-priced version. Automatic emergency braking and blind-spot monitors are standard across the line for the first time.

The Outlander Sport is a wedgy small SUV with seating for five. Power is from a choice of 4-cylinder engines, both of which are mated solely to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Front-wheel drive is standard, while all-wheel drive costs around $1,500 more.

No matter the engine, this SUV is slow and underhood noise can be tiresome on longer drives or up grades. Handling is a bright spot, and the ride quality is good given the fairly short wheelbase that helps the Outlander Sport feel nimble around town.

Fuel economy, however, isn’t great. Don’t expect much more than mid-20s mpg in mixed driving, a few less than competitors.

The interior has decent cargo space given the small dimensions, but materials and design that were just OK in 2011 feel decidedly dated today. For instance, Mitsubishi forces buyers into a far too expensive model for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. 

At least this year’s new safety tech brings the Outlander Sport up to par, though its crash-test ratings trail most rivals.

How much does the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport cost?

Mitsubishi lowered the cost of entry to its Outlander Sport for 2021 with a new S trim priced at about $22,000. 

Still, we’d consider spending up for at least the LE trim for its Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. 

Where is the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport made?

In Japan.

4

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Styling

The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is sharp enough outside but it’s a little frumpy inside.

 

Is the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport a good-looking car?

New styling last year gave the Outlander Sport a somewhat fresh lease on life, but there’s no hiding sheet metal that’s been around for more than a decade now. 

We score the Outlander at 4 out of 10.

The angular lines are pleasant enough in profile, but it’s the busy details that let this littlest of Mitsubishi SUVs down. Silly details like faux side vents look like an accident, and the front end is simply too busy with its quirky fog light arrangement.

Inside, the look is no better, though controls are mostly arranged where we expect to find them. Mitsubishi’s own Outlander—minus the Sport—has a far fresher look than the bland style of the smaller crossover SUV.

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2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Performance

The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport drives like the outdated design it is.

Is the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 4WD?

It can be. Mitsubishi charges around $1,500 for all-wheel drive on most trim levels. It’s standard on the range-topping GT. 

How fast is the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport?

The Outlander Sport offers a pair of engines, both of which are gruff performers. 

The base 2.0-liter inline-4 puts 148 hp to the wheels through a CVT, while the GT tosses in 20 more hp from a 2.4-liter inline-4. Don’t look for brisk performance in either, though the GT’s extra muscle is helpful when it comes to highway passing.

Unfortunately, the CVT forces the engine to run at higher revs, which slurps down fuel and passes an unpleasant growl into the cabin.

Those slow engines and the droning CVT earn the Outlander Sport just 3 out of 10 on the TCC scale. 

That said, the short wheelbase and reasonably communicative steering make the Outlander Sport a pleasant enough car to hustle once you’re up to speed. The ride can get choppy with larger wheel options, though it’s not too rough.

Review continues below
4

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Comfort & Quality

The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport makes good use of what space is available.

The Outlander Sport is a five-seat SUV with surprising space inside for passengers and their gear, though materials and refinement are not up to par. We rate the Outlander Sport at 4 out of 10, with a point deducted for cabin noise. 

Front-seat riders are treated to manually-adjustable seats that offer decent support. Rear-seat leg room is rated at 36.3 inches, a reasonable figure for a vehicle this small. Cargo volume isn’t bad at just under 22 cubic feet with row two upright and nearly 50 cubes with the second row folded down.

Materials inside match the Outlander’s low price. Rivals such as the Kia Seltos feel far more special.

Additionally, the Outlander Sport is decidedly light on sound deadening. This is one of the loudest new cars at highway speeds, which can lead to considerable fatigue.

Review continues below
5

2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Safety

The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is finally up to par when it comes to collision-avoidance gear.

How safe is the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport?

Though its crash test scores are just so-so, the 20201 Outlander Sport will now do its best to avoid an impact. That’s because automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warnings are now standard fare. We give it a 5 here.

Crash-test results have been OK overall, with “Good” and “Acceptable” ratings in what evaluations the IIHS has performed. The NHTSA rated it four stars overall. Rivals are more likely to have a full complement of “Good” scores and five stars, however.

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2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Features

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is inexpensive in base form, but rivals tend to offer a better value.

The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is one of the cheapest new SUVs you’ll find, and base versions are reasonably well equipped once you consider the 5-year/60,000-mile warranty plus the 10-year/10,000-mile powertrain coverage. 

We rate the Outlander Sport at 6 out of 10, with an extra point above average for that warranty.

Which Mitsubishi Outlander Sport should I buy?

If all-wheel drive isn’t important, stick with this year’s new base S trim. It’s light on frills but comes with collision-avoidance gear, air conditioning, power features, and a basic radio setup for about $22,000. 

If, however, all-wheel drive is important, well, the Outlander Sport becomes less of a value. You’ll have to step up to at least the ES trim level, which adds LED fog lights, automatic headlights, and a few other niceties, but bumps the price to a hefty $25,500 once power is sent to all four wheels. 

That money also buys a far better-equipped Subaru Crosstrek or Kia Seltos, both of which come with the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility that still costs extra on the Outlander Sport. 

How much is a fully loaded 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport?

The range-topping Outlander Sport GT adds more power as well as a better 7.0-inch touchscreen with advanced smartphone compatibility, but Mitsubishi will want just shy of $29,000 for one.

Review continues below
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2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Fuel Economy

The 2021 Outlander Sport may be cheap to buy, but it’s not cheap to run.

 

Is the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport good on gas?

That depends on your perspective. If you’re trading in an older car with a guzzling engine, the Outlander Sport will probably be more frugal. But against its competition, this little Mitsubishi SUV is still a thirsty choice. We rate it at just 5 out of 10. 

Front-drive versions are rated at 24 mpg city, 30 highway, 27 combined with the base engine. All-wheel drive lops 1 mpg off each figure.

The GT is more powerful but uses more fuel. Expect 25 mpg combined regardless of drive wheels. 

By comparison, the Subaru Crosstrek averages 29 to 30 mpg with the CVT automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive, while a front-drive Kia Seltos can hit 31 mpg combined in base form. Those crossovers may cost a little more to buy at first, but the fuel savings could pay out in a year or two. 

Review continues below
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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$20,995
MSRP based on S 2.0 CVT
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4.5
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 4
Performance 3
Comfort & Quality 4
Safety 5
Features 6
Fuel Economy 5
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2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Pricing Insights

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