2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.4 GT AWC
Class: Subcompact Crossover SUV
Miles driven: 448
Fuel used: 19.2 gallons
|CG Report Card|
|Room and Comfort||B|
|Power and Performance||B+|
|Fit and Finish||C-|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Engine Specs||168-hp 2.4-liter|
Real-world fuel economy: 23.3
Driving mix: 35% city, 65% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 23/28/25 (city, highway, combined)
Fuel type: Regular gas
Base price: $26,895 (not including $1095 destination charge)
Options on test vehicle: Red Diamond paint ($595), tonneau cover ($190), floor moats ($145)
Price as tested: $28,920
The great: Dollar value; pep with GT’s 2.4-liter engine
The good: Good passenger/cargo room within the small exterior dimensions
The not so good: Powertrain refinement, ride/handling balance, fuel economy, and cabin materials trail class leaders
More Outlander Sport price and availability information
Despite the fact most subcompact-crossover rivals are newer, Mitsubishi’s little Outlander Sport continues to hang on. And in tested top-line GT form, it even has some notable strengths … one of which is, in fact, strength.
Although a 148-horsepower 2.0-liter four is the only engine available in the base ES and mid-line SP and SE — all offered with either front- or all-wheel-drive — the top-line GT tested comes with a 168-horsepower 2.4-liter four, a large engine for the class. And while 168 horses may not sound like a lot, they’re accompanied by 167 lb-ft of torque, a stout number for this size of vehicle. Even with the CVT automatic transmission, nailing the throttle from a stop produces a peppy start, and the transmission downshifts quickly when the throttle is stabbed at speed.
But that big engine has its drawbacks, too. Hurt by having to haul around a comparatively heavy vehicle, we averaged just 23.3 mpg in 65 percent highway driving. While not terrible by any means, that’s low for a subcompact crossover, where our class average is closer to 25.7 mpg. On the bright side, the Outlander Sport’s all-wheel-drive system (called All Wheel Control, or AWC) offers 2WD/4WD Auto/4WD Lock modes, the last routing 60 percent of the power to the rear wheels for sportier handling. There’s also a traditional hand-brake lever, a boon to those who like doing donuts in the snow … not that we know anybody like that.
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One of the styling attributes of the Outlander Sport is that every trim level comes with dressy 18-inch alloy wheels — even the base model. While they certainly look nice, they carry low-profile tires that don’t soak up small bumps well despite a softish suspension, making for a brittle yet slightly sloppy ride/handling combination. And quietness is not a strength, either, as even the door closings sound kind of “tinny.”
Inside, there’s thin padding on most touched surfaces. Visibility is good to the front, fairly good to the sides and rear, but the sunvisor doesn’t extend when swung to the side, leaving seven inches of the window uncovered. Storage includes a small glovebox, moderate 2-tier console box with 12-volt plug, two cupholders, a forward console bin under 12-volt/2 USB plugs, and map pockets with cupholders in the doors.
An interior bright spot is the audio controls and touchscreen. They’re mounted high within easy reach, and they’re easy to decipher, though you can’t mix bands (AM/FM/satellite) in your favorite channels list. Less convenient are the climate controls; although they’re of the handy 3-dial arrangement, they’re mounted very low in a recessed panel.
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Outlander Sport scores well in passenger space. While there’s not vast headroom or legroom up front, the seat goes up quite high for shorter folks, and the leading edge of the seat cushion is low, which helps keep the edge from digging into the back of your knees.
Room in back is very good for the class. The center floor hump is low — providing good foot space for a center seater — there’s 6-footer headroom, and my 5’9 frame fit behind a front seat moved all the way back. It was also possible to lower the rear seatback with the front seat moved all the way rearward, which is not always the case. Cargo space in back is also quite good, as there’s decent space behind the rear seat, the rear seat backs fold level with the cargo floor, and there are side bins and a little underfloor space for small stuff.
Our all-wheel-drive GT tester represents the top-line model, and it comes standard with a decent load of equipment for its $27,990 base price, which includes the $1095 destination charge: LED front/fog/taillights, heated mirrors and front seats, rain-sensing wipers, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility, satellite radio, and keyless entry and starting. On the safety side, it has all the usual high-tech features, including forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, blind-spot and rear cross traffic alert, and automatic high beams.
One other thing. Although the company doesn’t seem to trumpet it much, Mitsubishis come with a great warranty: 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and 10/100 powertrain coverage, as good as you can find in this class.
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Although updated for 2020 with a new front-end look and revised rear bumper and taillights, the Outlander Sport still seems a bit dated. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have points in its favor, however. For a short crossover, it has good interior and cargo space, along with a decent level of equipment for the price. And in GT form, it offers some really gutsy power in a class that isn’t really awash in the stuff.
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