Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: An Affordable Compact SUV
When shopping for a Mitsubishi Outlander, note that there's quite a major difference between the "standard" Outlander and the Outlander Sport.
The Outlander, which has been redesigned for 2014, is a seven-passenger crossover sport utility vehicle. The Outlander Sport is not nearly as family-friendly. It only seats five people and is a compact crossover SUV that features just minor changes for 2014.
While the Outlander went through a much-needed redesign, the Sport model only made minute changes. Among the notable additions were a new audio system, a steering wheel that now includes stereo controls, and models that utilize the continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) can expect quieter and smoother performance.
When compared to a long list of compact SUV competitors, the Outlander offers some definite value. Offered in three trims (base, ES, SE), the Outlander Sport starts at an affordable $19,470, while the high-end Sport is priced at $23,995.
2014 Outlander Sport
- Performance: 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 148 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 24-31 mpg
- Price: $19,470 to $23,995
- Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance 5 years, unlimited; corrosion 7 years/100,00
What critics of the Sport will say is the Outlander falls short of the two industry standards for the class - the Honda CR-V and the Toyota RAV4. The compact SUV class also features some other strong rivals like the Kia Sportage, Ford Escape, Volkswagen Tiguan, Subaru Forester, and several others.
The Sport's major attributes - affordable pricing and excellent fuel economy (24-31 mpg) - mostly involve the pocketbook. However, sticker price and gas mileage aren't the vehicle's only selling points. Performance is an area where the Outlander Sport offers some surprising results.
On a recent trip from Denver to Wyoming, the Outlander Sport was challenged. It had to climb some fairly steep grades that put this somewhat underpowered SUV - a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque - to the test. But the Outlander Sport never seemed to labor too hard in providing sufficient power.
One day later, the spring conditions quickly turned to winter, providing another test for the Outlander Sport. And once again it passed. The all-wheel drive provided solid traction and safety on some slippery roads in Laramie.
There's nothing too flashy regarding the Outlander's interior. Yet it has all the basic controls, offering them in a well conceived cockpit that's easy to master and conveniently located.
Both leg and head room is plentiful for 6-footers in the front cabin, which also features supportive seating. It's fairly roomy in a backseat that will accommodate three adults. The cargo area is also spacious, allowing for a fair amount of baggage for a road trip or some weekend chores.
For an SUV that starts below the $20,000 range, the Outlander Sport has some admirable qualities. It will serve as a solid commuter vehicle thanks to its gas mileage, and can be trusted to deliver in the winter months with its reliable all-wheel drive.