By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.8
For the Outlander Sport, Mitsubishi borrowed a portion of the SUV's name and all of the wheelbase from its more established older brother, the Outlander, but despite a similar name, the 2012 Outlander Sport is very much its own vehicle. The Sport burst into Mitsubishi's lineup in 2011 and has already found competition in the highly competitive sport-utility vehicle market from other recent arrivals such as the Mini Countryman and Nissan Juke, not to mention slightly bigger SUVs like the Honda CR-V. While small and seating a max of five, the Outlander Sport offers commendable fuel economy, a low starting price, desirable options and laudable warranty.
The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport headlines when you want a small SUV that stands out for its style as much as its low price and respectable fuel economy. And since it's a newer vehicle from a smaller manufacturer, the Outlander Sport stands out on the road and in parking lots.
Shop elsewhere if you need a compact SUV that has ample power for acceleration and towing. The choice of only one engine - and a not very powerful one at that - is the Outlander Sport's Achilles heel. Its smaller size also limits passenger and cargo space compared with slightly roomier choices like the Honda CR-V, Kia Sportage and new Mazda CX-5.
The 2012 Outlander Sport is indicative of Mitsubishi downsizing its vehicle lineup while upsizing their fuel economy figures. In a wider context, the Outlander Sport is among a new crop of SUVs whose dimensions are meager, but whose available features are not.
Driving Impressions The 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has a comfortable driving position and great visibility. Getting up to speed quickly is not the Mitsubishi's forte, but once rolling, it provides a compliant,...relatively quiet ride. Automatic versions of the Outlander Sport use a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that can take getting used to since it doesn't have traditional shift points. However, magnesium paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel offer manual control. The 5-speed manual transmission, only on base Outlander Sport ES models, is light and easy to use. With its small size, the Outlander Sport is a snap to maneuver and park, but the name belies the SUV's less-spirited driving personality when it comes to carving corners. While the Outlander Sport is not meant for serious off-roading, models equipped with Mitsubishi's All Wheel Control have a 2-mode 4WD switch: "auto" for better grip in general and "lock" for slippery conditions.
Rockford Fosgate Audio System
You'll literally feel the music with this 9-speaker, 710-watt sound system that includes a powerful subwoofer. And with a built-in 6-disc CD changer, SiriusXM receiver and available 40-gig hard drive with music server, you'll never be lacking for tunes.
Panoramic Glass Roof
Also part of the Premium Package that includes the Rockford Fosgate system, this expanse of glass spans the Outlander Sport's roof to create a feeling of openness with the outside. Too bad the only thing it doesn't do is literally open.
The 2012 Outlander Sport has a simple, user-friendly interior. Buttons for climate and audio functions are easy to find and use. Leather adorns the steering wheel and shift knob, but you'll have to look to another vehicle if you want seats covered in it. As for interior hue, to take a cue from Henry Ford: You can have any color, as long as it's black. In this case it looks more like a gray scale, but dark all the same and a shame that it doesn't carry over the vibrancy that can be had on the Outlander Sport's outer skin. The front seats are relatively comfortable, while rear seating is tight for three adults but quite tolerable for two. Cargo capacity behind the rear seat is modest by SUV standards at just over 20 cubic feet, but more than doubles that capacity with the seats folded.Exterior
Here's where the Outlander Sport shines. Up front is an aggressive face that would rightly remind some of Mitsubishi's snarling Lancer Evolution sports car, while the sides are highlighted by deeply sculpted lines that bisect the doors. Big, 18-inch wheels help the SE version stand out, while 16-inchers are standard on ES models. In back is a cute butt that is even more appealing with the optional roof-mounted spoiler. A roof rack can be added to put more of the "u" in this compact utility vehicle.
Even a base 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ES packs a good amount of comfort, safety and convenience features. Among them are leather wrapping the shift knob and the tilt/telescoping steering wheel, LED taillights, 16-inch wheels, air conditioning with pollen filter, steering-wheel-mounted cruise control and audio buttons, a 4-speaker/140-watt AM/FM/CD system, and Fuse voice-control system. SE models add 18-inch wheels, automatic on/off high-intensity headlights, rain-sensing wipers, automatic climate control, premium fabric seats, and six speakers instead of four. Mitsubishi vehicles also come with a new-car warranty that includes 10 years/100,000 miles for the powertrain.
2012 Outlander Sport models can be spruced up with a navigation system and 40-gig hard drive, rear-view camera, a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate sound system, remote engine start, and a panoramic glass roof. All-wheel drive is only available on the higher-end Outlander Sport SE, while the rest are front-wheel drive.
Just one engine is available for Outlander Sport models, a 4-cylinder that runs on regular unleaded. It is mated to a CVT automatic transmission or, for the base version of the vehicle, a 5-speed manual. The Outlander Sport uses a "brake energy regeneration" system to reduce fuel and CO2 emissions that works by capturing kinetic energy during deceleration and then intensively recharging the battery with it. The battery can then reduce its reliance on the engine's alternator which helps conserve fuel.
148 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
145 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/31 mpg (manual), 25/31 mpg (automatic), 23/28 (automatic, all-wheel drive)
By Kasey on Saturday, February 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "handles road well"
Cons: "blind spots uncomfortable rough ride poor quality"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"rough riding car uncomfortable seats. Radio and Bluetooth poor quality. Very noisy can hear road as you drive. Many blind spots"
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Jamie on Monday, January 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great price, heated fabric seats, drives great!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I searched for an SUV that I liked for a long time. Finally settled with the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and love it!"
4 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Oliver Outlander Sport on Friday, January 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Small, Fun, Sporty with 5 speed, VERY well equiped"
Cons: "dents easily, can get noisy"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Overall Im very happy, GREAT price(6k less than other SUVs) lots of option even on the base unit but its not stripped out. I have alloy wheels (19"), leather steering wheel, tinted windows, USB port, and blue tooth - not bad for a base model with NO options! I wanted a 5 speed manual(lots of fun - and yes its even sporty) gets great mileage my average so far is 30.1 MPG mostly city commute, I have even hit 40+ MPG a few times hypermiling! Normally I get 500 miles to a tank of gas! Its small on the outside but big on the inside I have room for 5 adults and plently room in back for cargo. It is however a bit CHEAP, thin metal skin (put a dent in the roof at a car wash from the air dryer) a bit loud, bit bouncy, BUT for the price I would definitely buy again. Peace of mind with 10 yr warranty and tip safety pick by iihs to top it off."
9 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Dan on Tuesday, December 17, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,500overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, Options, Looks"
Cons: "Quality, Refinement, Noisy Ride/Engine"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I have owned my Outlander Sport for about a year and a half now. I was initially drawn by the price, mpg, and looks. I am pretty much the target audience of this car... 26 yr old male looking for something bigger than my Cavalier that still got decent gas mileage and looks cool. Mine is fully loaded red SE model except for all wheel drive. Starting out, I ended up bringing it back to the dealer because the rear end sounded clunky about a week after purchasing... spent multiple trips and calls to Mitsubishi trying to fix it. They finally kind-of fixed it but it still makes slight noises in the rear on bumpy roads that can get irritating. The ride is pretty rough and noisy, and everything about the car is pretty cheap, you can just tell. Example, the in-dash navigation is straight from 2000 and looks like any aftermarket DVD/navigation unit you can buy at Best Buy. I would not recommend this for long trips all the time, the CVT transmission struggles at interstate speeds and its hard to get over 23-24mpg going 75mph. The panoramic sunroof is nice, and the Rockford Fosgate stereo is awesome. Overall, spend the extra money to get something like an Equinox or Escape and you won't regret it. The options, price, and looks were what drew me in. But the ride and quality are missing. I am really hoping this thing will get me to 100,000 miles, but I am kind of doubtful."
7 people out of 11 found this review helpful
By outlanderlover on Monday, November 25, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great value, fun to drive, gas economy, extras!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I don't know how anybody could not love this car! Phenominal gas mileage, runs well in the snow, sharp looking design, and lots of added extras. The heated seats alone are a savior!"
8 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By iatosea73 on Sunday, November 17, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price, ride, bluetooth system, easy access"
Cons: "responsiveness of CVT drivetrain, no compass"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My wife and I were looking for a vehicle that would be easier on my back; in our exhaustive search we looked at a Honda Accord, Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue, Nissan Altima, Chevy Equinox, Ford Escape, Hyundai Tuscon, Mazda 5, Mazda CX-5, Toyota RAV-4, and finally, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. To be honest, I almost didn't go to the dealership because the "official" reviews for the Mitsubishi were so poor. But, it seemed like it might be a good value, and the online reviews by people who actually owned the vehicle seemed pretty positive. It turned out to be the right vehicle for us, and for thousands less than the competition. We got the standard ES with no extra options, but the vehicle comes packed with standard features we find very useful, especially the bluetooth hands-free phone system. The vehicle is quiet and rides very nice (the ride of the RAV-4 was AWFUL), and best of all is super easy to get in and out of. Yes, it is not a sports car - the drivetrain is not terribly responsive, especially compared to cars like the Mazda CX-5 - but my wife and I are parents of a 20-month old girl, and neither one of us plan on driving the car at the local race track. It gets us from point A to B comfortably (my mom has a new CR-V, and even she admits the comfort of the seats is poor) and economically - on the highway we've gotten up to 33 mpg, and average about 27 mpg in mixed city/highway driving. If you can live with the quirks of the CVT drivetrain, you will have yourself a sharp-looking, comfortable and efficient car."
12 people out of 12 found this review helpful