By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.7
In creating the 2013 Outlander Sport SUV, Mitsubishi borrowed more than just the name from its Outlander SUV, it also liberated a good deal of the chassis and suspension. Designed to compete with the smallest of compact SUVs such as the Mini Countryman and Nissan Juke, the Outlander Sport brings all the excitement and style of its rivals, albeit with less power but also a much lower price. Good road manners, a fuel-efficient engine and a low sticker price are the Outlander Sport's trump cards, but we think people will like it just because it's such a fun and affordable little SUV.
If you don't need more room than is found in a Ford Focus or VW Golf hatchback, but you want a vehicle that sits up a bit higher with good ground clearance and available 4-wheel drive (4WD), the fun and frugal 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport makes a good choice.
"Cute" doesn't always translate into "quick," as is the case with the Outlander Sport. If you need power to pass, pull or haul, you might be better served by a turbocharged or V6-powered SUV. Those needing maximum cargo space might look to the larger Outlander, Kia Sportage or Mazda CX-5.
The 2013 Outlander Sport receives a mild exterior freshening, improvements to its suspension and power steering setup and some interior upgrades; 18-inch wheels are made standard while 4WD is now available on the ES trim.
Driving Impressions The 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has a comfortable driving position and great views out. 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, paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel offer manual control. The 5-speed manual transmission, only on the base Outlander Sport ES 2-wheel-drive (2WD) model, 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 2013 Outlander Sport has a simple, user-friendly interior. 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. 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.
Here's where the 2013 Outlander Sport SUV 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 both the ES and SE version stand out, a change up from last year's 16-inchers. 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 2013 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, 18-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 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.
All 2013 Outlander Sport models can be spruced up with a navigation system and 40-gig hard drive, rearview camera, a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate sound system, remote engine start, and a panoramic glass roof. All-wheel drive is available on both the ES and SE trims.
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: 24/30 mpg (manual), 24/31 mpg (automatic), 24/29 mpg (automatic, AWD)
A 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is among the few compact-utility vehicles that start under $20,000, including destination. Its entry price undercuts rivals such as the Mazda CX-5, Nissan Juke, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Subaru Forester, Mini Cooper and even the Hyundai Tucson by hundreds to thousands of dollars. Even a well-equipped Outlander Sport is relatively easy on the wallet, climbing to the mid-$20,000 mark. A fully loaded, top-of-the-line 2013 Outlander Sport SE with AWD can reach about $32,000. Be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what buyers are paying for this vehicle in your area. Resale values for the Outlander Sport are near the bottom of its class.
By outlanderlover (WI) 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!"
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By iatosea73 (IA) 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."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By Mr. Mag (CA) on Saturday, November 09, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Rides smooth, handles great, agressive look"
Cons: "needs longer sun visor"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Don't get caught up on the hype with Honda and Toyota. Don't get me wrong, they make great cars. But if you want to get more, but spend less and still get a reliable and quality vehicle then highly consider the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. I've owned Honda, Toyota, Nissan, and Suzuki and loved every one of them. But when I purchased the Mitsubishi after careful research and review, the Outlander Sport by far was the best overall! It rides smoothly and handles great. It fits my family well and all the stuff that comes along with kids! Gas mileage is better than average. It has a much better look than the rest. But the best feature of all that makes it the best of the bunch is that it earned the IIHS Top Safety Plus Award. Enough said. Get yours!"
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By PAULIEWANKENOBI on Saturday, September 07, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,500overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Cons: "Poor gas mileage, crampy and noisy interior, cheap"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"I orginally bought this car based on advertised 31mpg and 4wd capability. I must say after over 30kmi's, the gas mileage of 20-23mpg overall is the norm. I do a mix of driving mostly highway though. The cheap Goodyear garbage tires are at about 40% per the dealer and need replacing soon, the car is loud at anything above half throttle, the interior is dark, drab and my glovebox continually creaks and the dealer has not been able to correct, even after applying electrical tape to all the joints.(Yeah I called Mitsubishi Corporate on that service call, dealer admitted not approved remedy to fix, and replaced glovebox) however the creaking is now in the dashboard somewhere. Overall not impressed and let down by the false gas mileage advertisement. Buyer beware."
9 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By jeffreyj2 (CA) on Monday, August 12, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,100overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Styling, comfort, city-sized, fun to drive"
Cons: "Small cargo area , slow automatic, climate control"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I've had my Outlander Sport for almost a year and love it. I was happy to see that it is being recommended as a used car now by multiple sources, as its seems very well constructed and reliable. The vehicle was a terrific deal - its loaded with options that result in much more expensive pricing on other vehicles. I paid just over $20,000 for mine with the incentives that were being offered. The Outlander Sport has agile handling and is easy to park in the city. It has very comfortable seating for long car trips or long durations in traffic. It looks great and stands out among the usual compact SUVs. The only letdown is tepid acceleration when driving with the CVT automatic. In that mode, you can't say it's fast or even quick. But when switching to the manual mode with the metal paddle shifters, the Outlander Sport wakes up with quick acceleration. The back seat is a bit tight for three, perfect for two, and the cargo space is small. That's an acceptable tradeoff for ease of parking in the city. I love this vehicle!"
13 people out of 15 found this review helpful
By lanmanlee13 (CA) on Wednesday, July 31, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,400overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good price, fun to drive, sporty"
Cons: "Light rear end"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I would recommend this vehicle to anyone looking for an inexpensive SUV with a lot of bells and whistls."
5 people out of 6 found this review helpful