By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 10/16/2012
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.You'll Like This Car If...
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.You May Not Like This Car If...
"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.What's New for 2013
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 It 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.Notable Optional Equipment
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.