Compact SUV Comparison: 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

By Allyson Harwood on June 6, 2016 10:01 PM

A tough sell against so many newer, better entries.

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Starting Price: $21,690 (with automatic transmission) | Build

Above Average: Ease of parking, affordable price, excellent warranty

Below Average: Resale value, refinement, roominess, fuel economy

Consensus: Better for 2016, but still lags far behind the competition

450 Miles in 104 Words

The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has the lowest starting sticker price in our test, but it also has the lowest predicted resale values. The segment's smallest footprint gives it superior maneuverability, but it also results in the smallest back seat and cargo area in our test. The Outlander Sport offers very impressive 5-year/60,00-mile bumper-to-bumper and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranties, but so do the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage. An aging but decent little SUV in a category full of newer, more modern and more refined entries -- most of them with better resale value -- Mitsubishi's compact SUV isn't the best choice for most buyers.

A Closer Look

The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ranked last in all nine of our primary evaluation categories. Here’s a quick look at its relative strengths and weaknesses, followed by deeper dives into each:

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Highway Driving

The Outlander Sport is the least powerful SUV of the bunch, and has to exert itself more under hard acceleration. There's enough passing power when you need it, but you may want to plan ahead. On uneven surfaces, ride comfort isn't as good as with other SUVs, but the driver's seat proved comfortable on long stretches.

City Driving

Cool paddle shifters make the best possible use of the 4-cylinder's 168 horsepower. The SUV's excellent visibility, thanks to large windows and side mirrors -- plus the Outlander Sport's diminutive size -- ease around-town maneuvers and parking.

Sporty Driving

Those paddle shifters also come in handy when zipping around on twisting mountain roads, but driving on grades highlighted the limitations of the engine's power. Steering was somewhat numb off-center and the Mitsubishi tended to understeer in turns.

Interior Appeal

The cabin has a simple, uncluttered interior with cool contrast stitching, but a lot of plastics and hard materials throughout. It's also the smallest interior of the group, as noted earlier. Large windows and the panoramic moonroof of our Outlander Sport GT tester helped make the cabin feel larger.

Infotainment

The Outlander Sport had the lowest as-tested price in our group, but it was also the only one without a navigation system. Mitsubishi updated the Outlander Sport's infotainment system for 2016, but there are notable shortcomings: the screen and its touch points and buttons are small, plus connecting a smartphone via Bluetooth isn't as intuitive as in other compact SUVs.

Rear Seat Room

It's a small vehicle, and its rear seat is notably smaller than the others in this group. This dimension puts the Outlander Sport at a disadvantage, and serves as a strong reminder of this Mitsubishi's place hovering between subcompact and compact SUV.

Cargo Room

With all six SUVs lined up side by side in the parking lot of our Big Bear hotel, it was immediately evident that the Outlander Sport had the smallest cargo area of the group. Shoppers looking to transport four people and gear at the same time should look elsewhere, but with the rear seats folded down the Mitsubishi offers more than enough room for typical cargo-hauling duties. 

Fuel Economy 

Having the engine with the least horsepower did not translate into the most fuel efficiency. We measured at different intervals, and noted that the Outlander Sport had worst- or near-worst fuel economy throughout the test. The numbers were consistent, at least, as our observed 21 mpg in more city-biased driving and 26.5 highway mpg were both within one mpg of the EPA's 22 city and 27 highway mpg ratings.

Resale Value 

The Outlander Sport has the weakest predicted resale values of this group. Combined with a long warranty and a surprisingly solid reputation for reliability, the Outlander Sport is perhaps most compelling as a used vehicle.

Inside and Out: 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT 2.4 AWC 

 

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