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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2017 MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER SPORT REVIEW


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HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel


INTRO TO THE OUTLANDER SPORT VEHICLE
A more compact version of the mid-sized Outlander crossover, the Sport promises versatility and an adventurous experience, and does look pretty sharp with the Limited Edition options such as black rims and unique S-HID headlights. Price is also a big draw.

I drove a 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport with the 168-horsepower 2.4-liter engine with a six-speed Sportronic automatic transmission and paddle shifters. Available in five trim grades – ES, LE, SE, SEL and GT– my SEL test drive came with the following standard features: leather upholstery; five-passenger seating; eight-way power driver’s seat; dual-zone climate control; heated front seats; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; 6.1-inch touchscreen audio display; XM Radio; HD Radio; FUSE Hands-free Link System; power rear liftgate; rearview camera; steering-wheel mounted controls; paddle shifters; roof rails; push-button start; LED head and tail lights; fog lights; eighteen-inch wheels. Total cost for vehicle described without options came to $25,090.

The Outlander Sport is shuffled into the emerging subcompact crossover segment, placing it against the likes of the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HV-R; but I’d call it more of a rival to the Mazda CX-5 and Kia Sportage. The mid-sized Outlander offers more space and a larger 224-horsepower 3-liter V6 engine.

INTRO TO THE OUTLANDER SPORT VEHICL EHEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

INTRO TO THE OUTLANDER SPORT VEHICLES tylish But Comfortable Results: The cabin has increased its appeal over the last couple model years with more thought put into construction and design (omitting the poor fit of the leather upholstery slipcovers) and for the price, it’s a deal. Highlights include items on the top-of-the-line GT, like the Rocksford-Fosgate audio system, all-wheel drive (optional on other trims) and a sunroof. Overall it’s an agreeable fit for the driver and passengers, and I have no complains about comfort and cargo accommodations. It’s when you compare the vehicle to a few other makers – Kia and Mazda come to mind – the Outlander’s shine starts to tarnish. You do get 49.5 cubic square feet of cargo space with the back row folded down and the rear opening features a generous sized hatch.

INTRO TO THE OUTLANDER SPORT VEHICLE Reliability & Safety Factor: While the seven-passenger 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander is a Top Safety Pick with The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Sport version has ratings of “Good” but takes a ding with an “Acceptable” in small overlap front. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the vehicle a 4-Star rating (both versions). Standard safety equipment includes hill-start assist, anti-lock brakes, active stability control, traction control logic, and an advanced airbag system with side curtain airbags.

INTRO TO THE OUTLANDER SPORT VEHICLE Cost Issues: The Outlander Sport starts at $19,795 with the nicer GT trim at $27,695. The base 2017 Mazda CX-3 Sport trim starts at $19,960; another recent test drive in the loaded Grand Touring trim with the GT I-Activsense Package was $27,260. And keep in mind the slightly larger 2017 Honda CR-V starts at $19,465 for the base LX with a recent fully loaded CR-V Touring trim test drive at $33,695.

INTRO TO THE OUTLANDER SPORT VEHICLE Activity & Performance Ability: Once again, agreeable is the optimal word to describe the Outlander Sport, as the ride offered suitable enough acceleration and road feel. But as with the interior, when you start comparing the performance to other models the Sport comes up short. The Mazda CX-3’s 2-liter turbo offers quick action paired to a solid feel at the corners and when jumping off the starting lines or full stops. You also don’t want to start talking gas mileage comparisons either, as the larger Honda CR-V with the 1.5-liter retained 28.8 miles-per-gallon with all-wheel drive next to the Outlander Sport’s 25 combined with front-wheel drive.

INTRO TO THE OUTLANDER SPORT VEHICLE The Green Concern: The Mazda CX-3 gets 29 miles-per gallon city and 32 highway for a combined 31 miles-per-gallon with front-wheel drive. The Outlander Sport suffers here at 23-city and 28-highway for a combined 25 miles-per-gallon with front-wheel drive. And while the Honda HR-V’s 1.8-liter engine is smaller, it offers 28-city and 35-highway for a combined 29 miles-per-gallon with all-wheel drive.

INTRO TO THE OUTLANDER SPORT VEHICLE FINAL PARTING WORDS

The 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is seemingly the largest choice in the subcompact crossover market, and certainly offers an appealing cabin and price – just don’t turn a blind eye to the sagging fuel economy stats and seductive performance from its Mazda competitor.

INTRO TO THE OUTLANDER SPORT VEHICLE©2017 Katrina Ramser

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