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2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review By John Heilig

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By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
ENGINE: 2.4-liter DOHC I-4
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 168 hp @ 6,000 rpm/167 lb.-ft. @ 4,100 rpm
WHEELBASE: 105.1 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 171.5 x 71.3 x 64.2 in.
TIRES: P225/55R18
CARGO: 21.7/49.5 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
ECONOMY: 22 mpg city/27 mpg highway/19.8 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 15.8 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,285 lbs.
TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Mini Cooper Countryman, Kia Sportage, Ford Escape
STICKER: $28,245 (includes $850 destination)

BOTTOM LINE: The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport (not to be confused with the larger Outlander) makes the most of its small size with very good cargo capacity. The engine does tend to buzz, though.

Deceptive is a good word to describe the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. It seems so small on the outside, but when you’re inside, or when you want to carry a hassle of goodies, it suddenly transforms itself into something larger.

Now I’m not suggesting that the Outlander Sport can compete with something like the Chevrolet Suburban, but in its class it does a good job. For example, we have friends who like to take their three grandchildren on excursions. The Outlander Sport is large enough to carry all the passengers, while still having enough cargo capacity behind the second row to bring back souvenirs.

The Outlander Sport still suffers from one big small car/vehicle problem. The ride quality is on the rough side, thanks to a short wheelbase and light weight. Compare it, for example again, to the Suburban whose ride is like a big boat sailing down the highway.

Also, the Outlander Sport’s 2.4-liter engine tends to be buzzy all the time, making conversation difficult at times. Combine the engine with road noise emanating from Pennsylvania’s traditionally rough roads and my wife and I almost had to shout at each other, especially when the radio was on.

But even with the Outlander Sport’s compact exterior, cargo capacity is impressive. It lists at 21.7 cubic feet with the rear seat backs up and more than double that - 49.5 cubic feet - when the rear seat backs are folded. I was impressed by the width. While golf season is over, we did carry three-foot long rolls of Christmas wrapping paper easily from side to side in the back.

The rear seats backs fold easily (60/40) to increase cargo capacity. Rear seat comfort is decent, but legroom is cozy. I found my knees pushing up against the back of the front seat when I had it in my normal position. There is a fairly low center hump which would make carrying three passengers in the back easier. While there is no room for water bottles in the rear doors, the pull-down armrest has a pair of cupholders.

Front seats are comfortable with decent side support. The driver grasps a busy steering wheel after using the start/stop button to fire up the engine. We enjoyed the rockford fosgate sound system as well as the efficient HVAC system. Only three knobs are needed to work the HVAC and get it to do anything you want. Sequential manual steering is possible with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Instruments are white-on-black dials with a tachometer, information panel and speedometer. The information panel has water and fuel gauges plus gear. I chose trip odometer and fuel economy from among the choices.

For interior storage, there is room for water bottles in the front doors, three cupholders between the front seats and a small center console/arm rest that has 12-volt and UAB outlets.

The Outlander Sport design was freshened for the 2016 model year, and sports a grille that could almost make it part of the Lexus family with its wasp-waisted spindle shape, called Dynamic Shield in Mitsubishi-speak. I was also impressed that in a vehicle in this price class the exterior mirrors fold when you leave the OS and lock it.

So the Outlander Sport is deceptive, in its carrying capacity, its four-wheel drive capability, and some of its near-luxury features.

(c) 2016 The Auto Page Syndicate

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