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New Car Review: 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.4 SEL AWD Review By John Heilig

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


REVIEWED MODEL: 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.4 SEL AWD
ENGINE: 2.4-liter four
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 64.8 in.
TIRES: P225/55R18
ECONOMY: 23 mpg city/28 mpg highway/15.8 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 15.8 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,285 lbs. #/HP: 19.6
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Jeep Compass, Subaru Outback, GMC Terrain, Toyota RAV4
STICKER: $29,110 (includes $940 delivery, $2,275 options)

BOTTOM LINE: The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a perfectly serviceable small SUV. It just lacks the Wow factor.

The small sport utility segment is one of the more crowded among the various market groups. Therefore, in order to stand out, a vehicle has to have what I call the Wow factor. This is some feature that makes the individual vehicle stand out from the crowd.

For example, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a nice small SUV. It has a 2.4-liter engine delivering 168 horsepower and a decent pounds-per-horsepower rating of less than 20, which doesn’t put it in the performance car segment, but doesn’t mean it’s a slug, either.

The engine tends to be buzzy at all speeds, though. It isn’t an offensive fuzziness, but it’s still there. I was disappointed with our test economy of 15.5 mpg, far below the EPA estimated 25 mpg overall. I’m willing to attribute this to the time of year of our test drive (winter) and numerous short trips versus longer ones. 

The Outlander Sport offers a firm ride without the benefit of good handling. Let’s face it, the vehicle is a sport utility and not the kind of vehicle you buy for its handling prowess. The suspension is a fairly conventional McPherson strut front suspension and multi-link rear.

While I decry the lack of Wow, the Outlander Sport does have its own redeeming qualities. Since our test vehicle wasn’t equipped with Sirius XM, my prime choice of entertainment, we had to resort to Bluetooth streaming from my phone. Audio quality was good when I could get the radio to listen to my phone. However, the phone connection to the 7-inch infotainment screen was good. The screen offered a GPS map function, but there was apparently no navigation function. 

Front seats are comfortable and heated, which is an asset in cold weather. Rear seat legroom is tight with passengers’ knees butting up to the rear of the front seats. There’s good rear visibility. Between the rear seats is a fold-down armrest with a pair of cupholders. However, there is no room in the rear doors for water bottles as there is in the front doors. At the base of the center stack are two USB outlets, heated seat controls, the traction control switch and a 12-volt outlet.  The main center console is small, but inside it has a shelf plus a 12-volt outlet. The cargo area is  good size at 21.7 cubic feet with the rear seat backs up. This expands to a functional 49.5 cubic feet with the seat backs down. 

The Outlander Sport has a very good heater that not only kept us warm, it did a good job of defrosting the windshield. I like the three-knob HVAC controls - one for temperature, one for fan speed and one for air flow direction. 

Our Outlander Sport was equipped with 4-wheel drive. The button to shift into 4WD is located on the console ahead of the shifter. It’s a good location and it’s clearly marked. Dimensionaly, the Outlander Sport fits in with the competition. In fact, since I get to drive a variety of small SUVs, there were times I forgot exactly which vehicle I was driving.

Overall, the Outlander Sport is a nice vehicle that fits well into its segment. Sadly, I failed to find the Wow factor.other than the price and value.

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