Quick Summary Mitsubishi's Outlander Sport is only four years old, but it feels older. Its comfort, interior space, cargo capacity and performance fall well short of the mark set by most of its competitors. It scores points for admirable fuel economy and a generous warranty, but these aren't enough to overcome the numerous drawbacks.
What Is It? The 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a five-passenger compact SUV that shares its underpinnings with the larger Outlander SUV and Lancer sedan. Prices start at $20,420 for the base model ES trim with a manual transmission. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available for an additional $1,200.
Our SE trim tester is only available with the CVT and starts at $23,620. For the additional cost, you get xenon headlights, keyless ignition/entry, heated front seats, a rearview camera and a 6-inch touchscreen interface.
Added to our Outlander Sport SE was the optional Touring package, which includes a panoramic sunroof, navigation system, leather upholstery, premium audio and a power driver seat. In this configuration, the as-tested price rose to $28,545. All-wheel drive is also available on all trim levels for another $1,400.
How Does It Drive? The only engine offered in the Outlander Sport is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. In Edmunds testing, 9.2 seconds (8.9 seconds with 1 foot of rollout, like on a drag strip) were required to reach 60 mph, which is on the slow side for the class. More significantly, it feels even slower than it is as the CVT reacts sluggishly and makes poor use of the available power.
When accelerating from a stop, the Outlander Sport starts with an immediate burst, but that fades rapidly. It takes a very light touch on the pedal to avoid a clumsy lurch forward and in stop-and-go traffic it quickly becomes tiresome. Merging on the highway requires flooring the pedal and you'll need a large gap between cars to keep from obstructing the flow of traffic.
Coming to a stop isn't much better as the soft brake pedal does little to instill confidence. In panic brake tests, the Sport came to a halt from 60 mph in 119 feet, which is about average among compact SUVs. More concerning was an occasional and unnerving side-to-side shimmy and the tendency for road imperfections to lengthen this distance by another 10 feet.
Broken pavement really becomes an issue on the open road, though. Rather than absorbing ruts and cracks, the Outlander Sport rattles over them like a shopping cart. In these conditions, it feels as though the tires momentarily lose contact with the road. Larger bumps are met with more compliance but the result is lingering body movement or "float." Encountering road irregularities while cornering further spotlights this shortcoming as the car reacts with an unsettling and stiff shudder that is felt and heard in the cabin.
Compounding matters is the vague steering. There's little steering effort, minimal feedback reaching the driver and a noticeable dead spot on center. This, in combination with the other deficiencies, makes the Outlander Sport anything but sporty.
Is It Comfortable on the Road? The Outlander Sport feels like it's intended for smaller drivers. The average 5-foot-10-inch adult will immediately notice that the lack of telescoping steering wheel travel demands they sit closer than they'd prefer.
Seat cushioning is adequate, but all of the aforementioned road imperfections are still noticeable. Rear seats are similarly small, with short cushions mounted low to the floor. There's also a distinct lack of headroom for 6-footers.
Even for those who fit, comfort is further compromised by cabin noise. The engine drones loudly when accelerating, but quiets down once highway speeds are reached. That drone, however, is replaced by intrusive wind noise. The lack of padding for elbow touch points is yet another source of irritation.
How Refined Is the Interior? Unlike the aggressive exterior styling that echoes the aging Lancer, the interior lacks any visual interest. The controls are laid out clearly, but none of them look like they are part of an overall theme. And even with the optional leather upholstery, materials quality falls well short of the competition.
Included in the $4,900 Touring package is a larger 7-inch touchscreen, a navigation system and premium Rockford Fosgate audio. Unfortunately, operating these systems is both inconvenient and aggravating. Physical and on-screen buttons are small and with the display mounted low in the center stack, even simple operations require taking your eyes off the road. More advanced functions like voice activation, Internet streaming radio and restaurant reviews and reservations — all of which are available on competitors — are not offered.
One of the most significant gripes we had with the system is the amount of time it took to connect to iPhone media via the USB port. Upon startup, it took an average of four minutes to begin playing music and even then, the connection was unreliable. Even worse, it required this extended wait every time you get in the car. We eventually gave up and opted for the Bluetooth streaming audio instead.
Only 21.7 cubic feet of cargo space is available behind the rear seats. That's between 20 and 40 percent less than the Outlander Sport's primary competitors. With the seats folded flat, the capacity grows to 54.6 cubic feet, which is also significantly less than rivals. Up front, storage space for personal items is merely adequate.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Can You Expect? If there's a bright spot to the Outlander Sport, it's fuel efficiency. The EPA estimates it'll achieve 28 mpg combined (25 city/32 highway), which is better than most competitors.
More importantly, we managed to not only confirm these estimates, we exceeded one of them. In its time with us, the Outlander averaged 24.6 mpg, but on a highway-heavy evaluation drive over 100-plus miles it produced 36.8 mpg.
What Safety Features Are Available? In addition to the typical items found in all new vehicles like stability control and antilock brakes, the 2015 Outlander Sport also adds a driver's knee airbag. A rearview camera is standard on the SE trim, but not offered on the ES. Front and rear parking sensors are an option on both models. Noticeably absent are features like a blind-spot warning system, frontal collision alerts, emergency telematics and rear cross-traffic alerts, which are offered by most competitors.
What Are Its Closest Competitors? The Mazda CX-5 earned the only Edmunds "A" rating in the segment for its engaging driving dynamics, high fuel economy and roomy, comfortable interior. It's well built and generally feels like it's more expensive than other crossovers. Even without the upgraded 2.5-liter engine, it remains competitive with the Mitsubishi in terms of feature content and price.
The Ford Escape offers a similar list of standard and optional features at a price that remains competitive with the Outlander Sport. The Escape gains an advantage for its better driving dynamics, higher-quality cabin and abundance of trim and engine options.
The Kia Sportage delivers a wealth of standard features, sporty handling and a powerful engine option. The ride quality is on the firm side and the rear seats and cargo area are smaller than the Ford or Mazda but still larger than the Outlander Sport.
Why Should You Consider This SUV? The 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has an advantage over most competitors when it comes to fuel economy and its 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty coverage. If you log many highway miles, it's about as efficient as small SUVs get.
Why Should You Think Twice About This SUV? Compared to most other compact SUVs, the Outlander Sport comes up short in terms of refinement, overall comfort and utility.
The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.
Is the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport a good car? Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2015 Outlander Sport featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our Review Process All of our reviews are written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.
How do people like the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport? Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2015 Outlander Sport 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2015 Outlander Sport.
Review I don't know why "experts" are so harsh on this vehicle. We initially looked at the 2015 outlander sport based on looks alone. Even the ES base features are nice such as blue tooth. The outlander isn't noticeably slow as some reviews state, and it more than makes up for that by incredible MPG even with 4x4. Some reviews also said the engine is loud, but I didn't notice that over the awesome premium sound system that comes standard. The warranty, price and quality are unmatched. I would recommend this car to anyone.
How can Edmunds help? Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color
Is the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander-sport safe? The 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander-sport earned a 4-star overall safety rating from NHTSA and "GOOD" ratings from the IIHS in the following caregories: Side Impact Test, Roof Strength Test, Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint, Moderate Overlap Front Test Results, and a JD POWER overall quality rating of 3.0 out of 5. Among Edmunds' many tools and resources for finding your perfect car are detailed safety ratings and analysis from NHTSA, IIHS, and JD Power, including overall ratings, frontal barrier crash ratings, side impact tests and crash ratings, rollover test results, roof strength tests, rear crash protection and head restraint ratings, side barrier ratings, combined side barrier and pole ratings, and more.
What options are available on the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport?
Available Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2015 Submodel Types: SUV
Available Trims: 2.0 ES, ES, SE, 2.4 SE, 2.0 LE, 2.4 SEL, 2.4 ES, 2.4 GT, LE
Exterior Colors: Labrador Black Pearl, Rally Red Metallic, Cool Silver Metallic, Diamond White Pearl, Mercury Gray Metallic, Mercury Gray Pearl, Octane Blue Metallic, Quick Silver Metallic, White Pearl, Quartz Brown Metallic, Laguna Blue Metallic, Mercury Gray, Cosmic Blue Metallic, Labrador Black Metallic, Alloy Silver Metallic
Interior Colors: Black cloth, Black premium cloth, Gray cloth, Black leather, Gray premium cloth
Popular Features: Alarm, Audio and cruise controls on steering wheel, Bluetooth, Fold Flat Rear Seats, Rear Bench Seats, Stability Control, Tire Pressure Warning, Trip Computer, USB Inputs, Aux Audio Inputs, Auto Climate Control, AWD/4WD, Heated seats, Back-up camera, Upgraded Headlights, Keyless Entry/Start, Power Driver Seat, Leather Seats, Apple Carplay/Android Auto, Sunroof/Moonroof, Upgraded Stereo, Remote Start, Electronic Folding Mirrors, Navigation, Parking sensors