We have been 'watching' the Outlander Sport for several years. We finally bought a 2016 Outlander Sport ES to replace our 2005 Mazda Tribute i. The Outlander Sport is a much nicer vehicle and we paid less for it than we paid for the Tribute in 2005. Why would we buy a vehicle that rates an 'a rare Edmunds "D" rating'? Lets count the reasons:
1. Safety - The Outlander Sport has 'Good' IIHS crash ratings except for an 'Acceptable' Front Small Overlap rating. The old Mazda received a 'Poor' side crash rating. Many newer vehicles do not pass the Front Small Overlap test.
2. Reliability - 2015 CR states that the Outlander Sport has excellent reliability. Models built from 2012-2015 were made in Illinios. 2016 models sold in this country are made in Japan once again.
3. Features - Comes standard with everything. You won't need to upgrade or get an option package for Cruise Control which seems to be very common for vehicles in this price range. Love the usb port, heated side mirrors, rear center arm rest with cup holders, easy fold split rear seat and the Hill Start Assist feature; again all standard.
4. Performance - According to Edmunds 0-60 in 8.8 seconds(2011 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Road Test), 60-0 in 119 feet. Reported best gas mileage to be 29-32 without trying too hard. Comfortable seats and yes it does have a telescoping, leather wrapped steering wheel standard. It rides better than the Mazda did and it is quieter too. You can hear the engine during hard acceleration but it quiets down while cruising. We don't have any issues with how it handles. Perhaps it is not 'Sporty' but even CR gave it a good (1/2 red dot) Routine Handling rating. It has the nicest interior of any vehicle we have ever owned.
Maybe it is true that 'the rate at which vehicles have been improving is staggering' but so has their price. The Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3 must be fantastic vehicles if they are really that much better than the Outlander Sport. The problem is that for the price we actually paid for the Outlander Sport, they are not competing against each other. In fact for the price we paid there are very few new vehicles to consider and the Outlander Sport beats them easily. If you are looking for a vehicle capable of handling four tall adults and their stuff there are very few choices in this price range.
If you are the type of person who replaces their vehicle as often as their iPhone then the Outlander Sport is probable not for you. But if you are like many Americans who agonize over every dollar spent you need to at least consider the Outlander Sport. Compare it to the one you are currently driving not to one that will put you in debt forever.
--------------------------------------------- Update -----------------------------------
We took our Outlander Sport on a trip. We started where the speed limit was 65 MPH. It then turned to 70, then 75 and finally 80 MPH. It made little difference, many drivers always go 10-15 mph above the limit. At least the semis seem to stay in the 65-70 MPH range. We cruised at 75 MPH for a couple of days including mountain passes. We then went up twisty switchbacks to 11,000 ft to get to a cabin. The Outlander Sport did well. Noise was something of a problem on certain sections of the highway while on other pavement it was very pleasant. When the time comes we might try some different tires (Michelin Defenders) to see if that helps. The Outlander Sport rode well. I detected a little 'float' while driving around a bumpy corner once but no one else in the vehicle noticed anything. After 6000 miles our best gas mileage was 34 MPG, our worst was 27 MPG. Overall we are very pleased with our Outlander Sport. It isn't a Toyota Camry on the interstate but then again I wouldn't want to take a Camry on some of the dirt roads we ended up on. One improvement we made to our base model was to add tweeters to our front speakers. The wiring and everything is already there so it was pretty easy to do and really added to the overall sound quality.
I had a 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander but wanted a smaller suv with 4wd option. I looked at Honda HRV, Mazda CX5, Nissan Rogue, Kia Sportage and none even compare to the Outlander Sport. My requirements are good stereo and satellite radio. You have to buy top of the line trims with the others to get this. The SE trim also has push button entry which is a great safety feature and means no searching for keys. The chrome on the front makes it look expensive. The AC is very cold which is awesome because we are having record high temps this summer. Lets not forget the 5 year warranty and roadside assistance (which I never used on my last one). Please ignore the "expert" reviews and look at consumer reviews for past years.
This 2016 Outlander sport SE 2.4 AWD is the best kept secret. As others have said it is underrated for sure, it is quiet, good MPG, CVT transmission is far better than the DCT (duel clutch transmission) many makers are putting in their models. So called expert reviews are really lopsided on this vehicle, Before you buy one of the EXPERT best rated models, go with the consumer ratings and give this hidden gem a try, I did and I am more than satisfied I made the right choice.
I was not in the market for a small SUV and it is not really my thing. I just sold an S2000 sports car, drive a BMW 328i and was shopping for a new Boxster so the Outlander sport was not really in my wheelhouse. And then a telephone call came that I was a finalist to win one in a drawing I had entered online. I went to the final drawing and won the car. I had been helping my sister shop for a small SUV so I was very familiar with the Rav4, CRV, Mazda CX4 and the Escape having looked at all of them with her very recently. We did not look at the Outlander Sport and that was probably a mistake, and the big mistake comes in value for your money. After I won the base model 2.0 I was allowed to drive a loaded GT model with the larger engine. First, skip the base 2.0 and go straight to the 2.4. I drove around and the car did not have as much power for what I was used to and I had never personally driven a CVT car but it was decent. I am used to cars with lots of power and thought I would be severely disappointed, but I wasn't. I don't drive like a maniac and for a car to commute comfortably in, this car will do fine. I spent some additional money to upgrade my base model to an SEL model which the dealer sells for No haggle at $23,500 with the current rebate structure. It has proximity keyless entry, leather seats, a backup camera, a decent touchscreen audio system, bluetooth, the larger engine and all the other common features like power windows and cruise, and I almost forgot, AWD. The only features I did not pay extra for were the panoramic roof (kinda cool) upgraded stereo and Nav. So the car was pretty loaded for a low price compared to the competition and has a very comprehensive warranty (10 years 100,000 miles on the engine and transmission, 5 year 60,000 bumper to bumper). The car rides and drives well, is fairly comfortable, and has lots of features for the price. There had been some quality issues in the past from a factory here in the US that was closed, and all Outlander Sports now come from Japan and the quality seems very good. Of the competition, most have better engines, better fuel economy, some have better interiors, maybe a little more space, or drive sportier. But the Outlander Sport offers a pretty good little car for a very low price with lots of content and a top notch warranty. I was going to trade mine but I am keeping it. It is a neat little car that does a lot really well, just not very fast. It could do with about 15 more horsepower and 4 more miles per gallon to better compete but those are my major gripes. If you are in the market for a small SUV/Crossover and want a lot on a small budget, give it a look. You might be very pleasantly surprised. Just be sure to get the 2.4 liter engine.
I've been looking at cars to replace my 2009 Suzuki SX4 for a few years now. That car's only good review was that it was the least expensive 4WD vehicle on the market at the time. But it is still running great with almost 160k miles and hasn't a spec of rust on it. Needless to say, because of that, I read expert reviews a bit skeptically. I've always liked the look of the Outlander Sport and, in doing my research, kept coming back to it despite the mediocre expert reviews (these reviews seem to place more emphasis on things that are not important to me anyhow). I finally bought one last month. Basically, I needed a vehicle to get me to work and back. I'm not going to be driving the Autobahn or loading up with gear or kids or am trying to impress folks with an overpriced luxury brand name. I need a dependable AWD/4WD car with good ground clearance because I live in Vermont and have to travel 2½ miles on a hilly dirt road to get home. This road turns to muddy soup in spring and, of course, we usually get lots of snow, ice, etc, for 5-6 months of the year. A Renegade and a VW Tiguan were in the running but both didn't get great reliability ratings from customers (I always read the customer reviews!). I didn't need any bells and whistles, but I ended up with the SE model and am having fun with the infotainment system and love the heated seats! I like that this car has the push-button mode of driving like my Suzuki that allows to you to easily switch from FWD to 4WD to 4WD low. I also like that there is a manual mode with the automatic. I can go down my road in 3rd gear and not have to brake or give it much gas. I don't notice anything different about the CVT shifting that the experts mention. There are only 6 gears (unlike the Renegade, which has 9) so that mean less shifting, I supposed. The MPG is about on par with the Suzuki at 25 mpg combined, but considering this has a larger engine, I'm okay with that. I need the extra power to get home much of the time. The car also just feels very solid - nothing tinny about it. My only low marks are because of the back seats. There is plenty of room back there, but they just aren't that comfortable. Fortunately, I rarely have backseat passengers. So, if you want a very reasonably priced, dependable, solid vehicle that'll be good transportation, this car is definitely something you should consider.