Used 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SUV Review

The 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport's reasonable pricing might come as a pleasant surprise. You get a lot of equipment for the money with this crossover SUV, and fuel economy is decent, too. Let's see how it compares to the rest of the class.




what's new

For 2016, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport receives a new grille and other minor styling updates inside and out, along with a new 6.1-inch touchscreen interface and available power-folding mirrors. Also, an SEL trim level joins the lineup.

vehicle overview

The rate at which vehicles have been improving is staggering. Compare one of today's new cars to another that's just five years old and the differences could be profound. Better interior materials, loads of new technology and improved ride and driving dynamics have all made their way into affordable, mainstream models.

Sadly, the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport seems to be stuck in time. This compact crossover SUV was already a questionable bet when it debuted back in 2011, and it hasn't improved much since. Mitsubishi has added a new grille and infotainment system for 2016, but these are insignificant additions when you consider that most of the car's liabilities remain.

Mitsubishi treated the 2016 Outlander Sport to some new front-end styling.

Notable drawbacks include a lack of power from the base engine (the upgraded 2.4-liter engine is only marginally better), lifeless steering and handling, a lack of interior and cargo space, a shortage of advanced safety features, a loud cabin and a price that doesn't justify tolerating these issues. It's no surprise that the Outlander Sport was given a rare Edmunds "D" rating.

With all of this in mind, you could certainly do better than the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. We suggest taking a long look at "B"-rated crossovers like the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3, as well as the Fiat 500X and Jeep Renegade. Larger "A"-rated SUVs like the Honda CR-V and Mazda CX-5 are also more appealing and well worth the extra money. If you want to reap the benefits of automotive progress, the Outlander Sport is not a solution we'd recommend.

trim levels & features

The five-passenger 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a compact crossover SUV that is available in four trim levels: ES, SE, SEL and GT.

Standard ES features include the 2.0-liter engine, 18-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, remote keyless entry, cruise control, full power accessories, air-conditioning, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, Bluetooth and a four-speaker CD player with a USB port.

Despite its uninspired interior styling, the 2016 Outlander Sport offers most of the features that shoppers in this segment expect.

Stepping up to the SEL tacks on the stronger 2.4-liter engine, automatic headlights, roof rails, power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, shift paddles, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, alloy pedals and a sliding center armrest.

At the top of the range is the GT trim, which adds xenon headlights, a panoramic sunroof with adjustable LED mood lighting and a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system.

Outlander Sport options include remote ignition, front and rear parking sensors, a rear spoiler, a navigation system (with a 7-inch touchscreen and voice controls) and interior ambient lighting.

performance & mpg

The 2016 Outlander Sport's base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is only available on the ES trim level and produces 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the front-drive model, with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) offered at extra cost. The CVT is standard on the ES with all-wheel drive and all other models.

The EPA estimates the front-drive 2.0-liter's fuel economy at 27 mpg combined (24 city/31 highway) with the CVT and 25 mpg combined (23/29) with the manual transmission. The all-wheel-drive 2.0-liter powertrain is estimated at 26 mpg combined (23/29).

In Edmunds testing, an Outlander Sport SE with the 2.0-liter engine, front-wheel drive and the CVT went from zero to 60 mph in 9.2 seconds. That's a slow time in general, but not too bad for the segment.

The 2.4-liter engine (standard on SE, SEL and GT, optional on ES) increases output to 168 hp and 167 lb-ft of torque. Like the 2.0, it is available with either front- or all-wheel drive. According to the EPA, it should return 25 mpg combined (23 city/28 highway) with front-wheel drive and 24 mpg combined (22/27) with all-wheel drive.

At our test track, an Outlander Sport GT with all-wheel drive reached 60 mph in 8.8 seconds, which is actually a quicker-than-average time for vehicles of this type. For context, an all-wheel-drive Jeep Renegade needed 9.4 seconds to hit 60 with its 2.4-liter engine.

safety

Standard safety features for all 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport models include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, hill-hold assist, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and a driver knee airbag. A rearview camera is standard on SE trims and above.

In government crash tests, the Outlander Sport earned four out of five stars overall, including four stars for frontal-impact protection and five stars for side-impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Outlander Sport the second-best score of "Acceptable" in the small-overlap frontal-offset crash test and the best grade of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact, roof-strength and rear-impact (whiplash-protection) crash tests.

In Edmunds testing, a 2.0 SE with front-wheel drive came to a stop from 60 mph in a satisfactory 119 feet. The GT AWD needed only 113 feet, a remarkably short distance for a crossover in this class.

driving

(The following impressions are based on the 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, which is mechanically identical to the 2016 model.) With the base 2.0-liter engine, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport isn't the slowest vehicle in its class, but the raucous drone during acceleration may deter you from exploring its potential. That's largely the CVT's fault, as it's programmed to hold a high engine speed for maximum performance, but the 2.0-liter motor itself is also unrefined by nature. The 2.4-liter upgrade is marginally better-mannered, but the CVT is still an unpleasant companion. Unfortunately for stick-shift enthusiasts, the five-speed manual is only available with the lesser of the two engines.

The 2016 Outlander Sport is serviceable as an errand runner, but its performance and driving dynamics are at the back of the pack.

Despite the "Sport" moniker, this Mitsubishi is far from sporty on a winding road. There's little steering feel and a significant dead spot in the center. The suspension also disappoints, suffering from an abundance of body roll and a nervous ride quality over rough surfaces. In Edmunds handling tests, the Outlander Sport GT was described as being "all over the place."

interior

Compared to other compact crossovers in the class, the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport's interior is bland and outdated. We'll concede that Mitsubishi provides a solid collection of convenience items for the price, but that's about the nicest thing we've got to say. Materials quality throughout the cabin is below the standard set by newer rivals, with an abundance of cheap-feeling plastic surfaces.

With the optional subwoofer installed, the 2016 Outlander Sport's already modest rear cargo area shrinks further.

Interior space also comes up short, with a lack of space, adjustability and seat support for taller-than-average drivers. Rear seats are similarly limiting, with a lack of head- and legroom. Compounding matters are a lack of padding for elbows, a loud highway ride and barely adequate interior storage. Cargo capacity measures 21.7 cubic feet behind the rear seatbacks (20.1 with the subwoofer) and 49.5 cubes with those seatbacks folded down (48.8 with the sub), roughly splitting the difference between the Mazda CX-3 (12.4/44.5) and the Honda HR-V (24.3/58.8).

edmunds expert review process

This review was 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.