The 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a compact five-passenger crossover that starts from a solid premise, namely providing many of the segment's most desirable features and options at a relative bargain price. But, like so many seemingly well-conceived plans, the Outlander Sport begins to fall apart in the execution.
Under the hood, the fuel-efficient 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that's standard on the base ES model provides anemic performance that's especially noticeable when merging with freeway traffic or trying to pass another vehicle. The optional 2.4-liter engine that powers higher trim levels produces average acceleration, but both are hamstrung by a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that seems to be constantly hunting for the proper gear ratio. EPA fuel economy estimates range from a decent 27 mpg combined (24 city/30 highway) for front-wheel-drive models with the 2.0-liter base engine, to 24 mpg combined (22 city/27 highway) with the larger 2.4-liter engine and all-wheel drive.
The overly aggressive accelerator pedal response can prove exasperating in relaxed everyday driving. The soft brake pedal feel can also take some getting used to. Braking distances in simulated panic stops from 60 mph were acceptable, though the Outlander Sport produced excessive nosedive and some side-to-side motion under hard braking. Steering feels slightly vague, robbing the vehicle of whatever performance pretensions the name may imply.
Inside, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport suffers from average quality materials and ergonomic shortcomings, including a telescoping steering wheel with limited range that makes it difficult for anyone taller than average height to find a comfortable driving position. Minimal thigh support and limited seat padding and adjustments up front don't help either. The low backseat isn't much better, with thin cushions, a shortage of headroom and a lack of elbow padding. The droning engine note, fair amount of wind noise at speed and rough ride quality all add to the tedium.
When it comes to cargo-carrying capacity, the Outlander Sport offers 21.7 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats, which is as much as 40 percent less than some competitors. Fold those rear seats flat and you end up with just 49.5 cubic feet, which is still on the small side by comparison.
While we'd encourage you to take a look at the Outlander Sport's competitors before making up your mind, it bears noting that the Mitsubishi comes with an attractive price tag that makes it possible to snap up a well-equipped version for about the same price you'd pay for an entry-level competitor. The base ES trim level is pretty spartan, but the next three trim levels — the SE, SEL and GT — add a number of desirable goodies, making the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport worth a look for budget-conscious shoppers. But let Edmunds help find the perfect 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.