2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review

Beset with too many flaws, the Outlander Sport is outmatched by more refined small crossovers.
2.5 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Brent Romans
Edmunds Editor

Relativity often influences critical opinion. Just as Happy Gilmore could be seen a cinematographic masterpiece compared to, say, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is worlds better than classic automotive stinkers such as the Chevrolet Vega and Ford Pinto. Undoubtedly, the Outlander Sport will safely get you to where you need to go. But compared to its modern competition, this pint-sized Mitsubishi falls short in nearly every category.

We say "nearly" because there are a couple bright spots to the Outlander Sport. The main one is value. It's one of the least expensive crossover SUVs you'll come across, yet Mitsubishi has managed to pack it with most of the features you'll likely want. Mitsubishi's warranty coverage is also better than most, which could further the financial appeal of the Outlander Sport if you plan to own it for a long time.

But for everything else we evaluate vehicles on, the Outlander Sport brings up the rear. It's noisy and slow when accelerating, uncomfortable and harsh-riding over bumps, and not overwhelmingly versatile from a utility standpoint. In general, the Outlander Sport is ineffective at convincing you that you bought anything other than basic transportation.

Like a plucky Happy Gilmore winning a golf tournament to save the day, we'd like to see the plucky Outlander Sport rise to greatness. For now, however, we think you'll be much happier with rival crossovers such as the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade and Mazda CX-3.



what's new

For 2018, the Mitsubishi Outlander receives updated styling front and rear, minor interior enhancements, and changes said to reduce cabin noise. There are new features this year as well. Every Outlander Sport now has a touchscreen display, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration is included on most trim levels. There's also a new option package for the SEL trim level that includes advanced driver safety aids. The GT trim level has been discontinued.

we recommend

Get the Outlander Sport's SE trim. It's the most affordable way to get the more powerful 2.4-liter engine. You'll appreciate its extra power, and there's hardly any dip in fuel economy compared to the less powerful 2.0-liter engine found on the ES and LE trim levels. The SE also has a solid mix of features such as keyless ignition and entry, heated front seats, and a touchscreen interface with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

trim levels & features

The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a five-passenger compact crossover SUV that can be seen as the little brother to the three-row Outlander. The entry-level ES and LE are motivated by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (148 horsepower, 145 pound-feet) that is a bit slow. The SE and SEL are powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder (168 hp, 167 lb-ft) that feels more potent. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is optional on all trims.

Standard ES features include 18-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, remote locking and unlocking, cruise control, automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver seat, a driver information display, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen display, a rearview camera, and a four-speaker audio system with a USB port. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is optional.

The LE trim adds xenon headlights with LED running lights, fog lights, special exterior and interior styling details, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a slightly smaller touchscreen (6.5 inches) that has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

Next is the Outlander Sport's SE trim. It gets most of the LE's upgrades except the xenon headlights and styling changes. It also has the 7-inch touchscreen (now with the Android and Apple phone integration) and a six-speaker audio system with satellite radio and an extra USB port.

When you step up to the SEL, you get the xenon headlights plus power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery and a power-adjustable driver seat.

The main factory option for the 2018 Outlander Sport is a Touring package for the SEL. It includes a panoramic sunroof, a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and automatic high-beam headlights.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of a 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SEL (2.4L inline-4 | CVT automatic | AWD).

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Outlander Sport has received only minor revisions. Our findings remain applicable to this year's model.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall2.5 / 5.0

Driving

2.0 / 5.0

Acceleration2.0 / 5.0
Braking2.0 / 5.0
Steering2.0 / 5.0
Handling2.0 / 5.0
Drivability2.0 / 5.0

Comfort

2.0 / 5.0

Seat comfort2.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort1.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration2.0 / 5.0
Climate control2.5 / 5.0

Interior

2.5 / 5.0

Ease of use3.0 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out3.0 / 5.0
Driving position2.0 / 5.0
Roominess2.0 / 5.0
Visibility2.5 / 5.0
Quality3.5 / 5.0

Utility

3.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage2.5 / 5.0
Cargo space2.5 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
The "Sport" in Outlander Sport is a misnomer. The 2.0-liter engine is underpowered, the CVT performs poorly, and its handling and suspension tuning are unrefined. It's a pretty dreary vehicle to drive.

acceleration

edmunds rating
Our measured 0-60-mph time of 8.5 seconds with the 2.4-liter engine is a bit better than average for this class of vehicle. Performance suffers with the smaller engine, though. With either engine, acceleration is uneven because of an overly sensitive gas pedal.

braking

edmunds rating
The brake pedal is soft, so you may have to press it a bit harder than expected to slow the Outlander Sport. Distances in simulated-panic stops from 60 mph are reasonable for this class. However, stability under hard braking is poor due to extreme nosedive and side-to-side wiggling.

steering

edmunds rating
Every steering motion is met with a delayed body reaction. Even worse, there's very little on-center feel. You constantly have to make adjustments to keep the Outlander Sport going straight down the road.

handling

edmunds rating
The Outlander Sport suffers from skittish handling and large amounts of body roll when it's driven aggressively around turns. It doesn't inspire much confidence in its ability to make evasive maneuvers during emergency handling situations.

drivability

edmunds rating
The Outlander Sport lurches forward when you first accelerate because of a jumpy gas pedal and overly aggressive CVT transmission gearing. You can manually shift for fixed gear ratios with the shift paddles, but reactions are sluggish and inconsistent.

comfort

edmunds rating
The Outlander Sport lacks the ride comfort and suspension compliance of its competition. It's OK for around-town use, but those who often drive long distances will find it overly fidgety on the highway.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
Our test vehicle had the leather upholstery. It's hard and inflexible, reducing comfort. You also tend to sit very upright, like at a dinner table. It's not comfortable for long-distance driving.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
Kind of the worst of all worlds. The Outlander Sport rides harshly over sharp-edged bumps and cracks, yet it is floaty over smooth undulations in the road.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
There's no escaping noise inside the Outlander Sport. From the droning engine to road surface and wind noise, you're always aware of your environment. The engine is very noisy during hard acceleration. Note that Mitsubishi says the 2018 model is quieter.

climate control

edmunds rating
The Outlander Sport's climate system is loud when you crank up the fan speed. Overall, system performance is adequate.

interior

edmunds rating
The Outlander Sport's controls are easy enough to use, but the ergonomics aren't suited to a wide range of body types. It's also hard to see out the back windows.

ease of use

edmunds rating
All controls are easy to access and clearly marked. The metal column-mounted paddle shifters are a nice touch — most cars just have plastic. Gauges are clear and readable.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
The front doors are large and open wide. Although equipped with keyless entry, you still have to push a button on the door handle to lock and unlock. Front seat passengers will find getting in and out is easy, but taller adults will have to tuck their heads down to get in back.

driving position

edmunds rating
The Outlander Sport puts you in an upright driving position that's not unlike your mother telling you to sit up at the dinner table. Even with eight-way power seats and an adjustable tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, the range of adjustability is limited.

roominess

edmunds rating
It seems as small on the inside as its compact exterior proportions suggest. This is not a vehicle for taller passengers. Despite the rear seat cushion's low perch, headroom is still lacking.

visibility

edmunds rating
There's good visibility forward and to the sides, but large roof pillars and a small rear window limit your view out the back. The side mirrors are large. The rearview camera has a low resolution, but it's still usable and helps in confined parking lots.

quality

edmunds rating
The Outlander Sport is built well. While the design is dated, all the trim pieces fit together as a cohesive unit. There were no rattles and noises from our test vehicle. The quality of the materials is subpar, however.

utility

edmunds rating
The Outlander Sport doesn't excel in any area, but it works adequately for cargo duty. There's also plenty of small-item storage available.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
You'll find lots of small-item storage. The door pockets are large and can take a medium-size water bottle, and the cubby under the center stack can hold a phone. There are two cupholders and a cubby situated in the center console.

cargo space

edmunds rating
The 60/40-split bench can be folded without removing the headrests or sliding seats forward, but the release button is difficult to access from the hatch. Once folded, the area is flat and expansive, and the tall roofline and short carry-over distance make loading easy.

child safety seat accomodation

edmunds rating
Car seats can be accommodated in the two outboard rear seating positions thanks to easily accesible latch points, while the upper anchors can only be accessed from the hatch area.

technology

We have yet to test this year's updated infotainment system on the Outlander Sport. But we like that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard on every trim level except the base ES.

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.