2016 MItsubishi Outlander SUV review with price, horsepower and photo gallery


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The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is the junior of the Japanese marque’s two SUV offerings, and the one with the best hope of winning over new buyers. With a short wheelbase, a useful if basic interior and a solid set of standard goodies, the 2.4-liter four-cylinder GT sits at the top of the Outlander Sport range. Whether it is competitive with other hot-selling small crossovers is a different question, though.

In the case of the Outlander Sport, Sport doesn’t mean “sporty performance”; Sport means small, at least versus the regular Outlander, itself not exactly huge. Neither does Sport mean fast or agile, though the larger 2.4-liter unit in the upper trim levels, such as this one, gives this model a little more oomph than the base ES 2-liter. Power is adequate for in-town cruising, provided you’re not impatient, but it takes a while for the slightly raspy engine to really get this wee SUV going, particularly with its continuously variable transmission.

Acceleration arrives with a retro-style lift of the nose and continues with a moderately loud growl as the Outlander Sport gains speed. Braking is equally retro, with heavy nosediving. Cruising at highway speeds delivers reasonably muted engine and road noise, and the engine feels a little more at ease; at high speeds it remains reasonably well composed, but this is clearly not the Outlander Sport’s comfort zone.

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT Photo 15

The Outlander Sport is the marque’s pocket-sized crossover, positioned below the larger Outlander SUV. Photo by Jay Ramey

Road manners are probably the biggest issue holding this small SUV back; handling and composure is straight out of the 1990s and best left to dedicated off-roaders that will actually be used off-road, as opposed to the school run. There is plenty of body roll to go around, and the suspension amplifies the kinds of road imperfections that other SUVs in this segment don’t even notice. The wheels seem happy to rebound off potholes with a good amount of suspension noise, and the whole chassis seems overly eager to react to everything. Yes, it makes trips around town a little more dramatic, to the point you’ll be thinking, “Wow, the roads in my town are worse than I realized.” It’s not the kind of experience likely to be a hit with compact SUV shoppers. One of the few bright spots is the tidy turning radius and resulting ease of parking.

The interior of the Outlander Sport feels more modern than other Mitsubishis, but this is a relative statement: it still feels a decade old, which might make sense for a dirt-cheap price leader, but our tester was optioned up to $26,190: That’s the same territory as the Jeep Renegade and its Fiat 500X twin, to name a couple of arguably better competitors.

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT Photo 12

The Outlander Sport is the marque’s pocket-sized crossover, positioned below the larger Outlander SUV. Photo by Jay Ramey

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On Sale: Now

Base Price: $26,290

As Tested Price: $26,290

Drivetrain: 2.4-liter I4, continuously variable transmission

Output: 168 hp, 167 lb-ft

Curb Weight: 3,142 lb

Fuel Economy: 23/28/25 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined)

Pros: May make sense for bargain-hunters

Cons: Outclassed by virtually all competitors

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