The Outlander Sport is a 5-seat, 5-speed manual transmission crossover. Despite what its name may imply, there is nothing particularly sporty about the 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. It is not edgy, it does not have a turbo engine or smaller-car handling and speed, and frankly, it just isn't as much fun to drive as many of the other small crossovers in its segment. What the Outlander Sport does have, however, is comfort, affordability, and a respectable, if not exciting, appearance.
It is also about 700 pounds lighter than its larger cousin the Mitsubishi Outlander, allowing it to achieve a very competitive 31mpg on the highway. All of these attributes and more make the Outlander Sport a solid choice for the family on a tight budget looking for a vehicle with good interior features and the latest technology, without the frills that jack up prices.
The base ES has a 148-horsepower 2-liter engine and a five-speed manual transmission; a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is optional. Standard features include 16-inch steel wheels, cruise control, keyless entry, heated mirrors, a color LCD multi-information display, Bluetooth connectivity, a 60/40 split-folding rear passenger seats, and Mitsubishi's Fuse hands-free system. Entertainment is provided by a four-speaker sound system with a CD player and USB/iPod connectivity, plus an auxiliary input.
New for 2013, the ES can be equipped with optional all-wheel drive, a feature previously available only on the SE. Other options include 16-inch alloy wheels; keyless ignition; a hard-drive based navigation system; and an upgraded 6-CD changer. There are also a few option groups: the Navigation package offers a navigation system and a rearview camera; the Exterior Sport package improves aerodynamics with a body kit; and the Interior package -- available for automatic transmission models -- features piano-black interior trim and an aluminum shift knob.
On the upgraded SE, a CVT is standard, as are 18-inch alloy wheels; heated mirrors; keyless entry and ignition; automatic xenon headlights; fog lights; automatic climate control; heated front seats; iPod and Bluetooth connectivity; a color LCD multi-information display; and a six-speaker sound system.
All-wheel drive is optional, and the SE shares option packages with the ES. Exclusive to the SE AWD, however, is the Premium package, which includes a rearview camera, a panoramic sunroof, roof rails, a satellite radio and a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system.
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Firmer handling, tons of tech-friendly features, but visibility can be spotty through the small 'sporty' windows.
Competitive fuel economy and standard features with high safety ratings, but the only option for drivetrain is manual and the inside seating is less customizable.
Powerful engine and excellent interior features packed into a neat little model, but packing it all into such a tiny area means cramped legroom, small cargo space, and a not-so-comfy driving experience.
Unique styling, V6 engine, and tons of second-row legroom are all much appreciated, but the Equinox is less compact than the Outlander, and the interior plastic touches can seem a bit cheap.