Attractively priced, Mitsubishi’s compact crossover could be an agreeable alternative for buyers on a budget – but with a few limitations to be considered. Fully revamped last year, the Sport is little-changed for 2017 except for new base-model upholstery and newly standard automatic climate control.

Pricing and Equipment

Starting at $20,690 (destination charge included) for the base ES model with front-drive and a manual transmission, the Outlander Sport also comes in SE, SEL, and GT trim levels. Most versions contain a 2.4-liter inline-four that produces 168 horsepower and works alongside a continuously variable transmission. Base ES trim gets a 2.0-liter inline-four that makes 148 hp, coupled to either the CVT or a standard five-speed manual transmission. The CVT demands a $1,200 premium, while all-wheel drive adds $1,500 to the standard front-drive price.

Outlander Sport SE ($23,590) includes:

  • 2.4-liter engine with CVT
  • Heated front seats
  • Foglamps
  • 6.1-inch touchscreen
  • Rearview camera
  • Keyless ignition
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Automatic climate control

A new Limited Edition, positioned between the ES and SE, is available for 2017.

Performance Pros

  • Handling isn’t bad for a vehicle of this size. Drivers can expect good body control and a bit of feel in the electric power steering.
  • Fuel economy doesn’t exactly qualify as praiseworthy, considering the Outlander Sport's minute size. With all-wheel drive, the 2.4-liter engine returns an estimated 22 miles per gallon city and 27 mpg highway, for a 24-mpg combined rating.

Performance Cons

  • Powertrains fall well short in the acceleration department. Even though crossover buyers are usually more concerned with capability and comfort, Outlander Sport's performance is a weak point, with either engine or transmission.
  • The base model with the 2.0-liter engine is especially slow: sluggish when trying to pass and insufficiently perky in urban traffic. The ES powertrain also is noisy, and the bigger engine isn’t exactly quiet. Models with the 2.4-liter engine start off more briskly, but the difference isn’t great.

Interior Pros

  • A low loading floor and 20 cubic feet of space behind the rear seat helps with cargo. Folded down, the cargo area expands to almost 50 cubic feet.
  • It’s easy to load both passengers and cargo in the Outlander Sport. Easy entry/exit is helped by a hip point that’s just right for many drivers.
  • Despite a thick rear roof pillar, visibility is mostly good.

Interior Cons

  • Mounted on a dull-looking dashboard, the buttons, switches, and knobs have a low-budget feel.
  • Seat comfort isn’t a plus. They're rather flat, regardless of upholstery type or trim level.
  • Interior materials don’t meet expectations in terms of quality.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

This would be a toss-up between an appealing price structure and admirable handling abilities. Relatively generous standard equipment boosts this crossover’s value, but all of its demerits have to be taken into consideration.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Safety, in terms of both crash-test scores and available features. NHTSA gave the Outlander Sport a four-star overall rating. IIHS scores were mostly Good, except for an Acceptable rating in the small-overlap frontal crash. Advanced-safety features aren’t offered even as options, and a rearview camera isn’t standard in the base model.

The Bottom Line

Moderate prices might make the Outlander Sport tempting, but this compact crossover trails the pack in refinement and performance. Mitsubishi’s larger, seven-passenger Outlander gained a group of available active-safety features this year, but the Sport bypasses them all, falling well short of what’s become acceptable in safety.