Despite an inoffensive design and the alluring price tag, the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport finds itself another year older and trailing further behind class rivals with a cheap interior, lackluster quality, a pair of underwhelming powertrains, and mediocre fuel economy.

Best Value

Pricing for the 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport starts at a tempting $22,275 for a front-wheel-drive ES equipped with a five-speed manual transmission and rises to just $28,065 for a range-topping GT all-wheel drive and a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The good news for 2019 is the addition of a handful of advanced safety features on the SE model, with a more complete selection standard on the new GT trim that replaces last year's SEL model – although roof rails are no longer standard, and leather seats, a power driver's seat, and the Rockford Fosgate audio system have been dropped, entirely.

Still, even the base ES comes well-equipped for the price, with 18-inch alloy wheels, a seven-inch touchscreen, automatic climate control, and Bluetooth. Of the four models – ES, LE, SE, and GT – we'd choose the range-topping GT. Not only is it the only trim with the larger 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, auto on/off HID headlights, automatic high beams, and faux leather seats, it also features the widest range of advanced safety features including automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

Here's the breakdown on our ideal Outlander Sport:

  • Model:2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT
  • Engine:2.4-liter four-cylinder
  • Output:168 hp / 167 lb-ft
  • Transmission:Continuously variable transmission
  • Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy:23 City / 29 Hwy
  • Options:None
  • Base Price:$26,565 (includes the $1,045 destination charge)
  • Best Value Price:$26,565

Performance

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is offered with a choice of two engines. The ES, LE, and SE (Mitsubishi yanked the bigger engine from the SE for 2019) are powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque. A CVT automatic is standard on LE and SE models, and optional for the FWD ES, which comes standard with a five-speed manual gearbox.

In any case, the transmission hardly matters, as engine output simply isn't enough to move the 3,100-pound Outlander Sport with any alacrity. Highway merging and passing maneuvers offer the only excitement – not in a good way – courtesy of lackluster acceleration accompanied by the unrefined clatter of the engine.

Not helping matters is the CVT automatic – the volume transmission – that by its very nature only serves to exacerbate the inherent lack of refinement characterized by both engines, particularly the 2.0-liter.

The 2.4-liter, now only gifted to the GT, offers a welcome increase in power and performance that's more typical for the class, with only a negligible fuel economy penalty. The 2.0-liter engine with the CVT returns an EPA-estimated 24 miles per gallon city, 30 mpg highway, and 27 combined, compared to the 2.4-liter's 23/29/25 mpg (city/highway/combined).

Style

Coming up on its ninth year with only a mild revision in 2017, Mitsubishi's subcompact crossover is beginning to show its age. That refresh brought with it a much-needed new front fascia, while upper trims offer a sprinkling of chrome bits and more aggressive-looking, larger, wheels.

Highlights of the fairly spacious interior include a seven-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth and HD radio capability, automatic climate control, keyless entry, LCD multi-information display, and a USB port. SE and above models add push-button start, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, a leather-wrapped shift knob and steering wheel, and heated front seats.

At the same time, although not as stylistically challenged as competitors like the Toyota C-HR, last year's new front clip merely makes the Outlander Sport look like a nine-year-old car with a new face.

Taking us on a time warp back to the era of cheap economy cars, the interior is a sea of black plastic and cloth with lackluster materials and low-rent switchgear. Hard, flat cushions mean neither the front nor the rear seats are particularly comfortable, the gauges and switches betray the Outlander Sport's advancing age, while the infotainment system looks more aftermarket than OEM.

The Best and Worst Things

Mitsubishi Outlander SportFor a bargain price, buyers get a small crossover with an inoffensive design and a practical, versatile interior space.

That price savings, however, comes at the cost of lackluster quality, and a pair of noisy, underwhelming engines.

Right For? Wrong For?

Mitsubishi's small crossover offers a reasonable new car alternative for buyers with bad credit or tight finances. It's wrong for anyone looking for quality or refinement.

The Bottom Line

The 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is another year older and another step behind competitors in its class, lagging in every aspect except price.