Value priced, but safety a premium. The entry-level 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ES starts at an enticing $23,735, and it's hardly the stripper vehicle its price might indicate.
Standard equipment includes a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, but Mitsubishi also piles on such niceties as 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic climate control, LED low and high beam headlights, LED daytime running lights, LED taillights, heated outside mirrors, an instrument cluster with a color information display, and rear privacy glass.
Kick in an additional $850 for the Convenience Package, and you get heated front seats, steering wheel voice recognition controls, and a nicer-looking audio panel containing a larger 8-inch touchscreen with satellite radio, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay capabilities.
However, aside from the federally-mandated rearview camera, if you’re looking for advanced safety features like automatic emergency braking or blind-spot monitoring, you have to step up to the $25,625 SE. And despite its lofty status at the top of the lineup, the $26,825 GT lacks a premium sound system, leather seats, and a power driver’s seat.
Refreshed exterior For 2020, the Outlander Sport receives new exterior bits that mark the second refresh since its introduction in 2010 as a 2011 model. The look wipes out the last vestiges of the corporate look that tied it to the Lancer Evolution.
Taking design cues from the newer Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, the look offers a new clamshell hood, more aggressive upper grille, chunky mid-bumper, and small lower air intake.
Narrower, LED-trimmed headlight housings rest above a surround containing a pair of upper turn signals. The taillight lenses have been changed, and the rear bumper now features a prominent lower valance centered between a pair of faux brake ducts.
Spacious, although dated, interior. That mildly-updated exterior is wrapped around a cabin that’s smaller in volume than the Ford EcoSport, Kia Soul, and Subaru Impreza. However, with 101 cubic feet, the Outlander Sport offers more space than the Toyota C-HR, Chevrolet Trax, Nissan Kicks, and Mazda CX-3.
Unfortunately, while the touchscreen is larger and the controls have been updated in the revised center console, the rest of the dark, cave-like interior remains unchanged. It soldiers on with an uninspired design that employs wide swaths of hard plastic trim.
Four drivetrain choices. The Outlander Sport is offered with the choice of two engines, although neither one is particularly impressive in both front- and all-wheel-drive variations.
ES, SP, and SE trims are equipped with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that generates 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque, while the top-shelf GT features a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making 168 hp and 167 lb-ft of torque. Both are matched with an efficiency-boosting – but performance robbing – continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The 2.0-liter engine scores an EPA-estimated 24 miles per gallon city, 30 mpg highway, and 27 combined, or 23/29/26 mpg (city/highway/combined) with AWD. The more powerful 2.4-liter achieves 23/29/25 mpg, or 23/28/25 mpg with AWD.
The 2.4-liter engine manages to out-perform the languid base unit, but not by much. Putting your foot into either produces sluggish acceleration accompanied by excessive road noise and unfiltered CVT drone.
Final thoughts. The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a feature-laden bargain, an attribute that, unfortunately, is the small crossover’s one redeeming feature. It’s not only noisy and slow, but saddled with a low-rent interior and middling fuel economy, while advanced safety features are absent on the entry-level trim.
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