The 2023 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has an eye-catching exterior and an exemplary powertrain warranty. Unfortunately, those two traits are about the only good things there are to say about Mitsubishi’s aging subcompact SUV. Sure, its appearance benefits from a recent cosmetic refresh, but those superficial updates did nothing to address its dated interior design and mediocre cabin materials. While all-wheel drive is standard, its four-cylinder powertrains are equally disappointing. Both its standard 148-hp 2.0-liter and available 168-hp 2.4-liter provide uninspiring performance that’s matched by their mediocre fuel economy. While the Outlander Sport will get people where they need to go without fuss, its lifeless driving characteristics contradict its snazzy styling and the “sport” part of its name. The fact the two-row ute also isn’t the least expensive nor remotely refined seal its fate as a small SUV that should be at the bottom of your list.
What’s New for 2023?
This year, there’s only one significant change to the Outlander Sport, and it’s that front-wheel drive is no longer available. All models now come standard with all-wheel drive, which likely contributes to a slight price increase across the board compared with the previous model year.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Saving the most money on an Outlander Sport requires choosing the base model. However, stepping up to the LE trim level unlocks some features that are needed to make this Mitsubishi feel a little more like a new car rather than an old one. The most notable of these is the 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other content that comes with the upgrade includes black exterior accents, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and red stitching inside.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Outlander Sport’s powertrain options present a choice between the lesser of two evils. The standard 148-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder is almost unbearably slow. The more powerful 168-hp 2.4-liter engine is quicker, but it gets worse fuel economy and is reserved for the priciest top-of-the-line GT model. Both engines pair with an unrefined continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The last Outlander Sport we tested with the 2.4-liter managed an 8.0-second trip to 60 mph, which actually betters several top rivals. While hardly sporty, the Outlander Sport will get you from point A to point B without drama. There’s a fair amount of body roll in corners but not so much that it feels unstable or tippy. The Outlander Sport’s braking distances are average for its class. After some initial softness when you press the brake pedal, it firms up and feels responsive.
More on the Outlander Sport SUV
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Whether you choose the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder or the optional 2.4-liter version, the Outlander Sport’s EPA ratings fall short of its more modern rivals. The 2.0-liter is rated at 23 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. The 2.4-liter has estimates of 23 mpg city and 28 highway. The all-wheel-drive Outlander Sport GT that we ran on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, which is part of our extensive testing regimen, earned 25 mpg. For more information about the Outlander Sport’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Despite being marginally improved in some trims, vast expanses of black plastic combine with an uninspired dashboard design to create a decidedly bargain-basement atmosphere inside the Outlander Sport. Leather seats are not available. Certain trims feature red stitching on the seats to spice up things. But no matter how much you pay, there is no escaping the Mitsubishi’s lackluster cabin environment. Despite its exterior footprint, the Outlander Sport can’t match the rear-seat room of competitors such as the Honda HR-V and the Kia Soul. There’s enough room for two to fit comfortably back there, but legroom isn’t generous. The Outlander Sport’s 60/40 split-folding back seats easily fold to create a flat cargo floor, but the Mitsubishi can’t hold as many carry-on suitcases as can many of its rivals. A relatively deep center console is a plus, but otherwise the Outlander Sport doesn’t offer many places to stash your stuff. There are no door pockets for rear-seat passengers, and the spare tire takes up the entirety of the underfloor storage in the cargo area.
The Car and Driver Difference
Infotainment and Connectivity
While a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard in the base model, every other trim has an 8.0-inch touchscreen with SiriusXM satellite radio as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The latter looks to have uninspired graphics and a limited number of customizable settings, but it does have physical volume and tuning knobs, which we always appreciate. Still, the Outlander Sport’s connectivity features are obsolete versus the competition.
How to Buy and Maintain a Car
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The Outlander Sport does have some standard driver-assistance technology, but blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are still optional. For more information about the Outlander Sport’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
Standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking Standard lane-departure warning Standard automatic high-beams
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mitsubishi’s warranty is among the best in its class, offering coverage that matches or exceeds Hyundai and Kia’s.
Limited warranty covers five years or 60,000 miles Powertrain warranty covers 10 years or 100,000 miles No complimentary scheduled maintenance
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT AWC
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
PRICE AS TESTED
$28,920 (base price: $28,190)
DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, port fuel injection
144 in3, 2360 cm3
168 hp @ 6000 rpm
167 lb-ft @ 4100 rpm
continuously variable automatic
Suspension (F/R): struts/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 11.6-in vented disc/11.9-in disc
Tires: Nexen Npriz RH7, P225/55R-18 97H M+S
Wheelbase: 105.1 in
Length: 171.9 in
Width: 71.3 in
Height: 64.8 in
Passenger volume: 97 ft3
Cargo volume: 22 ft3
Curb weight: 3316 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
Rollout, 1 ft: 0.3 sec
60 mph: 8.0 sec
100 mph: 23.7 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 8.4 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 4.3 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 5.8 sec
¼-mile: 16.2 sec @ 86 mph
Top speed (drag limited): 123 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 163 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.81 g
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 23 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 25 mpg
Highway range: 390 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 25/23/28 mpg
More Features and Specs