Talk to anyone about Mitsubishi and you get the same question, “they’re still around?” And usually with a slight hesitant sigh, “I’m afraid so.” Truth is, most consumers don’t even ponder the thought of a Mitsubishi when it comes to their next car purchase – Mitsubishi doesn’t advertise much and if you do find yourself at one of their dealerships, it’s probably because your car broke down right out front.
The thing is, there is no such thing as a bad car anymore – with features like cruise control, Bluetooth audio and touch screen displays, all a car has to do is be as good as its competition. Sadly, when we checked out Mitsubishi’s smallest crossover last year, the Outlander Sport, we were mistaken. With baby-utes such as the Honda HR-V, Fiat 500X and Mazda CX-3, the Outlander Sport is just too stuck in the mid-millennium.
However there’s good news for the Outlander Sport – it has been updated for 2016 – oh joy! Now, when we say updated, what we mean is, there’s a new grille design, new standard 18-inch wheels, and an updated infotainment system. However, unlike our previous testers sluggish 2.0-liter engine – our sampler arrived as the GT with a 2.4-liter. The 2.4L is a carry over, but is now available on the majority of the Outlander Sport’s trim levels except for the base ES, which gets that dreadful 2.0L. The 2.4L bumps power up to 168-horsepower and because our GT drives just the front wheels through a CVT transmission, it takes a solid nine seconds to get anywhere.
Mitsubishi was once known for its driver inspired technology – after all they were rally champions. Now with crossovers like this Outlander Sport, they’ve become just like the others – mommy day care daily driver. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad car though. With the slightly bigger engine the Outlander Sport is more energetic – like giving a snail red bull. The chassis is nimble and receptive. While the suspension is on the firm side, there is a sense of road connection. The steering too has a nice overall feel in the corners and brakes are halfway decent. But what the killer to the Sport is, is that dreadful CVT transmission. A CVT is not a normal gearbox with multiple shift points – it’s a series of pulley’s and it bogs down the entire drivability. Even with the steering column mounted magnesium shifters – it adds a certain ecstatic but they’re as useful as blinkers on a vacuum cleaner. CVT’s are claimed to receive better fuel economy and while we pulled 23 mpg’s for the week, we’ve seen better from its competitors.
Additional updates for 2016 were made to the interior, and while Mitsubishi swears by some interior material upgrades – the leather still felt and smell like the previous tester we had. Which is not a pleasant smell after backing in the Arizona sun for a few hours. The GT featured here does offer familiar comfort features like a power driver seat, color display trip computer and a nicely sized panoramic glass roof (which can’t open.) Our’s even had a user friendly touch screen display with a back-up camera – but even on this top spec GT, it didn’t feature navigation.
The Outlander Sport is small, so room is a little cramp. If you’re fat like us, adjusting the seat is hard having to fit our big hands between the door panel and the seat. Rear seats are snug and mounted up high which limits the head room. But hey, the trunk is pretty good proportions.
Like we said, there’s no such thing as a bad car anymore and with this Outlander Sport GT cost us $26,890, it has some pretty nice features for it price tag. But if your car does break down in front of a Mitsubishi dealer – maybe, it might be best to push it to the next dealer over.
|Price (As Tested):|
|2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.4L GT:||$25,995|
|2.4L Four-Cylinder – 168-horsepower/167lb-ft of torque – 0-60MPH: ±9.0 seconds|
|EPA MPG: 23/28/25 (city/highway/combined) – SSB Average: 23 MPG’s – Fuel Range: 330 Miles|