In the automotive world, it’s always nice to be a leader in sales, but in an overcrowded market, sometimes it can be just as nice to stand out a little bit. That’s exactly where the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport fits into the compact crossover landscape. The current Outlander Sport was introduced for the 2011 model year, and it was refreshed in 2016 trying to remain competitive against high-volume CUVs like the Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Equinox and Nissan Rogue–a daunting task in this segment.
Earlier this year, we checked out a top-of-the-line Outlander Sport GT, but for this latest test drive review, we sampled the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SEL 2WD. A step down from the GT, the SEL trim still packs quite an feature list with the exception of the 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate sound system, panoramic sunroof and HID headlights. The whittled-down packaging is good enough to knock a couple thousand off the as-tested price, which just acts to further strengthen this crossover’s price advantage.
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Exterior
Although the styling is almost eight years old now, the look of the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has aged very well. The overall design hasn’t changed much since it was introduced, and the updated front-end introduced last year really gave this CUV a new attitude. Not only does this new face further distinguish the Outlander Sport from some of the cookie-cutter crossovers out there, it also ties in well with the design of the larger Mitsubishi Outlander.
One of the best elements of the Outlander Sport’s design is the tight proportions and short overhangs giving it a look closer to the likes of stylized CUVs such as the Nissan Juke and Toyota CH-R. A sharp, rising body crease along the side of this crossover gives it a very dynamic profile, and the 18-inch wheels are a nice touch on this trim level showing that someone at Mitsubishi is a huge fan of Atari.
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Interior
The 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport definitely starts to show its age on the interior. Cabin materials are decent, but technology is definitely lacking. The SEL trim comes standard with features such as a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a six-speaker, 140-watt audio system and luxury-minded items like the rain-sensing wipers, leather interior, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, power-folding mirrors. Adding to the sporty nature, this trim also comes with aluminum pedals and push-button start.
The small dimensions that makes gives the Outlander Sport its sporty outward look results in a noticeably small cabin. Headroom and legroom is great for front passengers, but rear seat space might be too cramped for adults to enjoy the five-passenger seating. That’s just par for the course these days on crossovers targeting style-oriented buyers, though. The limited cargo space also hints at the Outlander Sport’s dimensions with just 21.7 cubic feet of space available behind the rear seats and 49.5 cubic feet with the rear seats folded.
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Performance
The only engine offered in the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SEL is Mitsubishi’s proven 2.4-liter four-cylinder putting out 168 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque. While it lacks the advancements of most modern drivertrains in this segment, this engine delivers decent power to the 3,142-pound crossover. Sadly, only the base ES can be equipped with a manual gearbox, but the Sportronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) pairs well with the engine delivering great acceleration; the standard paddle shifters do provide manual–albeit virtual–shifting capabilities. Although its EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 23 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway** put it toward the bottom of its segment, the Outlander Sport does boast a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty.
Like we noticed on our previous Outlander Sport tester, this is a great crossover for families with a smooth ride and ample acceleration. The electric power steering is a bit on the light side, but most buyers in this segment probably aren’t looking for tight, Lance Evo-like steering response. Initially, I was disappointed that this tester wasn’t equipped with Mitsubishi’s All Wheel Control all-wheel-drive system, but the front-drive Outlander Sport is still very fun to drive. If you’re looking for a crossover that is fun and sporty, the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport should be a top contender.
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Safety
All but the base ES trim level come with the full assortment of safety options offered on the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport such as a backup camera, hill start assist and seven airbags including a driver’s knee airbag. Even without advanced safety features like pre-collision warning, the 2017 Outlander Sport still received a four-star crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Overall
Although it lacks the tech and advanced engine offerings as newer competitors, the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport still manages to stand out in a jam-packed compact crossover segment thanks to its sporty styling and competitive pricing. The starting price of $19,795* for the ES trim level makes it one of the most affordable vehicles in its class, while this 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SEL 2WD was still a great deal with an as-tested $25,090.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Mitsubishi dealership and test drive the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.