Mitsubishi Outlander Review: 4 States and 1000 Miles


2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

When the refrigerator white Mitsubishi Outlander Sport arrived in Oak Park, the area was still recovering from the record-cold of the “Polar Vortex” that had swept through days before. There was enough snow in the alley behind the house, still, that the wife’s Hyundai Tucson needed digging out more than once just to get in the garage. The little Mitsubishi? Not so much.

True to its Evo-filled heritage, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport went anywhere I pointed it with minimal drama. With the 4WD system in “auto” mode, the crossover found grip where it could and motored along, seemingly oblivious to the snow and ice. The only time it felt like we were driving on icy roads, in fact, was when I deliberately slammed the brakes to see if they’d lock up. The ABS engaged noticeably, but that was about it.

It was a stable and impressive performance from the Outlander, and a worthy follow-up act to the car receiving an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ safety rating.

So, if you couldn’t tell, I liked the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. To tell you the truth, though, I liked it before I got the tester. I like the Outlander’s chunky, sporting proportions. I like the bulldog stance and the Evo-esque grille, too. Even with my limited imagination, I can easily envision a Dakar-inspired, turbocharged, RalliArt version of the Outlander being a thing with grippy sport seats and plastic, bolted-on fender flares. I wanted to like the car, then. Before you take that grain of salt with this review, though, consider that I’ve wanted to like other cars I’ve tested in the past that failed to live up to my preconceived notions of what they’d be.

This isn’t one of those times. This, in fact, is what “a rave review” looks like.

I liked the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport on the outside, already. Once I got inside, I was pleasantly surprised by the lumbar support and comfortable headrests. The infotainment system was a fairly intuitive touchscreen deal, and the sound system …

Rockford Fosgate Mitsbishi Sound System

… was nothing short of fantastic for a factory install. Sourced from Rockford Fosgate, the stereo produced clean sound from both MP3s and the satellite radio, and did a reasonable job of dropping bottom without bottoming out. Very slick.

Another thing that I found pretty slick was the Outlander Sport’s fuel economy. Granted, the Mitsu is equipped with a fuel-saving, performance-enhancing continuously variable transmission, but it also has a tall, wagon-y body with plenty of room for four adults and a week’s worth of luggage. It also has that ice-defying 4WD/AWD system soaking up MPG. Still, this what we got:

Mitsubishi Outlander MPG real-world

That’s nearly 26 MPG on the single-digit temperature drive from Oak Park to Normal, IL and back. On almost the same drive, in nearly identical conditions, the tiny Chevy Sonic gave back 28 MPG and change. In that context, going significantly “up” in size and utility from the Sonic to the Outlander Sport doesn’t seem to come with even a 10% fuel economy penalty. Would a 2WD Outlander Sport do as well as the Sonic on I-55? Would it do better?

Chris and I drove this particular Outlander Sport from Chicago’s Midway airport to the Detroit Auto Show, putting another several hundred miles on the clock in icy winter conditions and with the 4WD engaged. Most of the drive happened above 70 MPH, at night, and the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport never felt unstable or squirrel-ly, even in nasty, “warp speed” lookin’ snow. Throughout the drives, we never saw the MPG drop below 25 MPG on the highway. It’s hard to imagine, then, that the 2WD version (with less weight and mechanical drag) wouldn’t deliver on its 31 highway MPG promise.

As-tested, the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport we drove carried a sticker price of “just” $25,820, before any incentives were factored in. That seems like a solid value to me, especially considering the sporty feel of the crossover and, of course, the fact that I can fit 2 of ’em in my tiny Oak Park garage.

That’s just my take on the car, though- what’s yours? Check out the photo gallery, below, and let us know what you think of the little Outlander Sport in the comments section at the bottom of the page. Enjoy!


Original content from Gas 2.

About the Author

I’ve been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.

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  • Darryl Henry

    Well, I have a 2011 and honestly I feel the same way about mine and you felt about your tester. This is my first winter with it on the east coast and it has been nothing short of outstanding in this weird weather. I love that it has the best ground clearance in this class, that helps out a lot and the AWD system is fantastic. The ABS can be a bit disconcerting because the actuator is very loud and makes the most unusual noises, but other than that I really like how non intrusive the electronic aids are. Some can be overly intrusive and make for a not very confident drive, the OS on the other hand lets you drive and have a little fun in the process without reigning you back under the safety net prematurely. I have no complaints about my 2011 and look forward to the next snow storm!

    • Darryl Henry

      As far as your gas mileage… I wouldnt be surprised if your mileage reading was a bit low… the MPG readouts in these things are notorious for being under the actual mileage. Id wager that your actual mileage was closer to 27-28 MPG.

  • Steve McAnally

    I recently bought a 2014 Outlander Sport SE. I can’t believe this vehicle is below everyone’s radar for anyone wanting a smaller crossover. I did all of the research and found that by far this Mitsu was ranked higher in customer satisfaction that all of the others. I decided to go and test drive this car and was really impressed with the performance and smooth ride it has. It didn’t take long to make a decision when looking at the options for this vehicle. We got every option except for the navigation and the panoramic roof… from the 6 speed paddle shifters and INVECS -III – CVT Sportronic® transmission to the 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate® premium sound system with 9 speakers including 10-inch dual-voice coil subwoofer with Punch Control®, this crossover is an absolute joy to drive. Sporty handling and awesome power (when you learn the dynamics of the CVT transmission), not to mention heated seats for the winter and room for 4 adults. A rearview camera helps you when backing up and some models feature back up sensors for when you get too close to an object. Self dimming rear view mirror is a nice touch along with the automatic rain detection system on the windshield wipers. To go along with the leather wrapped tilt / telescopic steering wheel and shift knob, we ordered aftermarket Katzkins leather seats… a real plus… very soft leather! A full-color LCD multi-information display along with high contrast meter gauge cluster makes it easy to see at all times, night or day. Directional headlights light up the whole world at night… nice and bright. Factor in a 5 year / 60,000 mile basic and a 10 year / 100,000 powertrain warranty and you have a vehicle that no other can compare with at this price range… great bang for the buck!!! There is so much more this vehicle offers as standard equipment I could go on for days.

    Gas mileage is 33-34 mpg on the highway and we are averaging higher than the 31 mpg listed… all of our mileage is highway so this is the only mileage I can comment on.

    Overall this is one great vehicle for the price. You won’t be disappointed in the ride or features of this crossover. Mitsubishi has built an awesome crossover in the Outlander Sport SE!!