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 …
… 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:
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.