2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a subcompact crossover that spars with some of the best-selling crossovers in the market.
The Outlander Sport gets a major refresh for 2020 with a new front-end look. Other changes include a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen, new switchgear for the climate control, and some additional standard safety equipment for the SE trim. The 5-speed manual has been dropped, leaving every Outlander Sport equipped with a continuously variable transmission (CVT).
That CVT is paired up with one of two 4-cylinder engines: a base 2.0-liter that makes 148 horsepower or an optional 2.4-liter unit that’s good for 168 hp. Unlike the competition, neither engine benefits from turbocharging.
Front-wheel drive is standard on every trim. All-wheel drive is optional.
Fuel economy for the base engine is 24 mpg city, 30 highway, 27 combined when paired with front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive drops each of those numbers by 1 mpg. With the bigger 2.4-liter engine and all-wheel drive, those numbers drop to 23/28/25 mpg.
Both the IIHS and the government have yet to rate the updated Outlander Sport for crashworthiness, but history doesn’t bode well for the aging crossover. Last year’s tests resulted in a four-star overall rating from the feds, while the IIHS gave the little Mitsubishi their highest rating of good in only four of their six crash tests.
The good news is that the SE trim now comes standard with lane-departure warnings, forward-collision warnings with pedestrian detection, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and automatic high-beam headlights. Automatic emergency braking remains optional.
Every Outlander Sport comes with a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
All prices include a $995 destination charge. All-wheel drive is a $1,500 option on every trim.
The cheapest Outlander Sport is the ES ($23,590). Standard features include cloth upholstery, a 7.0-inch touchscreen, automatic climate control, 18-inch wheels, and a split-folding rear seat.
The SP ($25,640) adds sporty accents, heated front seats, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability.
The SE ($25,290) includes numerous aforementioned active-safety features, as well as keyless ignition and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
In addition to the larger 2.4-liter inline-4, the Outlander Sport GT ($26,490) gains automatic emergency braking, rain-sensing wipers, and lane-departure warnings.
The most noticeable of the Outlander Sport’s 2020 updates is the styling, which is thoroughly refreshed. The old design, which dated back to 2011, has been replaced with a more modern look that brings the Outlander Sport in line with other, newer Mitsubishi products.
Up front there’s a new front bumper, grille, and headlight treatment. It’s a bold look, and the pinched grille has shades of the Lexus hourglass snout, especially when its midsection is outlined in chrome as on the SEL model.
In the back, new LED taillights and a faux skidplate don’t do much to separate the 2020 Outlander Sport from older models, but they do help to bring about a more butch look that’s in vogue with today’s shoppers.
The Outlander Sport’s interior hasn’t been updated, and it could use more attention. Uncomfortable front seats are twinned with a lot of road noise and CVT moan that infiltrates the cabin at high speeds.
A bright spot in the interior is a new 8.0-inch touchscreen that is standard on all models but the base ES. The new unit includes updated infotainment software and comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Back seat passengers have 36 inches of leg room. The rear seatbacks are split-folding, and when dropped they allow the cargo area to expand from 21.7 cubic feet to 49.5 cubic feet.
There’s two engines available on the Outlander Sport: a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder and a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder.
The 2.0-liter unit is the base option, making 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. It should be an adequate amount of power for the class. But the lack of a turbo and the presence of a CVT mean that the 4-cylinder’s limited power doesn’t arrive until the tachometer’s upper registers. Getting up to speed is a slow and noisy affair, and the dreaded CVT groan seems to be ever-present.
The optional powertrain—found standard on the GT trim—is the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. This engine also makes do without a turbo, but the added displacement boosts power to 168 hp and 167 lb-ft. It’s better than the base engine, but not by much. Noisy operation and an unrefined demeanor remain.
The Outlander Sport’s handling is decidedly more rewarding than its straight-line thrust. It corners with surprising immediacy and the suspension is tuned well enough to keep body roll manageable.
The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has a fresh look, but is ready for a deeper refresh. If the excellent warranty and low price still win your heart, we’d get an SE for its standard safety features.
—by Anthony Sophinos, with driving impressions from The Car Connection