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2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review

  • Inexpensive
  • Reasonably stylish
  • Spacious interior
  • Larger touchscreen
  • Noisy and slow
  • Short on standard safety tech
  • Subpar fuel economy
  • Lackluster quality
  • When shopping for the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, ignore the anemic ES trim and start your search with the SE trim or top GT trim with the more powerful engine.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is another year older and another step behind its competitors in every area but price.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport wears a fresh face and sports some more gear this year, but it’s the same subcompact crossover SUV underneath that was launched for model year 2011.

With a low base price and enticing features, the 2020 Outlander Sport may seem attractive at first glance, but newer rivals that have a leg up. We give it a below average 4 out of 10 overall.

For 2020, the Outlander Sport gets a front and rear visual refresh including a redesigned front fascia with LED daytime running lights that echo the newer and larger Eclipse Sport Cross. The rear end gets new taillights with an LED signature, a skid plate-style bumper garnish to toughen up the looks, and a few new colors are available. The LE trim is eliminated for 2020, so it now comes in ES, SP, SE, and GT.

The Outlander Sport’s internals are unchanged, however, leaving the choice of 2.0- or 2.4-liter inline-4 engines making 148 and 168 horsepower. Fuel economy is around 25 mpg on average. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional, but last year’s 5-speed manual transmission was dropped. A continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is standard.

The Outlander Sport’s small dimensions make it easy to drive in town. Acceleration is modest with either engine and an unpleasant roar from under the hood is a constant companion.  

Inside, the infotainment system’s touchscreen has increased from 7.0 to 8.0 inches. Cloth upholstery is standard and leather trim is optional. Despite its small stature, the Outlander Sport is spacious, but long drives can be noisy and uncomfortable.

With average crash test scores and active features that cost extra, the Outlander Sport is short on redeeming features. Shop the competition carefully.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport looks sharper than before, but new sheet metal can’t always hide age.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport gets another visual refresh to hide its aging underpinnings, but chrome and LEDs can only go so far. We give it 4 out of 10 for styling.

For 2020, the Outlander Sport gets a new front fascia with a grille, faux skid plate, and headlights that echo the slightly larger (and newer) Eclipse Sport Cross. Around back, LED taillights and a another faux skid plate bumper serve to modernize and toughen up the looks of the tailgate, but this is still a 10-year-old SUV. As such, the short stature and heavy helping of chrome make it look more like a tall hatchback than a purpose-built crossover SUV.

The interior is more rotten than fresh. A new 8.0-inch touchscreen on all but the base ES trim (still gets 7.0-inch touchscreen) is the only major change, and everything else looks straight out of 2010, from the sub-par materials to the dated switchgear. Nearly every competitor sports a better interior, so look elsewhere for more interesting design and better quality.
Thankfully, a few new colors are available including Red Diamond and Sunshine Orange, so opt for something bright to keep you from falling asleep at the wheel if you do choose an Outlander Sport.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport looks different but goes the same as ever. And that’s not a good thing.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport comes with two powertrain choices, neither of which is up to snuff these days. We give it 3 out of 10 for its decade-old performance.

The base engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque and comes standard with a continuously variable transmission and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available for $1,500 more on all models. The 5-speed manual is no longer offered.

Thankfully, the Outlander Sport offers an engine upgrade over this lazy standard powertrain, but unfortunately, it’s not much of an improvement. The optional 2.4-liter inline-4 makes 168 hp and 167 lb-ft with a CVT. Again, front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is optional.

Both engines are sluggish while accelerating and noisy at high engine speeds, thanks to a rough exhaust note and a lack of sound deadening. The lone bright spot of the Outlander Sport’s driving experience is the handling, as a short wheelbase and decent suspension makes body roll manageable and cornering tight.

Comfort & Quality
The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is surprisingly spacious but not comfortable or quiet.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport may look small, but it’s refreshingly roomy inside. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to offset the road noise or lack of comfort on long drives. We give it 4 out of 10 here.

For a subcompact crossover, the Outlander Sport packs decent cargo and passenger room. The front and rear seats leave a lot to be desired though, as they are hard and flat, making drivers fidgety on extended drives. Only a few soft-touch plastics line the cabin too, and the gauges and switches are all 10 years old at this point (or look like they are, at least).

Engine noise is prominent as well from either of the buzzy four-cylinder engines available and the droning CVT under hard acceleration. While the Outlander Sport is practical in a pinch, we wouldn’t want to take it on long drives.

Updated safety scores have not been released, but history doesn’t bode particularly well for the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

Neither the federal government nor the IIHS has rated the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport for crashworthiness just yet, so we’re unable to give it a safety score at the moment.

Still, history does not bode well for this decade-old crossover, as past crash tests have yielded middling results, such as four stars from the NHTSA. Though it earned “Good” ratings on four IIHS crash tests, the front crash ratings were “Acceptable” and “Marginal” in 2019, which warranted a 3 of 10 on our scale.  

While automatic emergency braking is an option on higher trims, the SE trim comes standard with lane departure warnings, forward collision warning with pedestrian detection, active lane control, blind spot warnings, rear cross-traffic alert, and automatic high-beam headlights. The competition is making some of these active safety features standard on all trims, and Mitsubishi should do the same.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a feature-laden bargain, perhaps its one redeeming feature.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport costs about $23,500 in base ES trim, which undercuts many competitors, but is an $850 increase over 2019. All-wheel drive adds $1,500 on each model. The Outlander Sport gets 6 out of 10 in this category.

In addition to the active safety features standard on SE and higher trims, all models get new LED daytime running lights on the front and rear. There are also three new paint colors, including Red Diamond, Sunshine Orange, and Oak Brown.

The interior gets a new touchscreen infotainment system that’s been increased from 7.0 to 8.0 inches in size on all but the base ES trim, but other changes are minimal. Still, at its price, the Outlander Sport offers great value right out of the box. 
The LE trim has been eliminated for 2020. 

All versions come in front- or all-wheel drive. Outlander Sports come in ES, SP, SE, and GT trim with 18-inch wheels, a 60/40 split folding rear seat, and automatic climate control. SP trim adds standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability to the audio system.

The Outlander Sport SE—our pick for the best value thanks to standard active safety features—adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated front seats, keyless ignition for $25,640. In addition to the larger 2.4-liter inline-4, the Outlander Sport GT gains automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warnings, which isn’t worth the $1,200 upcharge in our estimation.

The Outlander Sport carries a 5-year, 60,000-mile warranty with a 10-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Fuel Economy
The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport doesn’t yet have updated fuel economy numbers.

The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport trails the competition in fuel efficiency. We rate it a 3 out of 10.

It gets 24 city, 30 highway, and 27 combined in its most efficient form, the 2.0-liter engine with a CVT and front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive drops 1 mpg. The Hyundai Kona and Honda HR-V get at least 4 mpg more. 

With the bigger 2.4-liter engine and all-wheel drive, those numbers drop another mpg to 23/28/25 mpg, so the penalty isn’t severe for about 24 more horsepower. Still, other competitors manage much better fuel economy with more responsive and powerful engines, so there’s still room for improvement.

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