2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review: New Face, Old Problems

by Michael Butler

In a market flooded by stiff competition, Mitsubishi can ill afford to offer a sub-par product at a downscaled price, but that is precisely it's done with the Outlander Sport: a cute, and capable little compact crossover SUV that, unfortunately, brings a knife to the gunfight. The 2020 model has received a minor facelift, which focuses on the front of the vehicle, and we must admit that it looks pretty good. But Mitsubishi's decision to stick with its range of uninspiring naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines and a cheap-looking interior puts the nail in the coffin for this otherwise capable little cruiser. Starting at just over $22,000, the Outlander Sport could be an interesting choice for young people who don't need much in terms of creature comforts, but the competition just does everything so much better.

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 Outlander Sport?

The Outlander Sport has been around in its current form since 2011 but has gone through its fair share of updates and redesigns since. For 2020 there are a number of significant changes that take place inside and outside; gone is the homely body shape, which is replaced by contemporary angles and creases, most notably at the front end. The Outlander Sport also rides on a set of new 18-inch alloy wheels and gains a set of LED headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights. Inside, the Sport gets new high-quality fabric, new climate control buttons, a few trim-specific standard features, the infotainment display grows from seven to eight inches, and offers more advanced connectivity. Mitsubishi also introduces new exterior colors Red Diamond, Sunshine Orange, and Oak Brown.

Pros and Cons

  • It's newly refreshed for 2020
  • Good value for money
  • Class-leading warranty
  • Impressive standard features
  • Lazy base engine
  • Not the most impressive interior
  • Ride quality at low speed
  • Intrusive road noise

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
ES 2.0
2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$22,595
SE 2.0
2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$24,295
SP 2.0
2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$24,645
BE 2.0
2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$25,395
GT 2.4
2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
Four-Wheel Drive
$25,495

Outlander Sport Exterior

With the new decade comes a new face which takes on a more modern look. We think it looks much better than the rounded design of old. The front of the Outlander Sport receives the most work: the angled headlights give it a modern edge, and we love the boomerang effect on the grille and foglight bezels. For 2020 all models come standard with LED low and high beam headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights. Other standard exterior features include body-colored front and rear bumpers, door handles and side mirrors as well as a set of wheel arch moldings. Side mirrors are heated, there is privacy glass in the rear, and a shark-fin antenna on the roof. SE and GT models get auto headlights, gloss black and satin silver grille accents, and chrome grille garnish. These models also get rain-sensing window wipers and a roof spoiler. The GT also gets a set of black roof rails, and all models roll in on 18-inch wheels.

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Front View Mitsubishi
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Rear View Mitsubishi
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Front Angle View Mitsubishi
See All 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Outlander Sport is classified as a compact crossover SUV, but compared to cars such as the Honda CR-V, and Ford Escape it seems rather smaller. Its overall length of 171.9 inches is over ten inches less than the Honda CR-V and over seven inches shorter than the Escape. The 2020 Sport rolls on the same wheelbase it has used for close on a decade, and measures 105.1 inches. The vehicle sits 64.8 inches tall, and its 71.3 inches wide when you include the wing mirrors. It rides on a 60.6-inch track front and rear. The Outlander Sport weighs between 3,120 and 3,296 pounds, with the average difference between two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive being around 140 lbs.

  • Length 171.9 in
  • Wheelbase 105.1 in
  • Height 64.8 in
  • Max Width 71.3 in
  • Front Width 60.6 in
  • Rear Width 60.6 in

Exterior Colors

With a freshly redesigned face, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport deserves a few new color schemes, and Mitsubishi has obliged; apart from the standard colors, Mitsubishi adds a vibrant Sunshine Orange Metallic, a lusty Red Diamond and interesting Oak Brown. Sunshine Orange Metallic, Red Diamond, and Pearl White all demand a price of $595. The rest of the range isn't too dull either, and consists of a number of eye-catching hues such as the vibrant Octane Blue, Mercury Gray Metallic, Labrador Black Metallic, and Alloy Silver Metallic. If we were the ones doing the buying, we'd get one in Octane Blue.

  • Sunshine Orange Metallic
  • Pearl White
  • Red Diamond
  • Oak Brown Metallic
  • Octane Blue Metallic
  • Mercury Gray Metallic
  • Alloy Silver Metallic
  • Labrador Black Metallic

Outlander Sport Performance

Unlike the competition, which has slowly moved on to small-capacity turbocharged engines that provide good low-down torque and a more refined driving experience, the Mitsubishi has been chained to a set of naturally aspirated boat anchors that detract from an otherwise solid package. All models, barring the GT, share a smaller capacity four-cylinder engine that huffs and puffs its way around town, and, while it might offer sufficient pull around the city, it loses steam on the highway and shrinks in at the sight of a long incline when fully loaded. GT models get a bump in capacity, which helps the low-down torque and overall refinement, but we'd much rather see a smaller turbocharged engine under the hood. All models are available in either FWD or AWD configurations, and we would suggest sticking with the FWD version, as AWD models leach off more power, and in turn, offer reduced performance around town.

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Front View Driving Mitsubishi
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Rear View Driving Mitsubishi
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Engine Mitsubishi

Engine and Transmission

The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander is offered with two naturally aspirated four-cylinder engines, and a single continuously variable transmission. Sport models from the base model, right up to the BE trim level, share a 2.0-liter MIVEC double-overhead camshaft inline-four-cylinder engine, which produces a paltry 148 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque. This engine needs to be pushed hard to get any real reaction, and with peak torque only arriving at around 4,200 rpm, this unit feels unrefined and thrashy. Only the top of the line GT gets the larger 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. This powerplant produces a more respectable 168 hp and 167 lb-ft of torque, but also needs to be strung out to get the best performance. The CVT gearbox pulls the Outlander Sport along without much fuss but can get confused at lower speeds. The Honda CR-V and Ford Escape both offer more horsepower, and a ton more low-down torque; driving either will make you think twice about getting behind the wheel of the Sport on a permanent basis.

  • Engines
    2.0-liter Inline-4 Gas, 2.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrains
    4X4, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The car-buying public has become accustomed to small SUVs that drive like traditional sedans - hell, even larger SUVs like the Audi Q5 and BMW X5 drive better than older luxury sedans. The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, on the other hand, takes a more traditional SUV driving experience. Don't get us wrong; the Sport won't roll over when swerving for a guy that's high on PCP, but it won't hug the road like some of its more dynamic-handling competitors. Chuck the Sport through a set of twisties and there's noticeable body roll, but it feels planted, especially in AWD guise. Steering is typically light, and there's very little steering feedback on offer, a typical trait in this class. We noticed that the suspension can get unsettled over bumpy low-speed roads, but settles once it picks up some speed.

Outlander Sport Gas Mileage

The high-revving naturally-aspirated engines powering the 2020 Outlander Sport need a good stomping to get anywhere, and in turn, have to consume more fuel, so it comes as no surprise that the Sport is thirstier than most of its competitors. The EPA gives an estimated fuel consumption rating of 24/30/27 mpg city/highway/combined for FWD 2.0-liter powered cars, which is the best number you're going to see here, as AWD cars see a slight drop to 23/29/26 mpg. Both the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape will manage 30 mpg combined. The GT, with its larger capacity engine, will return 23/28/25 mpg in AWD configuration. With a 16.6-gallon fuel tank at the FWD car's disposal, the Outlander Sport will get 448 miles on a fillup, while AWD cars get a smaller 15.8-gallon fuel tank for a maximum range of between 348 and 411 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    16.6 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 24/30 mpg
* 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ES 2.0 CVT

Outlander Sport Interior

There are a few reasons why the 2020 Outlander Sport costs so much less than its competitors, one of them being the fact that its interior comes across as, well, cheap. There are vast swathes of cheap-looking and feeling plastic, and it's a shame that the slick exterior redesign wasn't pulled through to the interior. The dash design is truly uninspiring, but does offer a no-nonsense layout that boosts the ergonomics of the space. Base models receive a standard six-way manually adjustable driver's seat and four-way passenger seat with seatback pockets, a tilt, and a telescopic steering wheel. SP models add heated front seats and gloss black accents. SE models get standard illuminating sun visors and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. BE models add a leather parking brake handle with red stitching and a black headliner, while the range-topping GT gets soft-touch seat upholstery.

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Dashboard Mitsubishi
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Gauge Cluster Mitsubishi
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Dashboard 1 Mitsubishi
See All 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The Outlander Sport's interior design didn't impress much, and things don't get much better when you start to look at how much passenger space is on offer. Five average-sized adults will be able to fit without much trouble, and getting in and out of the Outlander Sport is made easier by its lifted ride height. Once inside, six-footers will have enough space above their domes up front, but may be less comfortable at the back; the Outlander Sport provides 39.4 inches of headroom in the front, and 37.9 inches in the rear. Legroom is a generous 41.6 inches in the front but shrinks down to a tight 36.3 inches in the back. The Honda CR-V and Ford Escape both offer close to 40 inches of legroom. Shoulder room comes in at 56.2/55.5 inches front to back, and the hip room is measured at 52.1/51.6 front/rear.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.6 in
  • Front Head Room 39.4 in
  • Rear Leg Room 36.3 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.9 in

Interior Colors and Materials

Dark plastics rule the interior of the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport; it's absolutely everywhere, and ranges from cheap and hard to the touch, to better, more decent, soft-touch materials. All models feature soft-touch upper instrument panel and door trims, chrome inner door handles, gloss black with silver accent audio panels, and a gloss black shift panel. Each trim, besides the range-topping GT, gets fabric seats, which have a quality feel and should stand up to years of abuse. GT models get exclusive combination soft-touch seating materials, and BE trim cars are exclusively available with black fabric seats, but still, no leather option is available. SE, BE, and GT models get a leather steering wheel, and BE models add a leather parking brake handle with red stitching on the steering wheel, shift knob, and said parking brake. BE and GT models share satin gray window switch panels and a black headliner and pillars. Base model ES trim cars get carbon style audio panel inserts. Despite feeling a tad cheap, the interior is put together well, and new owners won't have to worry about any premature rattles.

Outlander Sport Trunk and Cargo Space

People buy compact SUVs because they offer similar ride quality to that of a traditional four-door sedan or hatchback, if not better, and can get close to offering the same type of performance and gas mileage, but most importantly, they offer more trunk and cargo space, so to be competitive in this class, you need to make sure that you're offering as much of it as possible. The Outlander Sport, unfortunately, fails to impress in this regard. With the rear 60:40 folding bench in the upright position, it offers 21.7 cubic feet of space; the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape both offer almost double that. Once the rear bench is folded flat, the Outlander Sport offers 49.5 cubic feet, which pales in comparison to the 75.8 cubes on offer in the CR-V.

Small-item storage isn't great either: a deep center console storage box and seatback pockets are a boon, but there are no door pockets in the rear, and there's no word of an underfloor storage area in the trunk. At least there are bottle holders in the front door pockets, and in the rear-seat center armrest.

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Trunk Space Mitsubishi
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Side View Mitsubishi
2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Rear Angle View Mitsubishi

Outlander Sport Infotainment and Features

Features

In base trim, the feature list looks sparse but fills up as you climb up the trim ladder. All models feature LED low and high beam headlights, daytime running lights, and rear privacy glass. Inside, all models receive standard six-way manually adjustable driver's seats, four-way adjustable passenger seats, automatic climate control, and all but the base model gets heated front seats. Tech features that are standard across all trim levels include a rearview camera, cruise control, remote keyless entry, hill start assist, immobilizer, and an alarm system. SE and GT trim level cars get exclusive rights to a number of more premium features such as a set of LED foglights, auto headlights, rain-sensing window wipers, and a fast key entry system with push-button start. SE, BE, and GT trim cars also receive a leather steering wheel and shift knob, while top-spec GT models get soft-touch combination seating and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink. Active driver assistance features such as forward collision mitigation and lane departure warning are standard on SE and GT trim cars.

Infotainment

The standard infotainment system on the base model isn't going to blow the doors off, neither is the mid-range system, but it does provide you with the bare essentials. The base model has to make do with the previous year's seven-inch infotainment display, which looks and feels small and can be challenging to read for those with bad eyesight. The base model gets a single USB port, AM/FM radio, HD radio, Bluetooth streaming, and steering wheel mounted audio controls. The ES also shares its four-speaker sound system with the SP trim above it. From the entry-spec model upwards, all other cars are equipped with an eight-inch smartphone-link display that features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM satellite radio with a three-month all-access trial, steering wheel voice recognition control, and twin USB ports. SE and GT-trim cars get a six-speaker sound system, but we found the nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate premium sound system in the BE trim car the best for playing crossover-thrash classics such as DRI's Beneath The Wheel.

Outlander Sport Problems and Reliability

The Outlander Sport has proven to be quite the reliable steed, and since 2018 has only been recalled three times. The most serious recall was related to a safety system failure that would prevent safety systems such as ABS and stability control from performing their duties. An issue with the available auto-forward braking system was also encountered. J.D. Power gave the 2019 Outlander Sport a consumer verified reliability rating of 80 out of 100, which should carry over for this model year. Mitsubishi offers a class-leading five-year/60,000- mile basic warranty, which includes a seven-year/100,000-mile corrosion warranty, a massive 10-year/100,000 drivetrain warranty, and a five-year roadside assistance plan.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    5 Years \ 60,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    10 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    7 Years \ 100,000 Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    5 Years \ Unlimited Miles

Outlander Sport Safety

Compact crossover SUVs such as the Outlander Sport are generally snapped up by young families looking for a practical and spacious way to transport their spawn and spawn-sustaining equipment, so it goes without saying that these cars need to be exceptionally safe. Both the NHTSA and IIHS have put the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport through its paces, and the results look promising. The NHTSA gives the Outlander Sport an overall four out of five stars on their rating scale, and the IIHS, which is traditionally harder to appease, was impressed with the car's structural integrity and occupant protection and gave the Outlander Sport top ratings of Good for four out of five tests, with the driver-side front crash test scoring only Acceptable.

US NHTSA crash test result

  • Overall Rating
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
  • Side Crash Rating
  • Rollover Rating

Key Safety Features

If you're serious about in-car safety at all, you'll make the stretch to the SE or GT trim level cars, which include modern driver assistance features. Base model cars get standard LED headlights, cruise control, active stability control, seven airbags (side curtain, dual front, front side, and a driver's knee airbag), anti-theft alarm system, and an engine immobilizer. SE and GT models add forward-collision warning mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, automatic high beams, and blind-spot warning, while the GT gets exclusive rights to an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a HomeLink universal garage door opener. Advanced driver assistance features are not available as optional extras on lower-trim cars.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport a good SUV?

The time of the Outlander Sport has come and gone. Its rivals have all moved on to small capacity turbocharged engines, which not only deliver significantly improved performance over the Outlander Sport's lumbering naturally-aspirated engines, but they also offer improved fuel consumption. For 2020 the Outlander Sport gets a small refresh, but under its pretty new face hides a car that has been around since 2011 and can't match the competition when it comes to interior space or quality, ride, and handling, as well as trunk and cargo space. Mitsubishi has taken the risky gamble of cutting corners in order to save money with the idea that a lower asking price will attract more buyers, but with only a few grand separating class leaders such as the Honda CR-V from the base trim model, we wouldn't think twice. The silver lining is that Mitsubishi now has the chance to introduce a brand new car that can take the fight straight to the top.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport?

There is no doubt that the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander makes some sacrifices to keep its prices low; the somewhat cheap-feeling interior, lackluster engine, and below-average interior space all mean one thing: Mitsubishi can keep the costs down. The FWD Outlander Sport ES starts off with an MSRP of only $22,595, which does not include registration, tax, and a destination fee of $1,195. Compared to the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape, the Outlander Sport costs around $2,000 less. Stepping up to the FWD SP will cost you $24,645, and the SE goes for $24,295. $25,395 is the price of the BE, and the range-topping GT will set you back $25,495, which is only $500 or so more than entry-level cars from its main competitors. Going for an AWD model adds $1,500 to each trim.

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Models

Mitsubishi offers its 2020 Outlander Sport in five different trim levels, starting with the ES, and followed by the SP, SE, BE, and finally the GT. All but the GT share the same powertrain, and can be had in either FWD or AWD.

The base model of the range will cost you $22,595 without destination and gets standard features such as LED headlights, automatic climate control, a seven-inch infotainment display with four speakers, and a six-way manually adjustable driver's seat.

Step up to the SP, and you'll get a standard roof spoiler, carbon style grille, a larger eight-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as SiriusXM satellite radio. Heated front seats are standard here.

SE cars add LED foglights, automatic headlights body-colored side mirrors with integrated turn signals, as well as a fast key entry system and push-button start. The steering wheel is leather-wrapped, as is the gear-shift knob, and this trim - together with the GT - have exclusive access to forward collision warning, lane departure warning, automatic high-beams, and a blind-spot monitoring system.

The special BE models come standard with a premium nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system, black side mirrors, as well as other cosmetics such as a large roof spoiler and Black Edition badging. More leather is found on the parking brake handle, but it does without the additional advanced driver aids from the SE.

The top of the range GT model comes with a more powerful 2.4-liter inline-four engine, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and black roof rails. GT models also include the advanced safety features found on the SE, such as lane change assist and pedestrian detection.

See All 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Each trim level is a self-contained entity, so with the exception of the $850 Convenience Package which adds features such as an eight inch display, Android Auto integration and SiriusXM radio, Mitsubishi doesn't offer any major package options for any of the trim levels; they do, however, offer a number of accessories and smaller package deals. The base model can be specced with a $355 popular value package that adds front and rear mudguards, a cargo net, an aluminum and leather shift knob, as well as a cargo mat and wheel locks. For those looking for a bit more street cred, Mitsubishi offers a $565 carbon grille, and for $545, you can get a remote engine start system.

🚗What Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Model Should I Buy?

The question of which Outlander Sport to buy is a difficult one when you consider the fact that base model cars are stripped of most features and are only a few grand off of some of its much more accomplished competitors. Going for the top of the line GT model also poses some moral issues; paying for a GT means that you purposefully look past the Honda CR-V and the like. We would suggest going with the base model ES, which goes for a grand total of $22,595. It might have an anemic 2.0-liter naturally aspirated engine and a plastic-covered interior, but at least it doesn't pretend to be anything other than an affordable compact crossover SUV. The ride quality is good enough, and with a lifted ride height, you'll be able to climb over curbs without having to worry about damaging massive alloy wheels or lip spoilers. The base model even comes with Bluetooth and LED headlight, which admittedly can be upgraded to a more accomplished system for $850. Woah, man.

Check out other Mitsubishi Outlander Styles

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Comparisons

Ford Escape Ford
Honda CR-V
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport148 hp24/30 mpg$22,595
Ford Escape 181 hp27/33 mpg$24,885
Honda CR-V 190 hp28/34 mpg$25,050

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport vs Ford Escape

The fourth-generation Ford Escape has the advantage of being a brand new model for 2020, which puts the near decade-old Outlander Sport on a serious back foot to start with. The cheeky little Ford Starts at $24,885, placing it around the same price bracket as a mid-range SP Outlander Sport. Powering the Escape is a turbocharged 1.5-liter inline three-cylinder engine that produces an impressive 180 hp and 177 lb-ft of torque, completely blowing the Mitsubishi out of the water. The Escape will return 27/33/30 mpg city/highway/combined in its most efficient configuration. Things only go downhill from here: the Escape offers more interior space, and almost double the amount of trunk and overall cargo space, and its interior is miles ahead of the Outlander's dated cabin. Out on the road, the Escape feels more car-like and is dynamically better to drive as well. The Outlander Sport manages to beat out the Escape when it comes to warranty coverage, but that's about it. Buy the Escape.

See Ford Escape Review

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport vs Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V has been a class leader in this segment for well over two decades, and the fifth generation of this highly acclaimed compact crossover SUV keeps that torch burning bright. The CR-V follows the current trend by offering a small capacity turbocharged engine, which in this case, is a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-pot, which produces a strong 190 hp and 179 lb-ft of torque. At its most efficient, the CR-V will return a respectable 28/34/30 mpg city/highway/combined. The CRV is a larger car on the outside, where it stretches out over the Outlander Sport by over ten inches, and that advantage is felt on the inside, where the Honda offers tons more passenger and cargo space. The interior is typically Honda - nothing flashy but put together with the utmost attention to detail. The CR-V is a beautiful thing to drive and will carve corners better than the Mitsubishi. It's the safer car too, even scoring a Top Safety Pick award for 2020 from the IIHS. It's a no-brainer; get the Honda.

See Honda CR-V Review

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Popular Comparisons

2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Video Review

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