Competes with: Hyundai Tucson, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5
Looks like: A fully modernized compact SUV with eye-catching front styling
Drivetrain: 148-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder; 166-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder; five-speed manual transmission or CVT; front-wheel drive standard, all-wheel drive optional
Hits dealerships: Late winter or early spring 2016
Starting price: $20,445 including destination
Mitsubishi is unveiling the updated 2016 Outlander Sport at the 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show, the first major update for the five-seat compact crossover since its U.S. introduction in 2011. While it may be time for a full redesign, a refresh is all that the small SUV gets for the 2016 model year, and the focus is on updating its exterior styling.
Styling changes are highlighted by a new nose that features an updated front grille drawn from Mitsubishi’s Dynamic Shield design concept. This look is also worn by the larger Outlander and will eventually make its way across the rest of the Mitsubishi lineup. The middle of the front bumper is blacked out, which joins the grille with the lower air intake to form what looks like one continuous opening. The headlights have been restyled as well, and the fog lights lose their LED accents, adding black surrounds to better match the rest of the nose.
There are also new standard 18-inch alloy wheels, while SEL and GT models add new power folding side mirrors with LED turn signal indicators. Three new paint colors are available: Cool Silver, Diamond White Pearl and Quartz Brown.
The interior design is unchanged, but there is a new steering wheel on all models. SE and higher trim levels add a new a 6.1-inch screen for the display audio system and upgraded seat fabric. SEL and GT models now come with an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and the SE features a new light gray interior color scheme option.
Under the Hood
There are no changes to the powertrain; the Outlander Sport keeps the same two engine options. A 148-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine comes standard, while a 166-hp, 2.4-liter four-cylinder is optional. There are two transmission choices: a five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission. The Outlander Sport also continues to offer a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty, which ties it with Hyundai and Kia.
Beyond the federally mandated front airbags, antilock brakes and an electronic stability system, the Outlander Sport offers additional airbags (side-impact, side curtain and driver’s knee) and hill start assist.