Best Bet
  • (4.8) 44 reviews
  • Available Prices: $8,347–$16,235
  • Body Style: Sport Utility
  • Combined MPG: 26-27
  • Engine: 148-hp, 2.0-liter I-4 (regular gas)
  • Drivetrain: 4x4
  • Seats: 5
2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Our Take on the Latest Model 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

What We Don't Like

  • Limited cargo space

Notable Features

  • Slight restyle
  • Standard 18-inch wheels
  • Revised rear suspension
  • Front- or all-wheel drive
  • Four-cylinder engine

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Reviews

Cars.com Expert Reviews

Editor's note: This review was written in February 2012 about the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. Little of substance has changed with this year's model. To see what's new for 2013, click here, or check out a side-by-side comparison of the two model years.

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport was introduced for the 2011 model year, and despite a harsh review here on Cars.com, it's sold well. Though it shares the Outlander name, the Sport is smaller than the regular Outlander, which has been around since 2003.

Last year, I warned shoppers to avoid the Outlander Sport because of its maddeningly loud yet underpowered engine and a troublesome continuously variable automatic transmission.

For 2012, Mitsubishi said it addressed these two issues specifically and delivered me a test unit to evaluate against its predecessor. Unfortunately, the test car came with a manual transmission, not the CVT that Mitsubishi updated. I could focus only on the engine, so that's what this review addresses.

Thanks to its revisions, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is slightly improved, but it's still not at the level of many competitors.

Performance
For a compact crossover, 148 horsepower isn't a lot. Competitors like the Hyundai Tucson, at 165 hp, and the Nissan Rogue, at 170 hp, offer more confident passing power and better acceleration from a dead stop. The Outlander Sport feels more like a compact car in its slow response. It's adequate, just not exemplary. (See the Sport compared with three competitors here.)

The Outlander Sport weighs 107 pounds less than the Tucson and 244 pounds less than the Rogue. The lighter weight and miserly engine certainly help with fuel economy. The Outlander Sport is rated 24/31 mpg city/highway with the manual transmission and 25/31 mpg with the optional CVT automatic and front-wheel drive. A selectable all-wheel-drive system is optional if you get the CVT; it's rated 23/28 mpg.

The Tucson is rated a similar 23/31 mpg, but that's with the optional six-speed automatic transmission. The manual transmission is rated a miserable 20/27 mpg. The Rogue comes only with a CVT and is estimated to get 23/28 mpg, also far below the Outlander Sport.

It's unusual for crossovers to even offer manual transmissions, as the base Outlander Sport and Tucson do. Both models feel more economy car than sporty. In the Outlander, I found shifting to be relatively effortless, if a bit boring. Unlike the CVT I tested last year, though, I could control the acceleration smoothly. An example of man being mightier than machine, I guess.

The Sport handles nimbly and its ride remains somewhat firm, though it's much softer than the Tucson.

And the engine noise? It isn't gone, but Mitsubishi definitely invested a few dollars to address the issue. Noise still fills the cabin when pushing the engine hard, but it isn't a constant drone during regular driving, as it was last year. And one editor's spouse — with no prior knowledge of the previous model — was annoyed by the 2012's still noticeable engine noise.

I still caution shoppers about the Outlander Sport's engine noise and performance, but it isn't the deal-breaker it was last year. Unfortunately, I'm still unable to offer a recommendation on the updated CVT. Perhaps a buyer-beware note is appropriate here.

Interior & Cargo
Despite being 4 inches shorter overall than the Tucson and a surprising 14 inches shorter than the Rogue, the Outlander Sport's passenger volume is plentiful: 98 cubic feet versus 102 and 98 cubic feet, respectively.

The cabin materials are acceptable for the car's sub-$20,000 starting price, and while the front and rear seats are a bit stiff, they're comfortable on short trips. Over a long commute, my back definitely felt sore.

Shoppers often select a crossover for cargo utility, and that's where the Outlander Sport's size hurts it most. At 21.7 cubic feet behind the backseat, it falls far behind the Tucson and Rogue, at 25.7 and 28.9 cubic feet, respectively. These two also beat the Sport's maximum cargo volume of 49.5 cubic feet with the backseat folded, providing 55.8 and 57.9 cubic feet, respectively.

Safety
The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport earned top scores of Good in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's front- and side-impact crash tests. It hasn't been tested for rear impact or roof strength at this time, so it's not yet eligible for Top Safety Pick status.

Neither the 2011 or 2012 model has been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at this time.

You can find a list of standard safety features here.

Outlander Sport in the Market
At first, the Outlander Sport appears like the most affordable compact crossover on the market, which could influence shoppers who are worried about its performance and small cargo area. However, the competition is only a few hundred dollars more while offering a more substantial driving experience and better overall package.

The Outlander Sport may have addressed a few issues that prevented us from recommending it, but I'm not yet ready to endorse it over most other players in this field.

Send David an email  


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Consumer Reviews

(4.8)

Average based on 44 reviews

Write a Review

Cute but not reliable

by Dolly from Albuquerque, New Mexico on October 7, 2017

From the outside this is a very attractive car. But it’s CVT transmission is a big problem. Very noisy. Had to turn up the radios not to hear the engine. Lacked power on hills. Had excellent gas mileage. Read Full Review

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6 Trims Available

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Wondering which configuration is right for you?
Our 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport trim comparison will help you decide.

2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Safety Ratings

Crash-Test Reports

IIHS Ratings

Based on Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ES

Head Restraints and Seats
G
Moderate overlap front
G
Roof Strength
G
Side
G

IIHS Ratings

Based on Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ES

G Good
A Acceptable
M Marginal
P Poor

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
G
Overall Rear
G
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
G

Moderate overlap front

Chest
G
Head/Neck
G
Left Leg/Foot
G
Overall Front
G
Restraints
G
Right Leg/Foot
A
Structure/safety cage
G

Other

Roof Strength
G

Side

Driver Head Protection
G
Driver Head and Neck
G
Driver Pelvis/Leg
G
Driver Torso
G
Overall Side
G
Rear Passenger Head Protection
G
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
G
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
G
Rear Passenger Torso
G
Structure/safety cage
A
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers. IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal or poor based on performance in high-speed front and side crash tests. IIHS also evaluates seat/head restraints for protection against neck injuries in rear impacts.

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ES

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating

NHTSA Ratings

Based on Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ES

Overall
Overall Front
Overall Side
Overall Rollover Rating
Driver's
Passenger's
Side Barrier
Side Barrier Rating Driver
Side Barrier Rating Passenger Rear Seat
Side Pole
Side Pole Barrier combined (Front)
Side Pole Barrier combined (Rear)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. NHTSA provides vehicle safety information such as front- and side-crash ratings and rollover ratings. Vehicles are rated using a star rating system from 1-5 stars, with 5 being the highest.

Recalls

There are currently 9 recalls for this car.


Safety defects and recalls are relatively common. Stay informed and know what to do ahead of time.

Safety defects and recalls explained

Service & Repair

Estimated Service & Repair cost: $3,000 per year.

Save on maintenance costs and do your own repairs.

Warranty Coverage

Bumper-to-Bumper

60mo/60,000mi

Powertrain

120mo/100,000mi

Roadside Assistance Coverage

60mo/unlimited

What you should get in your warranty can be confusing. Make sure you are informed.

Learn More About Warranties

Warranties Explained

Bumper-to-Bumper

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

Powertrain

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

Roadside Assistance

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

Free Scheduled Maintenance

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

Other Years