Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review

Affordable price; quiet and smooth ride; standard voice activated electronics interface.


Limited cargo capacity; indifferent engine power; far from sporty handling.


2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a crossover with underpinnings based on the bigger Mitsubishi Outlander and features seating for five passengers, contemporary Mitsubishi styling, ample storage and economical transmission and engine. Though it is an agreeable urban runabout, the Sport is outclassed by other small crossovers, which are more fun to drive and more practical. For 2012, it sees a handful of minor enhancements. Highlights include additional sound insulation for models with a continuously variable transmission, a recalibration of said CVT for enhancing acceleration and response and an available rearview camera for the base SE trim. The sloping sides, gently curving roof and smooth front face look striking, but they aren’t without purpose. Special steps were taken during the design process for reducing air friction on all surfaces. Actually, wind tunnel testing helped produce a best in class 0.33 coefficient of drag, meaning increased fuel efficiency and less wind resistance.

See the road in a complete new light. Standard on 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE models, the high intensity discharge headlights employ xenon gas for projecting a beam which spans 80 degrees and is 35 percent brighter as compared to standard HID headlights. The super wide-angle casts light farther into the corners, enabling you to see more of the road, as well as more of the things that standard headlamps may miss. Measuring an impressive 3.2 feet across and 4 feet in length, the available panoramic glass roof is a sight to behold. While most vehicles at present have sunroofs, which only provide front passengers a view, the panoramic glass roof of Outlander Sport breathes moonlight or sunlight into the entire cockpit, providing everyone front row seats to the sky. The retractable electric sunshade allows you to control the adjustable, LED amber colored accent and daylight lighting strikes a new mood for evening drives. The SE trims include an update to these stunning aluminum alloys, adding a stylish touch to the already attractive profile.

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review

For those who infact need more sport in your 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, the available Exterior Package provides some cool equipment to get you going. From the front corner extensions, rear diffuser garnish and rear spoiler to the aluminum alloy fuel door and front chrome lower garnish, its Exterior Package puts the Outlander Sport even further out in front of the pack with style. The Outlander Sport’s groundbreaking design attracts attention, while inside, the available Interior Package provides sporty refinement, which is equally inviting. Featuring a piano black overlay, which surrounds a stylish gearshift overlay and the audio system, the package also, includes a leather and aluminum alloy shift knob.

To begin with, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport starts at a surprisingly reasonable $18,795. It only gets better from there, as the Outlander Sport provides a host of features, which are surprising for its segment, including European styling, seven standard airbags, a groundbreaking handsfree system, which allows you to make calls and play your favorite music without taking your hands off the steering wheel. But with fuel efficiency, which reaches 31 mpg highway, your savings might be the best surprise of all. Entering only its 2nd year of existence, the company’s best selling Outlander sport five-passenger compact crossover gets numerous beneficial in safety and engineering enhancements for 2012 model year. In addition, the state-of-the-art vehicle manufacturing plant of Japanese auto manufacturer situated in Normal, Illinois will soon undergo retooling of the facility to start production of the famous Outlander Sport crossover right here in America.

New For 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport:
  • Improved Engine Noise Isolation, which includes:
  • Additional insulation to the front fender areas
  • Thicker sound insulation in the top of the towel
  • The addition of a vibration-absorbing dynamic damper to the engine compartment’s structure
  • A change of dashboard pad material
  • Recalibration of the CVT (Continuously-Variable Transmission); these include:
  • Better acceleration from a standing start
  • More linear acceleration
  • More natural and direct feeling throttle response
  • Quicker throttle tip-in response
  • Quicker downshifts of the simulated gear ratios of the CVT in manual shift mode

The Japanese automobile manufacturer has added the all-new model derived from its range topping crossover, the Outlander: The 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is little smaller as compared to the famous seven-passenger crossover utility vehicle, however with a more fuel efficient engine, a continuously variable transmission (CVT) or five-speed manual gearbox, comfortable accommodations for five and a completely redesigned body. All Sport models will be available in two trim levels for the United States market: the 2WD ES features plentiful standard equipment package along with the choice of either CVT or manual or transmissions, whereas the more upscale, technology equipped SE edition is offered with either 4WD or 2WD and gets continuously variable transmission. The 2012 Sport is a reflection of what happens when the Japanese automaker focuses its design and engineering resources on the mission of creating an expressive, fun, eco-friendlier and affordable.

With its muscular, taut sheetmetal, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is visually a breed apart from the rest of its small crossover competition. With front fascia inspired by jet fighter air intakes, which adorns Mitsubishi’s revolutionary performance oriented sports sedan, the Lancer Evolution, the Sport offers a dash of spice to an otherwise very humdrum class. However the chiseled bodywork isn’t merely an aesthetic exercise – its tall beltline, rear spoiler and smooth, flowing lines, all of which combine for providing this elegant new model one of the lowest coefficients of drag of any car in its segment.

Superficially, the naming of 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport seems to make sense. This compact sport utility vehicle looks a part of automotive athlete with its Lancer Evolution inspired aggressive, semi crouching stance and front-end styling. Theoretically, it looks promising, as it is loosely based on Mitsubishi Outlander, a crossover sport utility vehicle we have praised in the past for its agile handling. The Outlander Sport is 2 inches lower, as much as 700 pounds lighter and 14 inches shorter, all favorable factors, which should add up to increased performance and agility.

The lighter weight of 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport would be a benefit if it could be had with the larger, more powerful powerplant choices of Outlander, but it only comes with an inline-4 148-horsepower borrowed from Lancer sedan. When it is mated to the CVT, the end result is lackluster acceleration. The handling of Sport will likely be fine for most folks, but those looking for performance which matches Sport’s looks and name will wish for more grip and less body roll during spirited cornering. This Mitsubishi is pretty agreeable, providing a quiet, smooth freeway ride with a fair number of features for relatively short money. Other similarly sized runabouts, like the Mini Cooper Countryman, Nissan Juke and Kia Sportage are more enjoyable to drive, delivering superior handling and performance. If you will be frequently hauling cargo or luggage, more mainstream models such as the Honda CR-V, regular Outlander and Chevrolet Equinox are going to be useful overall and more practical.

Variants, Body Types and Options

The 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is a compact crossover sport utility vehicle, which is available in the base ES and SE trim levels.

The base ES comes standard features with heated mirrors, 16-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, cruise control, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel, air-conditioning, 60/40 split folding rear seats, cloth upholstery, a four-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio jack, an a USB/iPod interface and a CD player and Fuse voice activated electronics interface of Mitsubishi.

Opting for SE will get you automatic xenon headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic wipers, foglights, keyless ignition and entry, automatic climate control, a second-row armrest with center pass through, a sliding armrest between the front seats, a six-speaker stereo and upgraded upholstery. Four-wheel drive is only available on the SE model, and comes along with heated front seats.

Most options are combined together into packages, which are offered on any Outlander Sport trim. The Navigation package includes a rearview camera, an RCA-style audio/video jack and a navigation system, while the Exterior Sport package includes several aerodynamic and cosmetic elements. The Interior package (offered on models with automatic transmissions) adds an aluminum shift knob and piano-black interior trim.

Standalone options include a hard drive based navigation system, 16-inch alloy wheels for the ES, the six-CD changer and remote ignition. Offered on the SE AWD is a Premium package which includes roof rails, a panoramic sunroof, a Rockford Fosgate nine-speaker premium surround sound audio system with satellite radio and a six-CD changer and a rearview camera with screen incorporated into the rearview mirror.

What’s Beneath the Hood of 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport?

Motivation for the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport comes from an inline four-cylinder 2.0 liter engine, which is good for pulsating 148 horsepower with 145 pound feet of torque. The engine is mated to either five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission. Front wheel drive system is standard, with four-wheel drive offered on SE. The all wheel drive models get 3 driver selectable modes for optimizing traction.

In performance testing, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport accelerated from 0 to 60 miles per hour in the time range of 8.8 seconds. The estimated fuel economy for Sport is 31 mpg highway, 25 mpg city and 27 mpg in combined driving.

Safety & Reliability

The 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is equipped with standard safety features, which include side curtain airbags, front side airbags; four-wheel antilock disc brakes, driver side knee airbag, traction control, stability control and hill start assist. In government testing, the Sport got 4 out of 5 stars for overall crash protection, with 4 stars for side impact protection and 4 stars for frontal impact protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave Sport its highest possible rating of “Good” in its side impact and frontal offset tests. In brake testing, the all wheel drive Outlander Sport came to a stop in 123 feet from 60 miles per hour, a good figure for this class.

Special Features and Cockpit Design

The interior of 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport provides little in the way of impressive materials or visual excitement. Luckily, front passengers of average size will likely find a comfortable seating position with plenty of head and legroom, a tilt and telescoping steering wheel for the driver and its well-shaped seats. Taller drivers might be a bit squished. The backseats have little less room, but an average sized adult should be comfortable enough. From panoramic glass roof which provides every passenger an equal view of the sky to the striking cabin lighting design and a Rockford Fosgate 710-watt premium surround sound audio system which takes the concert with you wherever you go, you will never fail to make a deep impression.

Featuring nine speakers, including digital signal processing, 710 watts (max) of pure power and a 10-inch subwoofer, this premium sound system is the latest from audio legend Rockford Fosgate. It is more than just upgraded components. With advanced speech recognition and Bluetooth 2.0 technology, FUSE is your mobile command center. It links flawlessly with USB drives, most popular MP3 players and Bluetooth enabled phones, enabling you to play your entire music collection on the stereo system or place a call from your address book. The available 40GB hard disk drive Navigation system of Outlander Sport provides instant access to Diamond Lane Guidance, Real Time Traffic, a rearview backup camera, a Music Server to store hours of your favorite songs and turn-by-turn directions.

It is effortless and keyless. With FAST-key in your purse, wallet or pocket, just place your foot against the brake and press the button to fire up the engine. Conversely, when you have come to a complete stop, place the car in park, press the button again and the engine turns off.

Driving Impressions

In spite of its name, the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport provides little in the way of sportiness. Borrowed from the company’s rally heritage and integrated with continuously variable transmission, steering wheel mounted magnesium shift paddles merge the control and thrill of manual shifting with the ease and convenience of an automatic. You can upshift or downshift with a tap of your finger, no rally experience necessary. It looks cool, and stays cool, even if you park your Outlander Sport in direct sunlight. The available Sportronic six-step Continuously Variable Transmission replaces gears with an efficient belt system, which enhances gas mileage and reacts faster, streamlines shifting. The CVT option includes steering wheel mounted magnesium shift paddles so you can enjoy the performance of manual shifts when you are in the mood.

The 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport arrives standard with a 2.0-liter spirited, engine. Cast from durable, lightweight aluminum and equipped with MIVEC technology, this powerplant deftly balances power with environmentally friendly efficiency. By optimizing valve timing at every speed, it enables the Sport to achieve a remarkable 31 MPG highway and 148 horsepower, when mated to the available continuously variable transmission. The company’s recent advances in plastic polymers yielded an astonishing material with properties, which make it ideal for front fender panels. It’s light yet strong that increases fuel efficiency. It is dent resistant that comes in handy at the cramped mall parking lot. Best of all, the plastic polymer is made from recycled materials.