G. Chambers Williams

Mitsubishi updates the 2016 Outlander Sport, with numerous interior, exterior enhancements

The Outlander Sport five-passenger crossover comes in either a five-speed manual (base model only) or continuously variable automatic transmission. Prices begin just under $20,000.
The Outlander Sport five-passenger crossover comes in either a five-speed manual (base model only) or continuously variable automatic transmission. Prices begin just under $20,000. Wieck

Mitsubishi’s Outlander Sport, a five-passenger compact crossover utility vehicle, was significantly updated for 2016, with both exterior and interior enhancements.

Outside, the Sport – which is a different, shorter vehicle from the regular Outlander – got Mitsubishi’s new “Dynamic Shield” front-end design, which also appears on the likewise revamped 2016 Outlander.

The Outlander Sport is one of two Mitsubishi vehicles bearing the Outlander name. The other is known simply as the Outlander, and is 13.3 inches longer and available with a third-row seat to give it a seven-passenger capacity. The Outlander Sport has only two rows of seating.

With the redesign, the Sport has a new 18-inch alloy wheel design, and there are revised power/heated/folding side mirrors with integrated turn signals.

Inside, there is a new steering wheel, improved seat fabrics, enhanced 6.1-inch Display Audio System, and a new auto-dimming rearview mirror with Homelink universal garage/gate opener.

For 2017, the Outlander Sport carries over mostly unchanged from 2016’s makeover, except that now it will have standard automatic climate control on all models, a new external shark fin antenna, and even better seat fabric on the base ES model.

Available in standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive, the 2017 Outlander Sport starts at $19,795 plus $895 freight (up from $19,595 for 2016) for the ES front-drive model with the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual gearbox, or $20,995 for the same model with the 2.0-liter engine and a continuously variable automatic.

Other trim levels, in order from bottom to top, are SE ($22,695, 2WD; ), SEL ($24,195) and GT ($26,195), which all come with the more-powerful 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, and only with the CVT – no manual is offered on the higher trims.

All-wheel-drive adds $1,400 to the price at each trim level, and is available across the board except on the base manual-transmission ES model.

Among new standard features are a leather-wrapped tilt/telescopic steering wheel, soft-touch instrument panel trim, a four-speaker/140-watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with steering wheel mounted audio controls, electric power steering, 60/40 split/folding/reclining high-back rear seats, remote keyless entry with panic button, color LCD multi-information dash display, high contrast meters, rear privacy glass, and power windows with driver’s one-touch up/down.

Exterior colors for 2017 are Labrador Black, Octane Blue, Mercury Gray, Cool Silver, Rally Red, Diamond White and Quartz Brown.

There are seven air bags, including a driver’s knee air bag, dual-stage front air bags with occupant sensors, front seat-mounted side air bags, and front and rear side-curtain air bags.

Other safety gear includes four-wheel antilock brakes with Electronic Brake-force Distribution; Active Stability Control with Traction Control; Hill Start Assist; Tire Pressure Monitoring System; an engine-immobilizer, anti-theft security alarm system; and Mitsubishi’s patented Reinforced Impact Safety Evolution safety-cell body construction.

The safety system includes energy-absorbing crumple zones and strategically placed reinforcements, collapsible steering column and foldaway brake-pedal assembly.

The 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, introduced for 2015, cranks out 168 horsepower, which is an increase of 20 horsepower over that of the base 2.0-liter four-cylinder in the Sport. The 2.4-liter has 167 foot-pounds of torque, up from 145 foot-pounds in the base engine.

EPA fuel-economy ratings are 23 mpg city/28 highway/25 combined for the 2.4 engine with front drive, and 23/26/24 with all-wheel drive. That compares with 25/32/28 for the 2.0 engine with front drive and automatic, and 24/30/27 with all-wheel drive.

Our tester was the 2016 GT model with the 2.4-liter engine, CVT and front-wheel drive (2016 base price $25,995, plus$850 freight). The GT models have such extras as a power driver’s seat, leather-wrapped parking-brake handle, aluminum sport pedals, and exterior enhancements.

Among other standard features on our GT model were a 710-watt Rockford-Fosgate premium audio system with nine speakers and the 6.1-inch touch-screen display, Bluetooth connection, satellite and HD radio, USB port, and a rearview camera system that used the audio system display screen; dual illuminated vanity mirrors; two 12-volt power outlets; cruise control; and pushbutton start/stop.

The cabin was roomy and comfortable for both front passengers and the two rear outboard passengers; the rear middle position is OK for a smaller adult or child, or a child in a safety seat.

A center console between the front seats has a storage compartment and dual cupholders, and there are front door storage pockets, each with a bottle holder. An instrument panel lower storage area is provided in the center, as well.

With no passenger in the rear middle position, there is a pull-down armrest with dual cupholders available.

We had ample power with the 2.4-liter engine, and we were able to control the shift points of the CVT with the provided steering-wheel paddle shifters if we wanted to do some sporty driving.

The ride was more comfortable than that of the previous Outlander Sport, and the cabin is mostly quiet even at highway speeds, except on rough pavement.

There were no options on our GT tester, but a Navigation Package ($1,800) is offered as a stand-alone option on all models. Other available options include an Exterior Package ($515), which brings a rear spoiler, front and rear under-covers, and an alloy fuel door. There are also a variety of other options available.

In addition to the electric power steering, Outlander Sport models include a gearshift indicator light (manual transmission-equipped cars) or an Eco indicator (CVT-equipped vehicles); a high-efficiency alternator; and a wind-tunnel-tested body design for better aerodynamic performance. All are designed to improve fuel efficiency.

The Outlander Sport also comes with Mitsubishi’s fully transferable five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, along with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and a seven-year/100,000-mile anti-corrosion warranty. There is also a five-year/unlimited-mileage roadside-assistance plan.

The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 1994. Contact him at chambers@star-telegram.com or on Twitter @gchambers3.

2016/17 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

The package: Compact, five-door, five-passenger, four-cylinder gasoline-powered, front- or all-wheel-drive crossover utility vehicle.

Highlights: Mitsubishi’s compact five-passenger crossover was updated for 2016. The Outlander Sport is shorter than the separate Outlander model, which can seat up to seven. The Sport comes with lots of standard features, even at the low entry level price.

Negatives: No V-6 engine upgrade offered.

Engine: 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder; 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder.

Transmission: Five-speed manual (base ES model only); continuously variable automatic.

Power/torque: 148 HP./145 foot-pounds (2.0-liter); 168 HP./167 foot-pounds (2.4-liter).

Length: 171.5 inches.

Curb weight range: 3,109-3,285 pounds.

Brakes, front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock.

Cargo volume: 21.7 cubic feet (behind second row); 49.5 cubic feet (second row folded).

Towing capacity: 1,500 pounds.

Electronic stability control: Standard.

Side air bags: Front seat-mounted; side-curtain for both rows.

Fuel capacity/type: 16.6 gallons (2WD); 15.8 gallons (AWD)/unleaded regular.

EPA fuel economy: 23 mpg city/29 highway/25 combined (2.0/Manual); 24/31/27 (2.0/CVT/2WD); 23/29/26 (2.0/CVT/AWD); 23/28/25 (2.4/2WD); 22/27/24 (2.4/AWD).

Major competitors: Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Nissan Rogue, Mazda CX-5, Jeep Cherokee, Subaru Outback, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage.

Base price range (2017): $19,795-$27,695, plus $895 freight.

Price as tested: $26,845, including $850 freight and options (2016 2.4 GT 2WD).

On the Road rating: 8.7 (of a possible 10).

Prices shown are manufacturer’s suggested retail; actual sales price may vary.