The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport in ES and LE trim has a base 2.0 liter inline-4 engine producing 148 horsepower and 145 lb. ft. of torque. The engine is mated to 5-speed manual transmission and comes optional with the continuous variable transmission (CVT). The SE and SEL trim have a 2.4 liter inline-4 engine producing 168 horsepower and 167 lb. ft. of torque. The bigger power plant only comes with the CVT. For all trims, buyers can either choose front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Testing the SEL trim, the engine’s output is adequate for daily use. That said, the smaller engine could be less potent and feel lethargic. The vehicle accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, which stands just above average for the compact crossover category. In reasonable speeds, handling is decent but body roll becomes more evident when cornering at higher speeds. That also translated into emergency maneuvers, where it did not exactly feel the most planted on the road. The steering’s balance is poor since frequent adjustments had to be made just to keep the vehicle centered in the lane. The brakes are adequate and is capable in suddenly stopping when driving around town. Pedal action is on the mushy side, and expect a slight delay for the effect to come. Under hard braking, there is just more shakiness and the front lurches forward too much.
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The base ES trim features heated mirrors, remote access, cruise control, automatic climate control, 7-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth, four-speaker sound system, and a rearview camera. There are no package options available for the ES trim. The LE trim steps it up by adding LED running lights, heated front seats, 6.5-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, six-speaker sound system, satellite radio, and a push-button start. The SE trim is essentially the LE trim with the bigger engine but with a bigger 7-inch touchscreen display and an additional USB port. The top-of-the-line SEL trim has the goodies from the SE trim and also includes power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a power-adjustable driver seat. The Touring package adds a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate sound system and advanced safety and driver assist technologies.
The 2018 model was tested by the NHTSA and received a 4-star rating for Frontal Crash, a 5-star rating for Side Crash, and a 4-star rating for Rollover. Overall, it received a 4-star safety rating. The IIHS also rated the vehicle and mostly scored “Good” in Crashworthiness tests, and scored “Superior” for front crash prevention. The headlights however, were only rated “Marginal” for Crash Avoidance and Mitigation. The Technology package for the SEL trim includes advanced safety and driver assist technologies such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and automatic high beams.
The 2018 model has a 171.9 inch length, 71.3 inch width, 64.8 inch height, and a 105.1 inch wheelbase. Not much has changed in the 2018 model, apart from the center grille and the rear bumper. The center grille looks more understated while still retaining the same amount of chrome. The rear bumper now has a diffuser and the reflectors are larger. But the overall silhouette hails back from almost a decade ago and a redesign would help entice more buyers.
Entering the vehicle is easy, but to get into the back the taller passengers have to lower their head. Upon seating, it has become obvious that it was not meant for taller people since headroom is limited, although legroom is decent. Up to 5 people can seat inside the cabin and leather seats come with the SEL trim. Unfortunately the leather wasn’t pliable and did not prove comfortable on lengthier trips. Back support is fine but seating position felt more upright than relaxed. Ride quality is good, but rough patches on the road were barely absorbed by the suspension. Going through wavy roads, they were dampened better for a smooth ride.
Behind the second row of passenger seats, there is 21.7 cu. ft. of cargo space. It expands to 49.5 cu. ft. when those seats are folded down.