Pros-Revised look. Versatile size. Decent performance. Nice handling. Supple ride. Well-Equipped. All Wheel Control (AWC) system.
Cons: Marginal name recognition. Stiff rear seat. Only comfortably seats four.
Bottom Line-A very acceptable compact SUV.
The Mitsubishi Outlander compact SUV is often overlooked, but the top-line Sport 2.4 GT AWC (All Wheel Control) version offers especially good value for the money.
Blame the Outlander's relative lack of popularity partly on erratic leadership and relatively little advertising, although Mitsubishi's auto origins date back to 1917 and it has won numerous World Rally Championships, which are tough, demanding events virtually unknown to the majority of Americans.
The Sport 2.4 GT AWC is the best of the Outlander line. For starters, this SUV, which shouldn't be confused with the larger less sporty Outlander model, has a versatile size and tight turning circle.
For 2020, the Sport 2.4 has a sportier looking front end with special black and silver accents, exterior body touches such as power body colored (retractable) side mirrors, GT badging, chrome side garish, rear spoiler and LED taillights.
The GT has a smooth 168-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, while the lower-cost base Outlanders have a more economical but rather lackluster 2-liter 148 horsepower four that's OK if most driving is done in town. The 2.4 engine goes a good job on town and on highways, working with a smooth CVT automatic transmission.
A driver can normally use just front-wheel drive for slightly greater economy but can switch via a console button to four-wheel drive to deliver power to all wheels for improved traction and safety in slippery driving conditions or to Lock, which is similar to the 4WD setting. It routes power to all four wheels but distributes 60 percent of the available power to the rear wheels for sportier handling. A dashboard diagram conveniently tells which drive mode is being used.
Few economy with the 2.4 is is an estimated 23 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on highways. Only regular grade gas is needed.
Four tall adults fit, but the rear seat is rather small and stiff and the middle section is best suited for the fold-own armrest with cupholders. The upgraded interior has attractive red stitching and a fair amount of soft-touch materials. A large speedometer and tachometer can be quickly read, and there's a larger, easily used touchscreen. Large dashboard redundant manual controls for such things as the climate control system are handy if you don't want to use the screen.
The interior also features a pushbutton start, tilt-and-telescopic wheel, manually adjustable heated front seats, cruise control and a rearview camera.
Door handles are easily grasped for quick entry and exit. Front doors have pockets for bottle holders and small items, but rear doors have no such pockets. However, the front console has a large covered cargo bin. There's Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, HD radio with six speakers, Bluetooth wireless technology and 12-volt power outlets.
Cargo room is just adequate with a wide opening. It provides 21.7 cubic feet of cargo room, but split-folding rear seat backs, which sit flat, enlarge the cargo area to 49.5 cubic feet.
My test Outlander Sport 2.4 GT AWC has noticeably firm but quick electric power steering. It also features a supple ride with an all-independent suspension and good handling, thanks to such items as front/rear stabilizer bars, active stability control and an improved all-wheel-drive system. The brake pedal has a firm, reassuring feel, and the anti-lock brakes have a have electronic brake force distribution and and a brake assist feature.
There are numerous safety items, including forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, blind spot warning with lane change assist, rear cross-traffic alert, advanced dual-stage front air bags and side-curtain airbags.
The Outlander Sport 2.4 GT AWC comes with a 5-year, 60,0000-mile limited warranty, a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 7-year/100,00-mile corrosion warranty.
Mitsubishi has plans to offer a larger number of competitive, attractively priced vehicles, so the Outlander Sport's resale value may benefit from such an action.