The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE is a well-equipped, great looking small crossover. It has the tough look of its cool-cat brother the EVO, and in all black is a stylish ride. The Outlander Sport is not an economy vehicle, but rather one with all the luxury amenities $29,945 can buy. It chooses to do battle in one of the toughest market segments in which to stand out.
Model: Outlander Sport SE AWD
Model Year: 2015
Engine: 2-liter, 148 hp with CVT transmission and driver selectable AWD
- Great Looks
- Comfortable Cabin
- Small Cargo Area
- Weak Performance
- Poor Handling
The 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE is one of those cars that looks good in photos and even better in person. The vehicle looks perfectly proportioned. The front grill is one of the very few on the market we think is nearly ideal. The flat front works for the vehicle. It also has a great stance. Along the side, the Outlander Sport doesn’t need a lot added plastic cladding to look masculine.
The attractive design continues to the rear of the vehicle. It is a simple look but in a good way. However, it is the back that the Outlander starts to run in to trouble. It is simply smaller than the class leaders. The Honda CRV in particular just has a larger rear cargo area. The CRV’s looks are hurt by this, but at the end of the day the Outlander is in the compact, sport utility crossover segment. Utility is important here.
The cabin of the Outlander Sport SE is very nicely laid out. Again, simplicity is the word that jumps to mind. The front seats are perforated, heated leather. They are power adjustable and very comfortable. The wheel has the controls you need, but not more. They are placed in the logical and common positioning on the wheel. Too many new vehicles overthink this. The dash has glossy trim around the infotainment screen, and the whole look is classy.
For such a compact vehicle the 2015 Outlander Sport SE has a very comfortable rear seating area. The perforated leather continues. Seats fold 60-40 of course. The generous room here takes away form the cargo area. Above the rear seats the huge stationary moon roof can really be enjoyed. Front passengers don’t get much benefit from it.
We won’t beat around the bush when it comes to the driving experience of the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE. The 148 hp engine doesn’t cut it in this class where all the other competitors have 180 hp or so. The CVT is the worst of its type droning and moaning. The vehicle is unstable in the rear over rough pavement, and it is tippy and uninspiring to turn. Every other car CUV in the class and price point is better in every way when it comes to the drive.
The Outlander Sport SE AWD did have one feature we really loved. Unlike, say a Toyota RAV4, this car has three drive modes. The driver can select 2WD for fuel economy in dry conditions, automatic AWD in most wet or snowy conditions, or four-wheel drive that makes distributes the torque to all four wheels more or less equally for maximum traction in low speed, slippery conditions. I liked being in charge of that.
The rear storage area is square and what space it has is all usable. Under the mat is a compact spare and added storage.
There is a ginormous Rockford Fosgate subwoofer in the passenger side wall of the cargo area. The audio system has 710 watts of power. For a system with such credentials, we were a little disappointed. It is loud, but you don’t get that bass in the chest feeling, and the sound of a snare’s rimshot is not up to snuff. This stereo is a poser.
In terms of safety, my Outlander Sport did have a great rear-view camera. It also had sensors to tell me if a vehicle was coming across behind me when I backed out of a parking space. However, it did not have forward collision prevention. The Outlander is an IIHS Top Safety Pick, but cannot earn the TPS+ top rating that the CRV and Forester can.
The 2015 Outlander Sport is a real looker. However, in this extremely competitive segment, the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, and others also have that. The Outlander has a price problem. At $30K all of its competitors offer more safety, more power, and more space. Some can even match its options list at this price. If looks and style matter to you most, or if you simply want a smaller vehicle than the Honda CRV, this Outlander would be worth checking out.