First Drive – 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

by Tony West
2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Mitsubishi gave the 2015 Outlander Sport some important updates to performance and interior comfort. The 2015 Outlander Sport also adds a 2.4 ES and a 2.4 GT model to the lineup for a total of 3 models with 2WD and 4WD available for each. And a Premium Touring Package and a Technology Package is available for each. For a starting MSRP of $21K, the 5-passenger SUV offers a lot. And the $24K Outlander Sport SE AWD we reviewed offers a hell of a lot-standard, like a cool exterior design a more powerful engine, and increased efficiency.

 

New Swag Inside Out

The 2015 Outlander Sport seems smaller on the outside. It has a 105 inch wheelbase. New swag like the HID headlights, LED daytime running lights and combination taillights got a lot of compliments. The new Outlander Sport also has a chrome beltline molding and chrome grille along with 18 inch alloy wheels. Heated side mirrors and rear privacy glass are great for Midwestern city living.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

The new Outlander Sport also has some cool new colors that contrast well with the black roof rails. We reviewed an Octane Blue Outlander Sport with a color -keyed rear bumper, side view mirrors, and outer handles.

The new Outlander Sport has some aerodynamic enhancements that raise efficiency to 30 mpg highway. The 5-seater has a low drag body design with slight creases in the hood and side panels. The exterior design is still very similar to the 2014 model. The 2016 Outlander however, is longer, wider, and has even more stylish efficient upgrades.

Inside the 2015 Outlander Sport is a tech savvy cabin. The crossover SUV has ample legroom for all passengers. The standard Outlander Sport has leatherish seating with a leather shift knob and steering wheel, high gloss piano black audio panel trim with silver accent, and a push button start. The trunk in the Outlander Sport is also huge.

The leather-wrapped dash has gauges and a cool LCD Multi Info Display (MID) that shows the outside temperature, gear, range, average fuel economy, and an eco monitor. The panoramic sunroof extends to the backseat for a dope skylight. But if it’s left open, the Outlander Sport turns into an oven.

The GT adds a power driver’s seat, outside mirrors with LED turn signals, aluminum pedals, a leather wrapped park brake handle, and black roof rails.

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Drivers have 41 inches of legroom and rear passengers have 36 inches of legroom for their 60/40 split folding seats. Also standard with the SE AWC are heated front seats, 6-way driver’s seat, chrome plated interior door handles, pollen filter, a USB port, and two 12 volt outlets. Absent is an auxiliary port. The rain sensing wipers were always on point.

I enjoyed the easy-to-use steering wheel controls for audio, the MID, and cruise control. And the 7 inch touch screen display has navigation, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Digital Radio, a rearview camera, and Fuse Hand Free Link system with Bluetooth. Navigation was okay, but I couldn’t zoom in to see the street names.

The Touring Package adds real-time traffic and weather, a 9-speaker Rockford Fosgate entertainment system, and a 10 inch subwoofer in the rear.

Storage is ample in the 2015 Outlander Sport with a center console, compartments in each door, and a storage bin in the center entertainment unit.

 

Spirited Powertrain Not as Sporty

The new Outlander Sport has an engine option to suit many different needs. A 2.0 liter and a 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine is available with the ES, SE, and GT models.

The ES 2.0 base model has a 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine with 148 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 145 lb-ft of torque at 4,200 rpm. The SE AWD we reviewed has the same 4 cylinder engine. The GT model has a 2.4 liter MIVEC 4 cylinder engine with 168 horsepower and 167 lb-ft of torque a 4,500 rpm. Both are 16 valve MIVEC engines with aluminum components.

Performance gets a boost from a next generation continuous variable transmission (CVT) that now mimics a 7 speed automatic transmission. The SE AWC model’s CVT has the added benefit of more responsive acceleration from a standing start, more seamless gearshifts and improved fuel economy.

The 2.0 liter 2WD 4 cylinder has an estimated fuel economy of 28 mpg combined (25 mpg city, 32 mpg highway). And the 2.4 liter has an estimated 27 mpg combined (24 mpg city, 30 mpg highway.)

2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

The SE AWD also features Sportronic steering with paddle shifters.

Sport mode is exciting with more fluid steering, more potent acceleration, and tighter braking. The 2015 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE AWD also features Electric Power Steering, MacPherson Strut front Suspension, and multilink rear suspension  that makes the crossover comfortable whether bending corners in the city, on rough terrain, or on a long highway trip. All 8 available models feature 4-wheel ventilated disc brakes that stop on a dime.

The performance of the 2.0 liter 4 cylinder engine was very efficient, just not as sporty. The GT adds more chutzpa, 20 more horsepower, and the exterior design and aluminum components contribute to a low coefficient drag. Yet the Outlander Sport’s highway performance is lackluster. Designers sacrificed athleticism for mpgs.

Handling in the SE AWD Outlander Sport was awesome with tight confident cornering and ease with parking. ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and Brake Assist are standard. Other standard safety features include Active Stability Control, Traction Control and a tire pressure monitoring system.

The 2015 Outlander Sport is just as fun and tech savvy as the 2014 model. But the 2016 Outlander Sport has a ton of new features and a longer swagged-out exterior.