Mitsubishi Outlander Sport/ASX/RVR (2010–present): Review, Problems, Specs

Launched in 2010, the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport small crossover (also known as the ASX in Europe or RVR in Japan) has received a discreet upgrade for the 2016 model year in the United States. Sadly, the modest enhancements cannot hide the fact that this vehicle lags behind the competition technologically and from a quality point of view. Still, the Outlander Sport is good value for money and delivers respectable fuel economy with the 2.0-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine. The ASX also served as a donor car for the Peugeot 4008 and Citroën C4 Aircross as part of a deal between Mitsubishi and PSA Peugeot Citroën.


Pros & Cons
Strong Points

Pros


Strong Points
  • Well-equipped
  • Good fuel economy
  • Impressive 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty (U.S.)

Recommended Versions
Strong Points

Cons


Weak Points
  • Noisy engines
  • Unrefined transmission
  • Below-average interior quality
  • Rides and handles worse than most competitors
  • Not as reliable as Japanese rivals

Stay Away From
  • Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT (U.S.)
  • Mitsubishi ASX 2.2 DI-D (Europe)
Strong Points

Attention


Known Problems & Recalls
  • Mitsubishi recalled certain model year 2013-2015 Outlander Sport vehicles in November 2014 to inspect and replace the seatbelt attachment fastener to prevent it from loosening up with time.
  • Some 2013 Outlander Sport models were recalled in February 2014 to inspect the wiring of the driver side seat mounted air bag and re-route the wire if necessary.
  • The automaker recalled certain 2013 Outlander Sport vehicles in July 2013 to inspect, and if necessary, replace the front left strut assembly.
  • Some 2013 models were recalled in March 2013 to correct the installation of the stop lamp switch.
  • Mitsubishi recalled certain 2013 Outlander Sport vehicles in March 2013 to install the proper fuel sending harness so that the fuel tank level reading is accurate.
  • Some 2012 models were recalled in January 2012 to inspect the turn signal lever and replace it with a new one.
  • The carmaker recalled certain 2011 Outlander Sport vehicles in September 2015 to install corrected certification labels.
  • Some 2011 models were recalled in April 2015 to replace a suspect blower motor.
  • Mitsubishi recalled some 2011 Outlander Sport vehicles in September 2014 to replace the drive belt with a rubber belt and replace excessively worn drive pulleys.
  • Some 2011 models were recalled in September 2014 to inspect the brake booster and replace it as necessary.
  • The automaker recalled certain 2011 models in July 2013 to inspect the panoramic glass and reinstall it in case primer was not present.
Car Details
Powertrain

Customers in the U.S. can choose between two four-cylinder gasoline engines: a 2.0-liter unit with 148 hp and a 2.4-liter unit with 168 hp. Given the lower price and minor power deficit of the smaller engine, it's the one to go for, despite its coarse nature. The 2.0-liter engine is mated as standard to a five-speed manual transmission (CVT is an option) while the 2.4-liter powertrain only comes with a CVT. Both units are offered with optional all-wheel drive. In Europe, Mitsubishi offers the ASX with an 117 PS (115 hp) 1.6-liter four-cylinder gasoline unit, an 114 PS (112 hp) 1.6-liter diesel and a 150 PS (148 hp) 2.2-liter diesel.


Handling

Ignore the "Sport" moniker in the model's name: this is not a sporty vehicle at all. The engines are not powerful enough to deliver exciting acceleration, and the Outlander Sport isn't as sharp as other rivals in corners. The body leans even in the mildest turns, and the steering is not very responsive. Clearly, this is not a vehicle designed for driving enthusiasts. When equipped with all-wheel drive, though, the Outlander Sport is better to drive thanks to the "auto" model that improves grip on dry pavement and the "lock" model designed for snow or light off-road incursions.


Safety

The Outlander Sport is among the safest vehicles in its class, having been given the "Top Safety Pick" rating by the IIHS in 2015. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the small SUV top "Good" ratings for all aspects except the small overlap front impact, which was rated as "Acceptable". In government testing (NHTSA), the Outlander Sport received a four-star overall rating, with four stars for each category (frontal crash, side crash, and rollover). Finally, the European-spec ASX got an overall five-star rating in Euro NCAP's testing (86% rating for adult occupant protection, 78% for child occupant, 60% for pedestrian, and 71% for safety assist).

Comfort

What it lacks in sportiness, the Outlander Sport compensates in comfort, though. The ride is cushy most of the time, except over rough surfaces when it becomes unsettled. The amount of noise perceived inside is acceptable, but the Outlander Sport is noisier than most rivals. With the 2016 update, Mitsubishi says it has improved noise insulation, but rev the 2.0-liter engine hard enough and you'll wish they tried harder. The front seats are reasonably comfortable and supportive and finding a good driving position is not hard thanks to the adjustments of the steering wheel and seat.


Quality

Step inside the cabin and it's pretty obvious this is a car launched in 2010. Despite Mitsubishi's recent update, everything looks bland, and the quality of materials throughout the interior is below most competitors. Cheap-feeling, hard plastic surfaces abound, and the overall impression is of a basic, no-frills vehicle. Upper trim levels look slightly better, but improvements are not in tune with the corresponding price increases. The cabin quality of the Outlander Sport may have been acceptable in 2010, but it's downright disappointing in 2016.


Practicality

Sadly, the Outlander Sport does not excel in interior space either. Passengers in the front have good legroom and headroom, unless they're taller-than-average. There's less room in the back, especially for three adults, but two average-sized adult passengers can have a comfortable trip. The trunk measures 21.7 cu ft with all seats in place (up to the roof), and 49.5 cu ft with the rear seat backs folded down. The Outlander Sport's cargo capacity is between the Mazda CX-3 and Honda HR-V. The hidden storage compartment under the trunk floor is a nice touch.


Infotainment

Although the 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has received a new 6.1-inch touchscreen-operated infotainment system, it looks less modern than systems offered by rivals. It's not as user-friendly either, because of the small icons and complex menus. However, the 6.1-inch touchscreen audio display is only offered as standard from the mid-level SE 2.4 trim level upward. The MMCS Navigation system with a 7-inch high-definition touch panel, voice command, 3D mapping, point-of-interest information, and real-time traffic is only offered as an option exclusively for the range-topping GT 2.4 grade.

Efficiency

In the United States, the most fuel-efficient 2016 Outlander Sport is the 2WD base model with the 2.0-liter engine and optional CVT, which is EPA-rated at 27 mpg combined (24 city/31 highway). Adding all-wheel drive reduces efficiency to 26 mpg combined (23 city/29 highway) with the 2.0-liter engine. Finally, the Outlander Sport 2.4L with CVT and AWD returns 24 mpg combined (22 city/27 highway). As usual, European markets also get more economical diesel engines. The most fuel-efficient and refined choice is the 1.6-liter unit, which averages 4.6 l/100 km in 2WD configuration according to the European test cycle.


Equipment

There are five trim levels available for the 2016 Outlander Sport in the United States: ES 2.0, ES 2.4, SE 2.4, SEL 2.4 (new for 2016), and GT 2.4. The base ES 2.0 grade offers a comprehensive package. It includes 18-inch alloy wheels, remote keyless entry, heated mirrors, cruise control, air-conditioning, full power accessories, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel wrapped in leather, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split folding rear seat backs, Bluetooth, and a four-speaker CD player with a USB port.


Acquisition

The base 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ES 2.0 with a five-speed manual transmission starts at $19,595 in the U.S., excluding destination and handling fees. All-wheel drive is only available with a CVT and lifts the price to $22,195. The most affordable model fitted with the 2.4-liter engine is the ES 2.4, which retails from $21,295 ($22,695 with AWD). These prices are comparable or even higher than more competent rivals such as the Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3, making the Outlander Sport one of the last options in this segment.

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