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2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review

MPG-o-Matic 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Review Summary: The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport aims to carve out a niche in the crowded small SUV and Crossover market, with good fuel economy, Evo-inspired styling, light weight, solid handling, and the best set of paddle shifters in the business. It falls short when it comes to sport, due to modest horsepower levels and CVT transmission. With a few tweaks, the Outlander Sport could achieve its full potential.

The 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is powered by a 16-valve DOHC MIVTEC 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 148 horsepower (HP) and 145 foot pounds of torque. The inline four can be mated to either a five-speed manual or continuously variable automatic (CVT) transmission. While the Outlander Sport is available in either two-wheel- (2WD) or all-wheel-drive (AWD), a manual is not offered with the AWD verison.



The official fuel economy estimates for the 2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport range from 24 city / 31 highway miles per gallon for the 2WD manual through 23 city / 28 highway for the AWD CVT. The 2WD CVT is rated at 25 / 31. Mitsubishi refers to their AWD system as All Wheel Control (AWC), rather than all-wheel-drive.

We covered more than three hundred and fifty miles in our Laguna Blue SE AWC review unit, and hit the official mileage estimates, with an average of 28.5 MPG on the Interstate highway and 26.4 MPG combined with temperatures ranging from the mid seventies through the low nineties.

Interstate Mileage Testing:

  • Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 30.4 MPG
  • Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off, windows down: 27.9 MPG
  • Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C on, windows up: 26.9 MPG
  • Cruise control off, target speed 60-72 MPH, A/C on, windows up: 28.9 MPG

Interstate highway testing temperatures were in the high-seventies through low-eighties. Our SE AWC test vehicle was equipped with the standard 18 x 7-inch aluminum alloy wheels, clad with P225/55R18 Goodyear Eagle LS-2 Grand Touring All-Season tires, and was delivered with approximately 9000 miles on the odometer. (The Outlander Sport SE base model is fitted with Yokohama Geolandar H/T G033 P215/70R16 tires on 16 x 6-inch alloys or steelies with full covers.)

Highway driving range is very good. The 2WD Outlander Sport is fitted with a 16.6 gallon fuel tank, while the AWD model is fitted with a slightly smaller 15.8 capacity. Both are designed to run on regular unleaded gasoline.

The Outlander Sport’s four-wheel-disc ABS brake system uses electronic brakeforce distribution, with 11.6-inch ventilated rotors on the front and 11.9-inch solid rotors at the rear. The AWD SE model weighs in at 3263 pounds.

CVT’s are never the enthusiast’s choice, but Mitsubishi’s awesome magnesium alloy paddle shifters let you tap for simulated gear changes. The paddles are steering-column mounted and the best in the business. There’s a slap-stick for additional manual control, as well.

The center-mounted thermometer-style Instant MPG display is well-implemented and provides more feedback than the simple Econ indicator. The Mitsubishi Multi-Communication System touch-screen provides additional detail, with colorful scatter charts for average speed and fuel economy, as well as distance to empty, distance driven after refueling, and drive time. You’ll also find maintenance reminders and a calendar, among other goodies.

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport Average Fuel Economy History display screen

The Lancer-based Outlander Sport rides and handles well, but it lacks the oomph that one would expect with a sport tag. If the little ute only had the Lancer Ralliart’s turbocharged engine, Poppa would have a whole new bag.

Unlike some AWD crossovers that allow for no user control over the drive wheels, the Outlander Sport provides a drive mode-selector to switch between 2WD, AWD Auto, and AWD Lock.

Two level heated front bucket seats and heated side mirrors are standard in the SE model, along with Mitsubishi’s FAST-key passive entry system. Leather seating surfaces and adjustable lumbar support are not available in the 2012 model.

The leather-wrapped steering wheel is a high-point. All Outlander Sports are equipped with steering wheel-mounted audio controls, as well as the FUSE handsfree Bluetooth system, which includes streaming audio. The SE is fitted with a 140-watt, six-speaker audio system. There are two 12-volt outlets: one at the base of the dash, and the second inside the center console, next to the USB input jack. Phonebook download is automatic.

Our test unit was equipped with the optional navigation option package, which includes a backup camera, hard drive-based music server, and real time traffic. However, it was not equipped with the Premium option package, which features a panoramic glass roof with LED lighting, 710-watt nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system, 10-inch subwoofer, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and roof rails.

The second row seats provide a fold down center armrest, 37.9 inches of headroom, and 36.3 inches of legroom. There are rear-floor ventilation system ducts. A center pass-through allows loading of longer items, whether skis or lumber, without folding the rear seat down.

The Outlander Sport’s cargo area provides 20.1 cubic feet of storage when equipped with a subwoofer and 21.7 cubic feet without. Fold the 60/40 split rear seats down for 48.8 cubic feet of storage with the panoramic sunroof, and 49.5 without.

All-in-all, the 2012 Outlander Sport stands out from the crowd of small crossovers and SUVs without being a standout performer. The Evo-esque grille, crisp styling, and paddle shifters imply a level of performance that the naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter can’t deliver. We like the Outlander Sport, but Mitsubishi needs to make some big moves if they want to carve a niche out of this crowded market. There’s plenty of room under the hood for the Ralliart’s turbocharged engine or better yet, a turbo-diesel. And since this is a Sport model, we’d vastly prefer the SST dual-clutch transmission over the CVT.

2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SW AWC - Laguna Blue - side view

Parts Content Information
US/Canadian Parts Content: 4%
Major Source of Foreign Parts Content: Japan 94%
Final Assembly Point: Okazaki, Japan
Country of Origin:
Engine – Japan
Transmission – Japan

Warranty Information:
Basic – 5 years/60,000 miles
Powertrain – 10 years/100,000 miles
Anti-corrosion – 7 years/100,000 miles
Roadside Assistance – 5 years/unlimited miles

– by


2012 Honda CR-V EX-L AWD

3.8
Daniel Gray
2013-08-26

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4 comments ↓

#1 Rich M on 08.27.12 at 12:49 am

The 2WD CVT is rated at 25 / 31 I think you mean 🙂

Both power and fuel economy are disappointing here, now that more powerful CUVs are doing better on both fronts.

#2 mpg-o-editor on 08.27.12 at 7:53 am

@Rich – Good catch … thanks!

#3 Jukie on 09.09.12 at 2:23 pm

LOL Sport model….. if you say so, buddy.

#4 Mike Fischer on 09.17.12 at 6:43 pm

For sporty good looks, plenty of optional features and accessories, and respectable fuel economy, the 2012 Outlander Sport represents a good value in my opinion.

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