2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE
I’m a huge fan of SUV’s. I know that’s not a popular statement in today’s “green” world, what with greenhouse gasses and carbon offsets, but it’s true. I bought my ’99 4WD, Eddie Bauer Edition Explorer brand spanking new and, fourteen years later, I’d still drive it across country.
When I bought a new car in 2007, I couldn’t bear the thought of trading in my Explorer. So, I didn’t. But, about a year later my younger sister wanted to buy a second car, and having always loved my Explorer, asked if I would sell it to her. Having two other cars ourselves, we didn’t really need it, so I agreed. For about a month. Then I went to see her and tearfully explained that she could use it as long as she wanted or needed, but that I couldn’t sell it to her.
I know, I know. I’m a horrible sister and an Indian giver. But I couldn’t let go. I have driven my Explorer, literally, from one coast to the other. I have driven up and down the Alcan in it, twice, and it has never spent a single day in the shop. The adventures we’ve had with friends in my Explorer are endless.
We have upheld our end of the bargain by providing routine maintenance and “she” has upheld hers, by always delivering us safely to our destinations. We have a bond.
Not All SUV’s Are The Same
Although I’ve always been firmly planted in the mid-size range of SUV’s, they come in all different shapes and sizes ranging from the ginormous Expedition my older sister drove for years, to the small and sporty ones like the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.
I was lucky enough to get to test drive the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport for a week, and we really put it to the test. We went on an extended weekend to the Ozarks.
My immediate reaction was that the Outlander Sport was adorable and super sporty. (Hence the name, I suppose.) I actually loved the “Laguna Blue” color and the panoramic roof, aside from the lame interior LED Illumination.
Then, my very next thought was “eek, it’s only a 4 cylinder!”.
I haven’t driven a 4 cylinder since my first car, a very used 1980 VW Scirocco, and I remember how well it did in the mountains between Pheonix and Vegas. (Can you smell the sarcasm?) So, if I’m being totally honest, I have to admit I was a bit worried about how well it would perform on our trip.
Admittedly, the Outlander Sport doesn’t have a whole lot of initial “ooph” or “go-go power” like a V-6 or V-8 has off the line, so merging onto the freeway at highway speeds can be a bit iffy, depending on ramp length. But once we got going, it performed well. So, as it turned out, it didn’t miss a beat taking those hills.
And I’d forgotten how little gas is used with a 4 cylinder! We went from Indy to Branson, Missouri on a tank and a half of gas. That’s huge, people, when you consider we drove around Branson for three days and back to Indy, via the long way on Route 66, on the fourth day!
This SUV averaged 26 miles to the gallon and gets 29mpg on the highway! My Explorer, when it was brand new, averaged a whopping 16mpg and got 18mpg on the highway.
Although I missed the get-up-and-go of a V-6, the gas mileage on this buggy is a HUGE “pro” in my book.
Confession? I’m a sucker for bells and whistles in a vehicle. I know, I’m such a girl. But I love all the technology and gadgets in today’s cars, and I adore a good sound system. Although this 2013 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport wasn’t decked out in a ton of bells and whistles, it did have everything I need in convenience and safety features. And my music sounded pretty darn good, too.
One of my favorite features of the Outlander Sport was the large navigation system with rearview camera. Not having a rearview camera in any of my vehicles, this feature was greatly appreciated, and it definitely made my “pro” column.
Another feature I loved about the navigation system is that you can use it while the car is in motion. The navigation system in my Crysler has very limited functions while the car is moving, and it’s so very annoying.
I understand the purpose of the restriction, but manufactures need to consider there are passengers who don’t need to keep their attention on the road and who can safely operate the navigation while I’m driving. If they can detect a child, or, in my case, a couple bags of groceries in the front seat and turn off the airbags, surely they can do the same with navigation.
Actually, there were a number of features I liked about The Outlander Sport, including;
- This particular Outlander Sport SE was a 4 wheel drive Living in an area where we get snow, this is a must-have for me.
- Heated seats and side mirrors. Again, living in a cold climate, this is an awesome feature.
- Lots of USB ports in the dash and console. Again, a must-have in my world. When we travel I always have 2 phones, a Kindle Fire, and my laptop in tow. I need to be able to charge them simultaneously if need be. The Outlander Sport provides for this beautifully.
- 4 large cup holders in the front seat and 2 in the backseat arm rest.
- Rain sensing wipers
- Steering wheel mounted cruise and audio controls
- Fuse Hands-free Bluetooth Link System on steering wheel
- Auto-dimming rearview mirror
- 710 watt Rockford Fosgate Punch Premium Sound System with 9 speakers and 10″ subwoofer. This is clearly why my music sounded so great.
- One touch keyless Start/Stop ignition. I know I sound like a geek when I say this, but I really loved this feature. It was a little nerve-wracking trying to make sure we didn’t lock the “key” in the car, so David and I were constantly asking each other “Do you have the remote?” before we would get out of the car, but it was a fun feature.
One of the features that this Outlander Sport had that was totally new to me was the “Steering Wheel Mounted Paddle Shifters”. I understand they go a long way in making this SUV more fuel efficient, and I have to admit they were fun to play with, but the novelty, for me, wore off pretty darn quickly. I thought they might make the sometimes scary experience of merging into highway traffic a little easier, but they didn’t really make the car any zippier, in my opinion. This feature was neither a pro or con.
Size Really Does Matter
As I said earlier, we have shared many adventures with our friends in our Explorer. Many times over the years we have shoved all our gear in the back and piled in for a weekend getaway. And our friends have always had enough leg room and traveled comfortably in the backseat. I’m not sure the same could have been said of the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.
Although David and I were very comfortable in the bucket seats up front, and we had ample leg room, with our seats positioned comfortably for us, any adult passengers we might have had in the back would have been extremely cramped.
The storage space in the back was surprising large, though. We were able to get two carry-on sized suitcases, a duffle bag, my large shoe bag, and my laptop all in the back with lots of space to spare. We had so much room to spare, in fact, I’m wondering why Mitsubishi didn’t push the back seats back a little further to allow for more leg room in the backseat. A few more inches would have made a big difference in passenger comfort.
Over all, this was a cute little 4WD SUV. And retailing at about $28,000 for this model, it’s a decent value. After driving my Explorer, though, I just don’t think this particular SUV would meet our needs. But I can definitely see why someone who wanted a smaller, more fuel efficient 4WD SUV would choose the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport SE.