In the world of automotive reviewing, some reviewers use the word “value” as just something, anything, nice to say about an affordable car they didn’t like very much. It’s a backhanded compliment, like saying “he doesn’t sweat much for a fat person” or “his brother was worse.”
The world of automotive reviewing is also dominated by guys whose opinions are largely based on how closely a car resembles a racecar in its handling and performance. Vehicles are often rated unfavorably against others in their class even when those others cost thousands of dollars more. Fuel economy is an afterthought. And manual transmissions are considered the only way to go.
But in the world of the average consumer, cost is often the number one consideration in car purchasing, and practicality is more important than horsepower. Actual attention is given to fuel economy. And in truth, only 4 percent of cars sold in the U.S. have manual transmissions and only 18 percent of drivers in the U.S. even know how to drive a stick shift.
If you search online for reviews of the 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, you’ll see the word “value” a lot, used in the context I’ve described here. Some of the reviewer comments are so unflattering you’d think there was Russian interference.
The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport compact crossover is reasonably priced but offers more than just “value.”
Pricing starts at $20,295 plus a $940 destination charge – and the base model isn’t denuded of desirable features, as is the case with many base models. It also comes with a generous warranty plan: A fully transferable 5-year/60,000-mile new vehicle limited warranty; 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty; 7-year/100,000-mile anti-corrosion perforation limited warranty; and 5-year/unlimited-mile roadside assistance.
There are four trim levels, all available with two-wheel or all-wheel drive: ES, LE, SE, and SEL. Mitsubishi calls its all-wheel drive system AWC, for All Wheel Control. There is also a Limited Edition model with unique black color accents and badging.
My tester was the top-of-the-line 2.4 SEL AWC. Its 166-horsepower four-cylinder engine (162 lb-ft of torque) is a bit more powerful than the 2.0-liter used in the ES and LE models. Its partner is a continuously variable transmission (CVT), and the two do a perfectly suitable job for the general consumer, though would-be Kasey Kahnes would call it out of the question.
As with every test vehicle, I drove the 2018 Outlander Sport SEL on Snohomish County’s curviest roads and on weathered highways around Puget Sound. I found nothing about the car’s ride, handling or performance to rail against. I like that it has all-wheel drive and SUV-style ride height, both good to have in case there’s ever another real winter around here.
The Outlander Sport has seating for five, and 21.7 cubic feet of rear cargo space with the second-row seats upright, 49.5 cubic feet if they’re folded.
Standard features on the SEL model include an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, 18-inch alloy wheels, 7-inch audio display with Apple Carplay and Android Auto capability, SiriusXM satellite radio, fog lights, HID headlights, and the usual safety equipment.
New for 2018, the SEL trim receives standard blind spot warning with rear cross traffic alert and lane change assist, as well as a power remote tailgate.
My tester had an optional Touring Package ($2,000) adding forward collision mitigation, lane departure warning, automatic high beam, a panoramic glass roof, and a superb 710-watt Rockford Fosgate premium audio system with nine speakers. Carpeted floor mats and a cargo area tonneau totaled another $275.
By the way, the base model 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport ES 2WD comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission. A CVT is optional. Also, I’ve been driving stick shifts since I was 16 years old. I should probably also mention that I have a soft spot for underdogs. I adopt flawed animals and feel great tenderness toward the Seahawks after they lose an important game.
2018 MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER SPORT 2.4 SEL AWC
Base price, including destination charge: $26,835
Price as driven: $29,110
Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.