2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport: More Like Its Siblings, but Still Not an Outlander Sport Replacement

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
2020 mitsubishi outlander sport more like its siblings but still not an outlander

Feast your eyes on the 2020 version of the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, the compact crossover that attracts more American and Canadian customers than any other vehicle in Mitsu’s relatively sparse lineup. Looks more like a new Mitsubishi, doesn’t it? Sure does. The model’s updated “Dynamic Shield” front end styling now resembles that of its bigger Outlander brother and the newer Eclipse Cross.

It is not, however, a new vehicle, as this 2020 makeover is just the latest in a series of refreshes bestowed on the CUV since the current generation bowed in 2010.

Sold as the ASX in most overseas countries, the RVR in Japan and Canada, and Outlander Sport in America, Mitsubishi’s smallest crossover was once expected to shrink in size to give the Eclipse Cross some breathing room, but company brass shoved that plan onto the back burner.

Instead, the significantly restyled 2020 model gives the Outlander Sport a new face to put out there until Mitsubishi, with the help of its alliance partners, crafts a replacement. The not very new model officially debuts at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

The brawnier, shinier grille and remolded front fascia gives the Outlander Sport and measure of visual toughness not present in past iterations, while a taller hood now cuts into the front fender. Fog lamps and turn signals huddle together for warmth. Out back, reformed tail lamps seem to mimic a signature feature of Volvo’s headlamps. Mitsubishi says it hoped to broaden the model’s beam, at least visually, with these rear end styling changes.

Of course, the illusion of a rear skid plate, coupled with the lower bumper treatment up front, telegraphs to buyers that this is a rugged, outdoorsy SUV, which of course it is not. Not in the Range Rover sense, anyway.

It’s worth noting that buyers of the 2020 Outlander Sport gain an extra inch of infotainment screen (it’s now 8 inches), though there’s no word on whether the driver’s rocking chair stages a return.

Originally, the plan was to downsize the Outlander Sport for the 2019 model year, but Renault-Nissan Alliance membership threw things off track. In early 2018, former Mitsubishi North America senior VP Don Swearingen said a replacement wouldn’t come along for another two or three years.

Not that an aging Outlander Sport is hurting the brand. Last year saw the model’s volume grow 18.1 percent as the brand recorded its sixth consecutive year of sales growth

[Images: Mitsubishi Motors]

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  • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on Feb 13, 2019

    +1, they need to market their 3rd world tested toughness as an asset.A Tracker type vehicle ,if they could get it to pass crash tests ,would only add to their growth. Jeeps are getting really expensive. That and an updated trans./reworked CVT from Nissan. I noticed on the Motor Trend (I know , they're the worst writers) SUV of the Year test , the Eclipse was the only AWD vehicle to get stuck.

  • Kushman1 Kushman1 on Feb 13, 2019

    If mitsubishi offered this at 15k new (truly) and eclipse cross at 20, and outlander at 25, plus a compact pick up they would be killing it. Mistu dealers have been hiking the pricing and they need to be volume not overpriced

  • Dave M. Although the effective takeover by Daimler is pooped upon, this is one they got right. I wasn't a fan of the LHs, mostly due to reported mechanical, NVH and build quality issues, but I though Chrysler hit it out of the park with the LXs. The other hyped release that year was the Ford Five Hundred, which, while a well-built car with superior interior space, couldn't hold a candle to the 300.
  • Art Vandelay I always liked those last FWD 300's. Been ages since I've seen one on the road though. Lots of time in the RWD ones as rentals. No complaints whatsoever.
  • Cardave5150 I've had 2 different 300's - an '08 300SRT and an '18 300C. Loved them both a LOT, although, by the time I had the second one, I wasn't altogether thrilled with the image of 300's out on the street, as projected by the 3rd or 4th buyers of the cars.I always thought that the car looked a little stubby behind the rear wheels - something that an extra 3-4" in the trunk area would have greatly helped.When the 300 was first launched, there were invitation-only meet-and-greets at the dealerships, reminding me of the old days when new model-year launches were HUGE. At my local dealer, they were all in formalwear (tuxes and elegant dresses) with a nice spread of food. They gave out crystal medallions of the 300 in a sweet little velvet box (I've got mine around the house somewhere). I talked to a sales guy for about 5 minutes before I asked if we could take one of the cars out (a 300C with the 5.7 Hemi). He acted like he'd been waiting all evening for someone to ask that - we jumped in the car and went out - that thing, for the time, seemed to fly.Corey - when it comes time for it, don't forget to mention the slightly-stretched wheelbase 300 (I think it was the 300L??). I've never found one for sale (not that I've looked THAT hard), as they only built them for a couple of years.
  • Jkross22 "I’m doing more for the planet by continuing to drive my vehicle than buying a new one for strictly frivolous reasons."It's not possible to repeat this too much.
  • Jeff S Got to give credit to Chrysler for putting the 300 as a rear wheel drive back on the market. This will be a future classic.