2020 Kia Sportage vs. 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Sportage’s standard Downhill Brake Control allow you to creep down safely. The Outlander Sport doesn’t offer Downhill Brake Control.

The Sportage’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Outlander Sport doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Sportage and the Outlander Sport have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Kia Sportage is safer than the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport:

Sportage

Outlander Sport

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Kia Sportage is safer than the Outlander Sport:

Sportage

Outlander Sport

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

23 cm

28 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

2.4/.1 kN

3.43/.93 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

1%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Tibia index R/L

.52/.68

.68/.36

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sportage the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Outlander Sport was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

There are over 2 times as many Kia dealers as there are Mitsubishi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Sportage’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Sportage has a standard 140-amp alternator (150-amp - Sportage SX Turbo AWD). The Outlander Sport’s 130-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Sportage has a standard 600-amp battery. The Outlander Sport’s 530-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage first among small SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Outlander Sport isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 51 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 30th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 32 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 20th.

Engine

The Sportage has more powerful engines than the Outlander Sport:

Horsepower

Torque

Sportage 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

181 HP

175 lbs.-ft.

Sportage SX Turbo AWD 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

237 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Sportage SX Turbo FWD 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

240 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Outlander Sport ES/SE 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

148 HP

145 lbs.-ft.

Outlander Sport GT 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

168 HP

167 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Sportage 2.4 4-cylinder is faster than the Outlander Sport 2.0 4-cylinder (automatics tested):

Sportage

Outlander Sport

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

10.1 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

17.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.4 MPH

78.4 MPH

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Kia Sportage as a “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV). The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is only certified to “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) standards.

Transmission

The Kia Sportage comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Outlander Sport.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Sportage’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Outlander Sport:

Sportage LX/S/EX

Sportage SX Turbo

Outlander Sport

Front Rotors

12 inches

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

The Sportage stops much shorter than the Outlander Sport:

Sportage

Outlander Sport

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

137 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

143 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Sportage SX Turbo’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Outlander Sport (245/45R19 vs. 225/55R18).

The Sportage SX Turbo’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Outlander Sport’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Sportage SX Turbo has standard 19-inch wheels. The Outlander Sport’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Sportage has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Outlander Sport’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sportage is 2.8 inches wider in the front and 3.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Outlander Sport.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the Outlander Sport SE 4WD pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.2 seconds quicker than the Outlander Sport SE 4WD (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 29 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The Sportage has 2.2 inches more front hip room, .9 inches more front shoulder room, 1.2 inches more rear headroom and 1.9 inches more rear legroom than the Outlander Sport.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Sportage’s rear seats recline. The Outlander Sport’s rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

The Sportage has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat up than the Outlander Sport with its rear seat up (30.7 vs. 21.7 cubic feet). The Sportage has a much larger cargo volume with its rear seat folded than the Outlander Sport with its rear seat folded (60.1 vs. 49.5 cubic feet).

To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waiting momentarily behind the back bumper can open the Sportage EX/SX Turbo’s power liftgate, leaving your hands completely free. The Sportage’s power liftgate can also be opened or closed by pressing a button. The Outlander Sport doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Towing

The Sportage has a 2000 lbs. towing capacity. The Outlander Sport has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the Sportage and the Outlander Sport have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Sportage is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Outlander Sport prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Sportage to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Outlander Sport doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Sportage has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the Outlander Sport only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

Consumer Reports rated the Sportage’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Outlander Sport’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Sportage’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Outlander Sport’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

The Sportage has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Outlander Sport has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the GT.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Sportage has standard extendable sun visors. The Outlander Sport doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Sportage (except S/LX) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Outlander Sport doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Sportage’s optional (except S/LX) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Outlander Sport doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Sportage’s optional dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Outlander Sport doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Sportage and the Outlander Sport offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Sportage has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Outlander Sport doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Sportage (except LX) offers an optional Smart Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Outlander Sport doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Sportage owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Sportage will cost $335 to $2090 less than the Outlander Sport over a five-year period.

The Sportage will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Sportage will retain 47.52% to 50.83% of its original price after five years, while the Outlander Sport only retains 42.4% to 43.19%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sportage is less expensive to operate than the Outlander Sport because typical repairs cost much less on the Sportage than the Outlander Sport, including $180 less for a water pump, $10 less for front brake pads, $291 less for a starter, $119 less for fuel injection, $380 less for a fuel pump and $33 less for front struts.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Kia Sportage, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage third among small SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Outlander Sport isn’t in the top three.

The Kia Sportage outsold the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport by over two to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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