2021 Kia Sportage vs. 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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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 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Compared to metal, the Sportage’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Mitsubishi Outlander has a metal gas tank.

Both the Sportage and the Outlander 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, 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:

Sportage

Outlander

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, with its optional vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sportage the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 35 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Outlander last would have qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2019.

Warranty

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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

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Sportage’s reliability 13 points higher than the Outlander.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sportage second among compact suvs in their 2020 Initial Quality Study. The Outlander isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2020 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 first in initial quality, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 6th.

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.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Mitsubishi vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 11 places higher in reliability than Mitsubishi.

Engine

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The Sportage has more powerful engines than the Outlander:

Horsepower

Torque

Sportage 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder

181 HP

175 lbs.-ft.

Sportage SX Turbo 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

237 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Sportage SX Turbo 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

240 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Outlander 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder

166 HP

162 lbs.-ft.

Outlander GT 3.0 SOHC V6

224 HP

215 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Sportage 4 cyl. is faster than the Mitsubishi Outlander 4 cyl.:

Sportage

Outlander

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

9.2 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.4 MPH

83.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Sportage uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Outlander GT requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Environmental Friendliness

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

Sportage LX/S/EX

Sportage SX Turbo

Outlander

Front Rotors

12 inches

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

The Sportage stops shorter than the Outlander:

Sportage

Outlander

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

132 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

149 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Sportage SX Turbo’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Outlander (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’s 55 series tires.

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

The Sportage offers an optional space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Outlander; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

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

The Sportage has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Outlander doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

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.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the Outlander GT AWC pulls only .78 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 seconds quicker than the Outlander SEL AWC (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.8 seconds @ .56 average G’s).

Chassis

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The Sportage is 8.4 inches shorter than the Outlander, making the Sportage easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The Sportage has .6 inches more front legroom, 1.7 inches more front hip room, .7 inches more front shoulder room, .7 inches more rear headroom and .9 inches more rear legroom than the Outlander.

Cargo Capacity

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The Sportage has a much larger cargo volume than the Outlander with its rear seat up (30.7 vs. 10.3 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Sportage’s liftgate can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Outlander doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Towing

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The Sportage’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Outlander’s (2000 vs. 1500 pounds).

Servicing Ease

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The Sportage has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Outlander doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

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The power windows standard on both the Sportage and the Outlander 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 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 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 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’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

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 has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the SE/LE/SP/SEL/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 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 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Kia Sportage (except LX) offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Outlander doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

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Insurance will cost less for the Sportage owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Sportage will cost $620 to $2910 less than the Outlander over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sportage is less expensive to operate than the Outlander because it costs $55 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Sportage than the Outlander, including $98 less for a water pump, $9 less for front brake pads, $184 less for a starter, $64 less for fuel injection, $316 less for a fuel pump and $1 less for front struts.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Kia Sportage will be $2856 to $3182 less than for the Mitsubishi Outlander.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/10/21

The Kia Sportage has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

Sportage

Outlander

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

FALSE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

The Kia Sportage outsold the Mitsubishi Outlander by over two to one during 2019.

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

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