Head-to-Head: 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport vs Subaru Forester

How sporty is the new Forester? How comfy is the 2022 Outlander Sport? Find out in this 2022 Subaru Forester vs Mitsubishi Outlander Sport comparison!

Can the Sport Outsport the Forester?

mitsubishicars.com | subaru.com
mitsubishicars.com | subaru.com

We did a full review of the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander, and we did a 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander vs GMC Terrain comparison, but today we’re looking at the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. More specifically, we’re looking at how the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport compares to the 2022 Subaru Forester. The Forester is tough competition for the Outlander Sport because the Forester is a favorite. It has done well against other crossovers in the past. We compared it to the always popular Honda CR-V in Budget Buys Under $12,000: Honda CR-V vs Subaru Forester. The Forester was our favorite in Budget Buys Under $15,000: RAV4 vs Forester.

This head-to-head comparison reviews both vehicles, from the engine compartment to the drivetrain to the fancy features passengers can enjoy inside. Can the 2022 Forester, with its new Wilderness trim level, compete against the two new trims (one of which has an upgraded 168-horsepower engine) in the 2022 Outlander Sport? Let’s find out!

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport vs Subaru Forester Specs

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.0L I4 - Ben Hardy on youtube.com
2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 2.0L I4 - Ben Hardy on youtube.com

A 148-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is standard in most 2022 Outlander Sport models. The GT and the new GT Special Edition have a more powerful 168-horsepower 2.4-liter inline-four that makes 167 lb-ft of torque. No matter the engine, both are paired with continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that a front-wheel drive (FWD) Outlander Sport gets 24 miles per gallon (MPG) in the city and 30 MPG on the highway. Those numbers aren’t terrible, but they’re also not as high as some other compact crossovers, like the 2022 Honda CR-V and the 2022 Nissan Rogue. An all-wheel drive (AWD) Outlander lowers to 23 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway.

2022 Subaru Forester 2.5L H4 - Raiti's Rides on youtube.com
2022 Subaru Forester 2.5L H4 - Raiti's Rides on youtube.com

A CVT is also utilized in the 2022 Subaru Forester. Higher trims in the 2022 Forester use a CVT with a seven-speed or eight-speed manual mode. It’s mated to a 2.5-liter DOHC engine that makes 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque. While the Outlander Sport offers two engine options, the Forester comes with just the one. The solo four-cylinder engine in the Forester is still more powerful than either in the Outlander Sport though. AWD is the only option in the Forester.

Fuel economy on the Subaru comes in at 26 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway. Both those numbers are higher than the 2022 Outlander Sport. The Wilderness trim, equipped for off-roading, lowers gas mileage to 25 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway.

Driving & Performance

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport - mitsubishicars.com
2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport - mitsubishicars.com

Despite two engine options, the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport lacks power. Models with the 2.0-liter engine take a while to really get going on the highway or interstate. It can also be a little delayed in city driving. If you’re not doing a lot of daily accelerating, it’ll work fine. The more powerful 2.4-liter engine doesn’t provide a lot of extra strength either, but it’s the better option of the two. A tow hitch, wiring harness, and ball mount are all available to help improve the 2,000 lbs of towing capacity the 2022 Outlander Sport can reach.

The 2022 Outlander Sport doesn’t stand out when it comes to handling. There is some body roll around curved roadways. It’s not unstable, but it’s not you feel the turn as a driver or passenger. It also rides a little rough on bumpier surfaces, so this isn’t the car for a lot of gravel roads or off-roading.

2022 Subaru Forester - subaru.com
2022 Subaru Forester - subaru.com

The four-wheel independent suspension on the 2022 Forester provides works well, providing comfort that the Outlander Sport lacks. This isn’t a sporty SUV, but it minimizes body lean. Once it gets going, the 2022 Forester rides smoothly, but the CVT is sluggish if you’re starting from a stopped position or trying to get up to speed quickly. In our 2020 Subaru Forester review, we mentioned that the vehicle handles like you’re driving a car with SUV specs and capabilities. That still holds true for the 2022 model.

For off-road performance, the Forester is impressive. 8.7 inches of ground clearance, AWD, and an X-Mode that increases grip while on wet or slippery surfaces all play a part in making the Forester more capable than a lot of others in the segment. The Wilderness trim comes with all-terrain tires and a forward-facing 180-degree view off-road camera as well. A 2022 Forester Wilderness is capable of towing 3,000 lbs. while all other Forester trims max out at 1,500 lbs.

Comfort & Interior

Seats are comfortable enough in the 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. It’s not a premium quality ride, but the cushioning should satisfy most people for a longer drive on an interstate. It’s a bumpier ride when getting into rougher pavement. Leather or leather-trimmed seats aren’t available, but in some trims there’s black upholstery with red stitching, so there’s a little bit of personality included. The legroom up front measures 41.7 inches while the second-row passengers get 39.9 inches. Then there’s the third row in the 2022 Outlander Sport, which can seat up to seven people. Those passengers will only get 18.7 inches of legroom to work with! The rear seats fold down into a 60/40 split, expanding the space from its original 21.7 cu-ft of cargo room to 49.5 cu-ft when the rear seats are folded flat.

There’s a variety of tech features in the 2022 Outlander Sport. Most of them are what buyers have come to expect in a new vehicle, so the vehicle doesn’t have anything extraordinary, but owners get a seven or eight-inch touchscreen, a four or six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, remote start, a push-button start, and integration with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and satellite radio. Hard knobs are there for volume control and radio tuning. The touchscreen interface is designed well enough. It’s simple to use, which is appreciated.

The Forester doesn’t seat up to seven people like the Outlander Sport does, but that’s OK. In fact, that’s a good thing because nobody ends up being crammed into a back row that’s really only suitable for pets or luggage. The Touring model comes with caramel-colored leather that can be found on door panels, on the dash, and on the seats. There’s a lot of plastic, but it doesn’t look or feel cheap.

Headroom up front and in the rear is actually the greatest in the base trim, measuring 41.2 inches in front and 39.6 inches in the back. All other 2022 Forester models have 40.2 inches of headroom in front and 37.6 inches of headroom in back. There are 43.3 inches of legroom in front and 39.4 inches of legroom in the rear across the lineup. Cargo volume, again, is greater in the base trim. It regularly has 28.9 cu-ft of space, but that amount increases to 74.2 cu-ft with the rear seat folded in a 60/40 split. All other 2022 Forester models have 26.9 cu-ft with all seats in place and 69.1 cu-ft of space with the rear seat lowered.

Trims & Features

2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT - mitsubishicars.com
2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT - mitsubishicars.com

The 2022 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is available in seven different trims: the S, ES, LE, SE, SE Special Edition, GT, and GT Special Edition. Every 2022 Outlander Sport comes standard with a rearview camera, forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, automatic high-beam headlights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers. The S trim, which starts at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $21,795, also includes a seven-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, automatic climate control, and a four-speaker stereo.

The ES only adds fog lights and 18-inch alloy wheels. The 2022 Outlander Sport LE is where buyers can see a bigger jump with an eight-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and another USB port. The SE and the SE Special addition include a six-speaker stereo, proximity keyless entry, a push-button start, blind-spot monitoring, lane change assist, and a rear cross-traffic alert.

There’s the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport GT and GT Special Edition close out this lineup with the upgraded 2.4-liter engine, roof rails, and higher-quality cloth upholstery. The GT Special Edition does lose blind spot monitoring, lane change assist, and the rear cross-traffic alert, though. It goes for $27,545 and the GT has an MSRP of $28,045.

2022 Subaru Forester Sport - subaru.com
2022 Subaru Forester Sport - subaru.com

The 2022 Subaru Forester is available in six trims: the Base, Premium, Sport, Wilderness, Limited, and Touring. It starts at an MSRP of $25,895 and goes up to $35,995. All 2022 Subaru Forester models have high-beam headlights, a rearview camera, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, a four-speaker stereo, satellite radio, and integration for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Cloth upholstery is used to outfit the Base and Premium trims.

Heated front seats, power adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter handle, heated side mirrors, a roof spoiler, and a panoramic moonroof all become standard on all trims after you get to the Premium trim.

Starting at the Sport trim level, blind-spot detection with lane change assist and rear-cross traffic alert is standard. Turn signals integrated into the folding side mirrors are standard on all higher trims, too, but the color of the side mirrors change depending on the trim. The wheels go from 17 inches to 18 inches on the Sport, Limited, and Touring trims. The Sport comes with orange-stitched sport cloth upholstery and water-repellent upholstery is used in the new Wilderness trim. The Wilderness is also the only trim that has a 180-degree front-view monitor.

The Limited and top-of-the-line Touring have leather-trimmed upholstery, while the Touring is the only one that has a heated steering wheel, heated rear outboard seats. It’s also the only one that offers the front passenger an eight-way power adjustable seat.

Mitsubishi Outlander Sport vs Subaru Forester Conclusions

2022 Subaru Forester - subaru.com
2022 Subaru Forester - subaru.com

Neither of these compact crossovers are luxurious, though they start getting better at the top end of the trim levels. Both will get you from one point to another without much excitement. That being said, the 2022 Subaru Forester stands out here.

While many of the features are similar, and the Outlander Sport is cheaper, the Forester offers more visibility, a more comfortable ride, and better clearance for off-roading. It also has more power and doesn’t have that cumbersome third row. Both of these small crossovers have room for improvement under the hood, but the Forester has more going for it in most areas of this comparison.

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Jesse Batson

Jesse Batson earned his journalism degree from South Dakota State University. No stranger to newsgathering and reporting, Jesse spent 13 years in TV news. 10 of those years were spent working in Charlotte, NC, home of NASCAR. A highlight of his time there was being able to take a lap around the Charlotte Motor Speedway. His interest in vehicles, starting with Matchbox cars, a Big Wheel, and the Transformers, evolved into taking photos of motocross events. Now, he puts his research skills to use on car culture, reviews, and comparisons.

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