One of the best looking small SUV's on the market enhanced by the offering of handsome 18" wheels as standard across the line. The rally red paint accentuates the car's character lines and prominent fender buldges.
Functional yet boring interior with a blended use of high quality and low quality plastics. Seats are comfortable and have good adjustability.
The engine is coarse and unpolished at higher rpms yet smooth and queit at lower revs and when not pushed. It is very relaxed at highway cruising speeds (65-75 mph). The shift action of the manual transmission is smooth and precise complimented by very good clutch take up and engagement. Rev matched downshifts are super smooth and easy. Power is what to be expected from a 148hp engine. Off the line acceleration is lazy but there is adequate passing power at speed above 3500 rpm. The trade off for the lack of performance and engine refinement is of course excellent fuel economy. Most of its competitors offer more hp but keep in mind this vehicle is among the lightest in its class and undercuts them in price by $2-3k. If you can spend the extra $ then a Mazda CX5 would be the better choice in terms of refinement.
Reviews have criticized this SUV for not being "sporty" in the handling department. On the contrary, despite its body roll (it is an SUV afterall) grip is excellent and steering despite having no road feel, loads up well. Coming from a VW GTI, I can tell you this vehicle has excellent grip. The OEM Nexus tires are excellent offering both grip and low road noise. Highway stability is excellent. Again, coming from a GTI and other past German cars, high speed stability is excellent for this class of vehicle. Sadly, much of the vibration from the powertrain is tranmitted through the steering wheel which starkly contrasts its very smooth ride and overall moderately quiet NVH.
I will be periodically posting my mileage in the fuel section. But out of the gate the Outlander Sport has been returning excellent numbers. In cold weather and with only 10 miles on the engine, I was seeing a respectable 32-34 mpg on rural back roads. Highway at 65-75 MPH has seen a consistent 29-31 mpg.