The 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and the Ford Escape approach the compact crossover SUV segment from slightly different perspectives. Thankfully, they have both ignored the bug-eyed, cutesy, and funky approach of some of their rivals, so let's see how they measure up to each other in a head-to-head comparison.
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport vs Ford Escape
Styling: Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Without going over the top, the Outlander Sport lives up to its billing, especially in its top-specification GT form. The Mitsubishi has a reworked grille and an overall profile that's definitely a little sporty, but the look is mature and sensible enough to appeal to a wide range of potential buyers without alienating younger consumers.
There's no denying the Ford Escape makes no attempt at all to be anything other than sporty with its styling. Although it does sacrifice on practicality in some areas, the overtly sporty look of the Escape is very attractive. It's definitely more car-like than obviously SUV, so perhaps Ford should have gone all the way and given it a fastback roofline like a small version of the GLC or an X6.
Interior: Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
In true crossover fashion, the interior of the Outlander Sport is versatile and capable, especially with its low loading floor and more than 20 cu.-ft. of room behind the rear seat. If the 60/40-split rear seats are folded down, the Mitsubishi offers cargo space close to 50 cu.-ft., which is pretty impressive considering it's definitely a good a half-step smaller than a number of its rivals.
The Escape is one of those rivals that's a little larger on the inside and outside than the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, but not in ways that are noticeable if you really do need extra space. The quality of the interior is very good, but it's also quite stylized, which means less space for passengers. At the entry level the Ford has a nicer cabin, but the smaller price tag and better use of space goes to the Outlander Sport.
Fuel Economy: Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
Engines and Performance: Ford Escape
Unlike some rivals, you have engine options in the Outlander Sport. The base engine is a 2.0-liter inline-four that develops 148 horsepower, but it's only available in the entry level model. Every other trim gets the more powerful 2.4-liter four-pot, which then puts 168 horsepower and a useful 168 lb.-ft. of torque at your disposal.
The Escape lives up to the sporty promises made by its styling with an impressive trio of engines. The base 2.5-liter unit is a match for the more powerful of the two engines in the Mitsubishi, and the other two EcoBoost turbos are more powerful, so this round is an easy win for the Ford.
Learn More about the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and the Ford Escape are close competitors, and we wouldn't be surprised if some buyers preferred the overtly sporty and car-like Escape. But the 2017 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is an excellent all-rounder that competes well in any area. Because the Mitsubishi is so much more affordable than the Escape, and because the Mitsubishi offers real performance and value for that money, we give the nod to the Outlander Sport.