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Subcompact SUVs like the 2021 Hyundai Tucson and 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport have a large following – for a good reason. These vehicles are safe, spacious, and affordable. Thus, this segment caters to young professionals and new families.

When picturing this segment, thoughts of family vacations, carpooling to your new job and taking the family out for ice cream flood the mind. It’s a feeling of warmth and contentment, knowing your vehicle will take you where you need to go for years to come. 

However, you have to pick the right one for these daydreams to become a reality. The 2021 Hyundai Tucson and the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport are contenders in the overcrowded segment, but does either hit the mark?

There are many aspects to consider when making a years-long commitment to a vehicle purchase. The Tucson and the Outlander Sport’s target audience is ready to take the plunge, but which vehicle should buyers choose? 

Let’s take a closer look at what the 2021 Hyundai Tucson and the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport have to offer. Is either SUV worth driving off the lot and into your driveway? 

What we love about the 2021 Hyundai Tucson 

A silver 2021 Hyundai Tucson parked on display next to rugged terrain
The 2021 Hyundai Tucson on display | Photo via Hyundai

Hyundai is redesigning the Tucson for the 2022 model year, but shoppers shouldn’t overlook previous iterations. The Tucson is the Korean automaker’s best-selling model, and it’s no wonder why.

Drivers will be quite impressed by the 2021 Tucson’s amenities. It comes standard with a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen that’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Meanwhile, Outlander Sport drivers will have to pay extra for these smartphone mirroring systems.

The 2021 Hyundai Tucson also comes with a boatload of driver-assist technologies. It offers forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, and a driver drowsiness monitor as standard equipment. Buyers can also add available smart safety systems like blind-spot monitoring and adaptive cruise control. Plus, the 2021 Hyundai Tucson comes with the best limited powertrain warranty in the business, giving you a little extra peace of mind.

Notably, the 2021 Hyundai Tucson offers two engine options – a standard 161-hp 2.0-liter four-cylinder and an available 181-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder. However, neither powerplant is all that exciting or fuel-efficient.

What we love about the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

An orange 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport driving down a city road
The 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport in action | Photo via Mitsubishi

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is quite tempting for many shoppers, as it has an insanely low starting MSRP of $22,995. While the Tucson may be slightly more well-equipped, but it’ll cost a little extra. Hyundai’s compact SUV starts at $23,700.

The Outlander Sport is a mixed bag, as many of its positives are offset by a negative. For instance, its standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine gets an EPA-estimated 27 MPG city/highway combined. That’s two more MPG than the 2021 Hyundai Tucson’s standard engine achieves. 

However, this extra gas mileage comes at a cost. The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport is woefully weak, as it only produces 148 hp. Upgrading to the available 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine won’t make too much of a difference either, as it only delivers 168 hp.

The 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport doesn’t offer the same safety features as the Tucson. For instance, it’s missing a driver drowsiness monitor. Although it does have standard rain-sensing wipers, which are extremely helpful for drivers who live in rainy areas. Plus, the Outlander Sport comes standard with a pedestrian detection system, while Tucson owners will have to pay extra for this feature.

The final verdict

When it comes to value, sometimes the savings aren’t as obvious. Sure, you may save money upfront when purchasing the 2021 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. But there could be hidden costs down the road. 

Quality should always win out in the end when making a long-term purchase. Spending a little extra on a superior model always saves you money in the long run. The 2021 Hyundai Tucson is the clear winner when choosing an SUV with staying power. 


Why No One Wants to Buy the 2020 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport