Despite having one of the strongest warranties in Canada and among the lowest sticker prices for its models, Mitsubishi still plays catch-up in the SUV market.
The RVR, for example, is a stoutly built, very driveable compact SUV, with a remarkably palatable entry price, yet it lags behind the Honda HR-V, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson and so on. This is a shame, because the RVR stacks up well against these models.
With two engine choices and a range of drivetrain combos, the RVR can be had with either a 2.0 litre four cylinder, or a 2.4 litre. Power outputs are 148 hp and 168 hp, respectively. Although it sports an additional 20 hp, the larger engine model can only be had with a CVT, whereas the base ES is offered with a five-speed manual gearbox as well.
The smaller engine, standard kit in the front-drive engine ES version, helps bring the price down to an affordable $19,998 for the base model. That would make the RVR possibly the lowest priced compact SUV in Canada. Honda’s HR-V, for example, starts at almost $21,000, with roughly the same performance numbers.
Anyway, my tester, a 2.4 litre SE AWD Limited, is a little pricier than the entry-level model, starting at about $27,500, and comes with a reasonably high equipment level, as it must in this market.
It has heated front seats, steering wheel mounted audio controls, block heater, paddle shifters, and, of course, an all-wheel-drive system. You can get other goodies, such as leather interior, cargo cover, upgraded sound system and so on, but for that, you have to step up to the Premium package.
I think what appeals to me the most about the RVR is that it’s kind of like half a generation behind its chief competitors in terms of modcons, comfort goodies and overall “feel”…..for example, the two litre engine is one of the least powerful on the market…..most other manufacturers have moved ahead with livelier base engines…. and my tester did not have a push button start. However, that alone gives it a leg up, as far as I’m concerned. Push button start is unnecessary and annoying, IMO, yet the majority of manufacturers seem to feel that buyers want it.
With seating for five…..although things would be a little snug…..the RVR has some 1400 litres of cargo space behind the front seats. By way of comparison, a Tucson will give you about 1700 litres, while a Kia Sportage is good for just over 1500 litres….so the RVR has a little less elbow room inside.
But in terms of road manners and handling/braking, the RVR is more than adequate…..not a hot rod, agreed, but around town, it’s just fine, thank you. Most buyers in this market aren’t looking for road-scalding performance or nosebleed-inducing braking and cornering abilities. They want reliability, comfort, and decent fuel economy. The RVR satisfies most of these needs, and my tester is rated at 9.6 L/100 km combined fuel rating. Again, comparing it to the competition, a Honda HR-V delivers a purported combined rating of 7.7 L/100 km.
About that warranty. Mitsubishi is offering ten-year/160,000 km powertrain coverage, which is very competitive, with a five years/100,000 km new vehicle warranty, and five-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance. Few manufacturers top this.
My test RVR was a 2016 model, but 2017 appears to be a carryover year, so there likely won’t be much difference between the two.
AT A GLANCE
Engine: 2.4 litre four cylinder
Horsepower: 168 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque: 167 ft. lb @ 4100 rpm
Price: $27,498 (base); $28,948 as tested.
Fuel Economy: 10.5 L /100 km (city) & 8.6 (hwy.) Regular fuel.
Alternatives: Honda HR-V, Kia Sportage, Hyundai Tucson, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-3, Nissan Juke, Chev Trax, Buick Encore.