2011 Mitsubishi RVR Road Test Review

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There's still a bit of residual memory of dollar forty gas amongst car buyers. Many manufacturers are countering that by going to smaller versions of tried and true successes. That said, it comes as no surprise to see a compact utility vehicle from Mitsubishi called RVR.

Just over a foot shorter than its larger Outlander sibling, the RVR has a trimmer, more athletic appearance, which gives it a more playful attitude. And though it is shorter overall, the wheelbase remains unchanged. This gives the RVR minimal overhangs, lending it a sporty, wheels-pushed-to-the-edges-of-the-bodywork look.

When Mitsubishi's engineers made the RVR shorter, they also worked diligently to pull weight out of the vehicle. The front-wheel drive five-speed manual RVR weighs 1,375 kilos (3,032 lbs), compared to the Outlander's 1,586 kg (3,498 lbs). This gives the 2.0-litre 148-horsepower four-cylinder engine more than a fighting chance when it comes to keeping the RVR motivated.

The other transmission available is a continuously variable automatic with six pre-selected ratios made accessible by paddle shifters behind the steering wheel. The five-speed manual transmission was my preference, but it's only available with the base model. If you want the high-powered stereo, all-wheel drive, or navigation, you'll have to learn to love the CVT.

Over the road, the Outlander Sport displays a comfortable ride and minimal body roll when asked to change directions. While only afforded a short drive through the countryside, I could tell the RVR would be quite competent around town. Overall, the Mitsubishi is pretty quiet, except when the engine is asked to scale a hill rapidly or accelerate briskly. Mitsubishi's super all wheel control four-wheel drive system is fitted to the RVR in mid-level SE 4WD and top-line GT 4WD trim levels. Capable of shifting drive power both fore and aft and from side to side as needed to keep the RVR on the roll, the system gives the little crossover excellent traction and stability.

Inside, the look of the accommodations can best be described as economical. The only interior upholstery offered is cloth and the plasticity of the accompanying materials is pretty evident. Equipment-wise, the RVR offers some pretty nice stuff though. Highlights include navigation, Bluetooth, USB audio inputs, a tilting and telescoping steering wheel, air conditioning, power everything, a panoramic glass roof and a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system hooked up to a voice activated head unit. The nav system comes with a 40-gig hard drive and subscription-free real time traffic info.

Overall, I like the way the RVR drives and appreciate the tech toys it offers as well. I like the shark-nosed look of the exterior, although the interior felt kind of built to a price. Still, as an economical runabout, designed to haul toys when you need to and people when you don't, the RVR should be a good buy, with a starting price of $21,998 plus $1,450 for the destination charge.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Crossover, Mitsubishi, 2011, RVR, $20,000 - $29,999, Compact,

Organizations: Mitsubishi

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