Aging but still a competitive contender | One thing I quite enjoyed was the simplicity of the small SUV.
Like most things, people always have a favourite – especially cars if you’re an auto enthusiast. My first car was a Mitsubishi Galant, so I have always had a soft spot for the Japanese automaker. Every week the DoubleClutch.ca garage houses some special vehicles, and I was lucky enough to spend some time with one of the rarer Mitsubishis to grace the garage. Unfortunately it was not a Lancer Evolution, but I found the 2014 Mitsubishi RVR Limited Edition pretty great in its own way.
The 2014 RVR is pretty spacious, to my surprise. I like to haul a lot of things including a huge hockey bag, so space is a big deal for me. On the inside, one thing I quite enjoyed was the simplicity of the small SUV. My tester was the Limited Edition SE model, so it did not come fully equipped with all the goodies that the upper-trim GT would. This RVR had a premium fabric seat material, which was very comfortable and something different to look at. I found that the placement of the gear shifter was located very conveniently, and with the seat fully raised (I am a short driver) I did not have to move or lean to reach it or any other major controls. The centre stack was fairly plain, but for a daily driver, I could not find anything I really disliked.
Traveling from the outskirts of the city into very-crowded downtown Toronto as a frequent commuter, the RVR was easy to maneuver around. Dressed in Titanium Grey Metallic paint, the car looks more aggressive than any other colour Mitsubishi offers and to be honest, I quite enjoyed the dark grey on black interior colour combination. I’ve found that a lot of people I talked to dislike the look of the RVR because of the lines and overall shape. I have to disagree with those thoughts – I think the different, unique lines are striking and typical Mitsubishi. The classy look and stance makes the RVR stand out from all the other compact crossovers it competes with.
Mitsubishi has been slowly giving facelifts across their lineup, with each one looking more bold and aggressive every time. Hey – I’m not complaining, I think it looks pretty neat and what is under the hood isn’t too bad either. My tester sported a 2.0L DOHC MIVEC 4-cylinder engine, good to push out 148 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. For a smaller SUV/CUV I couldn’t make any complaints. On the Limited Edition RVR SE, a Sportronic CVT transmission is standard with paddle shifters as well. What this trim level lacks in overall features, the ‘real’ goodies under the hood pull through and make up for.
Even though manual transmissions are going the way of the dodo bird – especially in SUV’s and trucks, Mitsubishi offers a 5-speed manual transmission. Available only on the ES 2WD and the SE 2WD, both of which are relatively base models, this is still a great competitor to the Hyundai Tucson and Subaru Forester, also available in base trim with a third pedal. Opting for AWC (all-wheel-control) requires you to select the CVT transmission.
When it came to actually driving the RVR, I enjoyed it – plain and simple. It was able to move fairly well without feeling sluggish because of its relatively compact size. Getting up to highway speeds, it rode smoothly and if you hit a bump, the suspension was just right that you felt it enough to know you weren’t on flat ground, without being too bouncy. Usually SUV’s are considered gas-guzzlers, but I managed a very reasonable 7.0L/100km for combined city and highway driving. I’ve driven compact cars that have been a lot worse!
Even though I really enjoyed the Mitsubishi RVR’s simplicity, if it had a sunroof, an infotainment system and blind spot monitoring, it would have easily moved up a lot higher on my rating. At an as tested price of $26,498 for the Limited Edition, it does deliver decent bang for your buck. The issue the RVR faces is tough competition – the Subaru Forester and the Mazda CX-5 are our favourites in this segment. It could use a redesign though, and Mitsubishi will likely update it in the coming couple years, making it stand out even more against its rivals. With fuel approaching $1.60 for premium, the RVR begins to make a solid argument for itself. The RVR is a good compromise between a car and a proper SUV; there is ample amount of space and the fuel economy is exceptional.
2014 Mitsubishi RVR Limited Edition Gallery