The compact SUV market segment has grown considerably over the years. Just about every manufacturer has one in their lineup and each offers a viable model or two.
This hotly contested segment has grown not only in terms of availability, but also in the physical size of those products: in 2010, Mitsubishi responded to this trend by releasing the RVR, a smaller version of their popular Outlander CUV.
Since that time, the RVR has become a sales leader for Mitsubishi. For 2013, they decided to give the RVR a facelift inside and out and update its driving characteristics.
With the RVR, Mitsubishi is concentrated on fuel economy and low emissions. The engine in all models is a 2.0litre four-cylinder which produces 148hp. The resulting 6.1L/100km of highway driving makes the RVR one of the most fuel-efficient crossovers in Canada.
The shift-on-the-fly AWC system is simplified and acceleration is smoother thanks to the updated CVT. The transmission is even more engaging in GT trim and adds steering column mounted paddle shifters. Mitsubishi also includes an ECO mode shift indicator.
A revised rear suspension setup improves handling and ride comfort. Factor in the RVR's comparatively light weight, and it feels agile and stable. Being smaller than some of its competitors also offers a fairly tight turning radius, making parking a breeze. And because it sits 215mm (8.5 inches) off the ground, the RVR is capable of handling some light off-road work as well.
I found myself enjoying the day-to-day driving with the RVR: the overall feel is predictable and simple.
Thankfully, even though the RVR is smaller on the outside, it doesn't feel claustrophobic. In fact, there is plenty of head and knee room in the rear seats for the average adult. Also, because the front seats are raised, rear passengers can slide their feet underneath and stretch out.
Mitsubishi offers new fabrics for GT models, which compliment nicely with the standard leather wrapped steering wheel. This premium-like experience throughout the cabin continues across the model range.
The RVR also provides seven airbags as standard equipment, along with other safety features. Mitsubishi's industry-leading warranty can not be discounted either. The only downside is that the interior design is still a bit outdated compared to some competitors; but it doesn't look or feel cheap in any way or shape.
The RVR's $19,998 starting price makes it one of the most affordable in this market segment. Even the range topping GT model's price ($28,998) is comparatively less than its competitors.
Even at these price points, Mitsubishi was able to offer standard features such as heated front seats, air conditioning, ABS with Electronic Brake-Force Distribution, a braking assist system, tilt/telescopic steering, power door locks with remote keyless entry, and a 140watt AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system with a multi-information display.
Additional features, available as options or on higher trims, include parking assist sensors, a GPS navigation system with lane guidance, real-time traffic information and rear-view camera.
The Mitsubishi RVR is an IIHS top safety pick and is backed by one the best warranties in the world: 10 years or 160,000 km limited powertrain, five years or 100,000 km limited basic coverage and five years unlimited mileage roadside assistance.
The affordable RVR provides excellent fuel economy and a good amount of standard features for the money. These strengths plus its smooth, quiet ride and predictable steering make this compact SUV equally appealing for daily commutes or long road trips.
Since the RVR is designed to be kind on the environment and your wallet, it won't be your first choice for a spirited drive. And while the interior shows quality, it's not the most exciting to look at.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The 2013 Mitsubishi RVR is a great value and deserves consideration in the ultra competitive CUV market.