The RVR's front end features Mitsubishi's trapezoidal corporate motif.
| Car tested
|| 2011 Mitsubishi RVR GT All-wheel drive
| Body style
|| Five-door hatchback
|| 2L four (148 horsepower)
|| CVT (continuously variable transmission)
| Base price
| Price as tested
The RVR (sold as the Outlander Sport in the U.S.), is related to both the Lancer sedan and Outlander
New to the market for 2011, but based on the Lancer that debuted as a 2008 model.
Toyota Matrix. Though marketed as a CUV, the RVR's dimensions, space utilization and price place
it firmly against Toyota's tall hatchback.
Good proportions, with short overhangs
While the RVR's 148 horsepower 2L four moves the car with sufficient alacrity in day-to-day driving,
it gains speed reluctantly, and allied to a CVT seemingly geared for a maximum fuel economy figure,
bogs down unless you keep your right foot firmly on the gas pedal. Using the CVT's manual mode
in traffic reduces the languid engine response but likely hurts fuel economy as well. The CVT, while not the
best of its kind, is more responsive now than when it debuted in the Lancer in 2008. Not a paragon
of smoothness, the 2L four drones annoyingly when all but the gentlest acceleration is required.
Mitsubishi's larger 2.4L version of this engine (with 20 more horsepower and extra 21 lb.ft. of torque)
would deliver stronger, more relaxed performance in the RVR than the current 2L powerplant.
The RVR is best suited to steady-state highway work, where low-rev operation and good control of
road and wind noise make it a quiet cruiser. Sadly, the RVR's reluctant drivetrain is not offset by
well-honed chassis dynamics. While nicely weighted and with good directional stability, the steering
lacks feedback and gives the sensation that it is attached to rubber bands whenever the steering wheel
is moved off centre. The RVR's handling is basically sound, but lacks any sense of zeal or agility. The
highpoint of the RVR's suspension is a resiliently firm ride that absorbs large bumps with aplomb.
The brakes stop the car well enough, but require a great deal of effort and have an inert pedal feel.
Good visibility for a modern car. The Bluetooth phone interface is simple to set up and works
very well. Good seat heaters and strong air conditioning.
The RVR's cabin is fronted by a classically conservative dashboard housing clear instrumentation
and straightforward controls that drivers feel immediately at home with. The dash and the upper door
panels are padded in a material with a very upmarket appearance, and while most other surfaces
are hard to the touch, their matte finishes are quite attractive. Faux alloy trim pieces brighten the cabin.
The front seats are large, deeply padded, very comfortable and swathed in appealing fabrics.
The door panels have cloth inserts matching those on the seats. With good space utilization,
the RVR can easily house a quartet of adults and can take three people in the back seat for short hops.
The APA's top spec. GT model was equipped with a name-brand audio system that produces very
pleasing sounds. It also featured a fixed, full-length glass roof panel equipped with an electrically-
retracting screen that fully blocked the rays of the sun when closed. The roof was frustrating in
that most drivers would prefer at least some part of it to open. That said, rear seat passengers enjoyed
the panoramic views afforded by the massive glazed area. Small lights, located alongside the tracks
of the sunscreen reflect onto the glass, which amused some passengers, especially at night.
The RVR's regularly-shaped cargo bay is a bit shallow below its cargo cover, but expands considerably
when you fold down the rear seats.
Crisp, clear digital readout flanked by precisely-marked conventional gauges
The RVR's straightforward dashboard is very easy to work with
With the rear seat in place, the cargo bay is a bit shallow below the window line, but regularly
shaped. A pass-through in the middle of the back seat can accommodate long items like skis, while
still holding two occupants
The rear seats fold nearly flat to create a large, regularly-shaped cargo bed
New model, not rated. Five year/100,000 km bumper to bumper warranty, 10 years/160,000 km
on the powertrain. Some very expensive replacement parts.
Bargain priced GT upgrade. Good value compared with a similarly-equipped Matrix. All-wheel drive
is an $1800 option on the SE model equipped with the CVT mandatory with all-wheel drive.
Leasing represents reasonably good value for RVR intenders.
Standard seat-mounted and side-curtain airbags. The RVR was rated Good in the IIHS frontal
and side impact tests. No other categories have been tested. Standard ABS and ESC.
Rear view of the Mitsubishi RVR