4th Place: 2013 Mitsubishi RVR, by Jonathan Yarkony

Finishing fourth shouldn’t reflect too harshly on the Mitsubishi RVR. As these vehicles go, it is a practical, attractive and well-equipped vehicle – perhaps too well equipped. At $34,108 (including the $1,450 Destination charge), it was $2,000 more than the next most expensive vehicle.

2013 Mitsubishi RVR GT 4WD
2013 Mitsubishi RVR. Click image to enlarge

Although for that price it did come with features like selectable 4WD (2WD, Auto 4WD, 4WD Lock), automatic HID headlights, nav system, power-adjustable  leather seating, 710-watt premium audio (with 9 speakers, one of them a 10-inch sub-woofer, keyless proximity entry and push-button start, panoramic sunroof and 18-inch alloys, it never felt like good value. The ride was clunky and noisy, the sound quality received mixed reviews (the bass, however, was indisputably heavy), the interior materials were crude (the soft-touch dash appliqué only served to highlight the low quality of other switchgear and surfaces), and the touchscreen interface seemed downright archaic. Not only that , but the navigation’s ineptitude sent Contributor Lesley Wimbush on a prolonged ‘detour’ after a wrong turn on route.

Its main strengths were ease of child-seat installation (thanks to seat height, second row legroom and accessible anchors), decent cargo space, outward visibility, and something not often mentioned in our evaluations: the best warranty in the business with 5 years/100,000 km comprehensive and 10 years/160,000 km powertrain warranties. That should offer some serious peace of mind for any shoppers looking to hold on to the vehicle for an extended period.

However, that’s a very practical reason to choose a vehicle and we suspect people tend to shop more with their hearts in this segment, looking for a vehicle that projects an image of character and fun, qualities lacking in the RVR’s driving experience and emotional appeal. It did everything it needed to, but didn’t feel like its 148 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque, the CVT doing little to enhance its performance, and was judged the poorest powertrain and in handling. The RVR was most at home just puttering along – though it still seemed noisy at all speeds, clunking suspension at low speeds and plenty of tire and wind noise on the highway, which is about the only similarities it can claim to the thrilling and engaging Evo, aside from that big, gaping grille.

2013 Mitsubishi RVR GT 4WD2013 Mitsubishi RVR GT 4WD2013 Mitsubishi RVR GT 4WD2013 Mitsubishi RVR GT 4WD
2013 Mitsubishi RVR. Click image to enlarge

Despite lacklustre acceleration, it displayed 11.5 L/100 km at the end of our test loops, mixed in with a couple others in the mid-11s. The CVT and part-time automatic 4WD of the RVR failed to come even close to the Subaru’s far better observed consumption with its CVT and permanent 4WD. The RVR’s official NRCan rating is 6.7 L/100 km highway and 8.5 L/100 km city.

Take it away from these other vehicles and the RVR is a competent and useful vehicle despite its small size, and though it can be well equipped, it fails to deliver the refinement one would expect when paying over $30K for such a small vehicle.

Pricing: 2013 Mitsubishi RVR GT 4WD
Base price: $28,998
Options: $3,660 (Peal Paint – $160; Premium Package – $3,500)
A/C tax: $100
Freight: $1,450
Price as tested: $34,208

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