Test Drive: 2013 Mitsubishi RVR SE car test drives mitsubishi
Test Drive: 2013 Mitsubishi RVR SE car test drives mitsubishi
2013 Mitsubishi RVR SE. Click image to enlarge

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Manufacturer’s Website
Mitsubishi Canada

Review and photos by Simon Hill

Photo Gallery:
2013 Mitsubishi RVR SE

Not to be too alliterative, but to secure success in the competitive compact crossover segment, first you’ve got to get noticed and then you’ve got to deliver the goods. Toyota and Honda have done a remarkably good job of this with their RAV4 and CR-V crossovers, but there’s certainly no shortage of contenders to the throne nipping at their heels, with Kia’s Sportage, Nissan’s Juke, Hyundai’s Tucson and Ford’s freshly redesigned Escape all springing immediately to mind. Smaller players like the new-to-market Mazda CX-5 and Subaru XV Crosstrek also provide fresh, worthy competition. The list goes on from there too, so it would be easy for a model to get overlooked.

Mitsubishi’s solution to this problem is to give its compact RVR crossover the same pugnacious, attention-getting snout as the company’s legendary Lancer Evolution rally car. The ploy works, too: the RVR has undeniable street presence and leaves a memorable first impression. The question is, having gotten noticed, can it keep our attention?

Price is one way to keep buyers interested, and certainly Mitsubishi has placed the RVR well in this regard: At $21,448 including destination charges, Mitsubishi’s compact crossover starts just below the $21,759 Hyundai Tucson and the $23,645 Kia Sportage (all prices including destination), and significantly undercuts the $26,500 RAV4, the $27,630 Honda CR-V and the $26,190 Subaru XV Crosstrek (although in fairness to the Subaru it’s the only one in the bunch that comes standard with all-wheel drive, even in base-model manual-transmission versions).

Fuel economy can help focus attention too, and here again the RVR posts some impressive numbers: 8.7 L/100 km in the city and 6.4 L/100 km on the highway with the manual transmission, or 8.6 and 6.6 L/100 km with the automatic (based on 2012 ratings). This puts it in with frontrunners like Nissan’s similarly sized Juke, which manages 7.5 and 6.1 L/100 km with its CVT transmission, and Mazda’s SkyActiv CX-5, which gets 7.8 and 5.7 L/100 km with the manual.

The RVR comes in ES, SE and GT trim levels. At the bottom of the range the ES gets front-wheel drive and a five-speed manual, while the top-end GT includes all-wheel drive and an automatic CVT (continuously variable transmission). The mid-range SE offers a wider range of choice: it can be specified with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, and if you order up the front-wheel drive version you can choose between the five-speed manual and the CVT (all-wheel drive is available only with the CVT).

Test Drive: 2013 Mitsubishi RVR SE car test drives mitsubishi Test Drive: 2013 Mitsubishi RVR SE car test drives mitsubishi
2013 Mitsubishi RVR SE. Click image to enlarge

My test car was an SE version with front-wheel drive and the five-speed manual. At a suggested retail price of $23,548 including destination charges this represents a $2,100 step up from the base ES model, but the SE gets a wide array of the most desirable extra equipment including 16-inch alloy wheels (the base car gets steel wheels), fog lights, rear privacy glass, Bluetooth hands-free phone and audio connectivity, USB input, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, plus leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Diamond white pearl paint added another $160.

Even in base ES trim the RVR is fairly well equipped, with air conditioning, cruise control, heated front seats, remote keyless entry, power locks and windows, multi-information display, tire pressure monitoring system, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, halogen headlights and a 140-watt four-speaker CD/MP3 audio system.




About SimonHill

Simon Hill rebuilt his first engine, an air-cooled Volkswagen, at 14. He started writing professionally about cars in 2009 and is also the editor of Boat Journal magazine. He lives in Vancouver, BC.