The 2011 Mitsubishi RVR is an all-new vehicle from Misubishi. The Mitsubishi RVR name is to distinguish it from the Outlander, with which it shares its platform and wheelbase. However, the RVR yields 37 cm in overall length, 3 cm in width and 9 cm in height to its larger sibling. The 2011 Mitsubishi RVR seats five, two fewer than the Outlander, and is between 160 and 235 kg lighter, depending on the model. Mitsubishi categorizes the RVR as a compact crossover vehicle and offers it in SE, SE AWC and GT AWC trims.

2011 Mitsubishi RVR

Front access is easy though you have to watch out for the relatively wide doorsills on the way in and out. Despite the absence of adjustable lumbar support, the front seats prove very comfortable. The tilt-and-telescoping steering column allows the driver to obtain a very good driving position. Headroom and legroom are fairly generous, but very tall people will find that the seats do not slide far enough back. Access to the back is relatively easy, and the seat is comfortable for two adults. Legroom is adequate, but a tall person’s head touches the headliner. The 60/40-split seatback folds almost flat, and both sections recline to a 17- or 23-degree angle. GT trim includes a small ski pass-through in the 60-section of the seatback. Cargo capacity is good, with 82 cm behind the rear seatback in the upright position, and 159 cm behind the front seats when they are pushed back as far as possible. Width is 99 cm and height, 74.5 cm. The liftgate opens high and it is in one section, not two like the Outlander’s.

2011 Mitsubishi RVR

Safety Features
The cabin is nicely finished, but the quality of materials is just adequate and some plastics look cheap. The cabin is relatively quiet, except in heavy acceleration. There are several good storage spaces. Gauges and controls are well laid out, with the exception of the seat heater controls. Placed far back on the console-side of the front seats, they are very hard to reach. Several controls are not lighted at night. The heating system works well. It is interesting to note that the height of the headlights can be adjusted to compensate for load.

Safety equipment includes seven air bags (two front, two side, one for the driver’s knees, two curtain), antilock brakes, emergency brake assist, brake override (which ensures that the brake pedal always has priority over the accelerator pedal if the two are depressed simultaneously), good headlights, and five head restraints. Visibility is very good in all directions for most drivers, except on a three-quarter-rear angle. It is hard to judge distances when backing up. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the RVR a Good rating, its highest, for driver protection in a frontal offset collision, and for the protection of all occupants in the event of a side crash.

2011 Mitsubishi RVR

Engine and transmission
To drive the front wheels (or all four, depending on the model), the engineers called on the 2.0-litre 4-cylinder that develops 148 horsepower and 145 pound-feet of torque, for this vehicle. For the time being, it’s the only available engine, but Mitsubishi apparently is open to the idea of offering another one if there’s enough demand. Performance is adequate for most everyday driving. You can obtain a bit more pickup by putting the pedal to the floor and playing with manual mode, but you still risk disappointment. Passing requires forethought, and hilly terrain may task your patience. The CVT continuously variable automatic transmission functions very smoothly at all times. However, it is a bit slow driving off from a stop. It has a manual mode with six “virtual” gears that you can shift using two column-mounted paddles on the GT, or a shift lever on the other models.
2011 Mitsubishi RVR Interior

Models equipped with the AWC (All Wheel Control) drive system offer a choice of three driving modes: 2WD, 4WD AUTO, and 4WD LOCK. In 4WD mode the system is always engaged and can dispatch torque laterally on each axle. The system is efficient in all conditions.

Bolted to the rigid chassis is a four-wheel independent suspension. It provides a very smooth ride on most surfaces. On some uneven surfaces the reaction is quite firm, but this same firmness delivers good road holding, for the type of vehicle, and a solid feel. Though initially a bit heavy at low speed, the electrically assisted steering proves stable, precise and fairly quick. Unfortunately, it provides very little road feel. The turning circle is normal. In normal braking, the brakes work well but came up short in our test vehicle in emergency stops.

Our inspection at a CAA-Quebec technical inspection centre showed that the Mitsubishi RVR rests on a sturdy platform that is well protected against corrosion. The side-by-side positioning of the wiper washer fluid and coolant tanks in the engine compartment could be confusing. The fuel vapour recuperator and fuel tank filler pipe are very exposed to damage. There are three tie-down hooks in front and one in the back that can be used to secure a canoe, for example, on the roof. Mitsubishi forbids towing with this vehicle. The engine’s overhead camshafts are chain driven.

By shrinking the Outlander to create the 2011 Mitsubishi RVR, Mitsubishi has created a small yet versatile and comfortable vehicle that’s agile and handles well. The RVR will attract people for whom engine power is not a top priority. Towing is banned because of its modest engine power. But when it comes to road comportment, the RVR comes out a winner.

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