2012 Mitsubishi RVR GT 4WD Review
Highs and lows
- Well equipped
- Lot of style
- Good fuel economy
- High centre of gravity
- Boring acceleration
A tiny shark that won’t scare the road
The Japanese manufacturer offers a small crossover: the 2012 Mitsubishi RVR. Comfortable, good looking, fuel-efficient for its size, you get lots for the price, as long as you're not a speed freak.
You immediately spot the resemblance. The RVR looks just like the Outlander. Same applies for the whole Mitsubishi family, and that has been the case for a few years now. Introduced as a 2011 model year, nothing has changed for 2012. Still, the RVR's lines are elegant, it has an aggressive fascia and a nice overall look properly finished off by some great 18-inch alloy wheels on the GT.
The interior is roomy, comfortable, and even offers some reclining seatbacks to the rear passengers. The RVR GT 4RM includes, among others, a sliding armrest, front heated seats, automatic climate control, cruise control, steering-wheel controls, a sleek dash and a killer stereo. The optional Premium package adds a navigation system, rearview camera, leather seating and a power driver seat.
I liked the panoramic see-through roof. I'm a fan of natural lighting. Having twice as much light pierce through, even if the roof doesn't slide open, is a real plus. It makes you want to go out in the country side to gaze at the stars, protected from the mosquitoes.
Our shark is not the fastest of the bunch. The 2.0L, 4-cylinder engine under the hood pushes out 148 horsepower and 145 lbs-ft of torque. Compared to a Hyundai Tucson, which has equal weight and displacement, the RVR produces 20 fewer horsepower. Across the market, the RVR is actually one of the least powerful crossover vehicles.
However, when we speak fuel-efficiency, it all starts making sense. I managed 9.8L/100km, which is far better than the Nissan Rogue and its 12L/100km in city driving.
The continuously variable transmission (CVT) is fitted to both all-wheel drive trims - SE 4RM and GT 4RM. Picked by Mitsubishi for fuel economy concerns, it's a little slow on overtakes. That's the way CVT transmissions perform; they are not as quick to respond as conventional automatic transmissions.
Agile like a shark in the water
The steering is exquisite. There are no hesitations, no misunderstandings; it just goes where you want it to go.
The shared Mitsubishi Lancer platform has been raised somewhat for the RVR which has affected cornering somewhat. Emptied and in front-wheel drive mode (2RM), I felt the rear wanting to dance in the tight turns; the effect was sufficient enough to scare my passenger on bumpy and uneven roads. Still, the RVR holds on good.
In terms of suspension, I would have appreciated a little more firmness. The current settings actually make for a very comfortable and smooth ride, but crossing the aforementioned rough roads and especially given the high centre of gravity, I felt like I was riding in a boat rather than in a car.
A multitude of fishes
I invite you to take a look at the Tucson, very similar in terms of price and option. Its automatic gearbox will save you from the anemic CVT of the RVR. Expect to pay a little more at the pump however.
Then there is also the Jeep Compass. You get comparable equipment, a CVT gearbox, and all-wheel drive, all for less than $32,000, whereas the Mitsubishi RVR GT, with option package, goes up to $32,498.