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Mitsubishi RVR review

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    The sharp value-for-money Mitsubishi RVR should be down under by the middle of the year. Photo Gallery

Peter Lyon road tests and reviews the Mitsubishi RVR in Japan.

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  • styling
  • sharp driving
  • refinement
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  • no price yet
  • CVT gearbox
  • need to push revs

Nothing is more important to Mitsubishi, right now, than its all-new RVR. It's the most important new arrival since the latest Lancer, which has now been in showrooms for around five years. The RVR - or ASX, for Active Sports Crossover, also being considered for Australia - should be down under by the middle of the year with the sharp looks to take it head-to-head against the Subaru Forester, Volkswagen Tiguan and value-for-money Nissan Dualis.

Pricing is still to be announced, but a Mitsubishi sources suggests the RVR will undercut all rivals from around $25,000 with an almost identical driving experience and class-leading ride comfort levels. Mitsubishi has done the homework and it shows.

Body and styling

The new Mitsubishi was born as a concept car called the cX in 2007 and now emerges as a development from the Outlander, which is also the basis for the classy Lancer Evolution X. The RVR is 345 millimetres shorter than the Outlander and 200kg lighter, but looks strangely familiar because it shares the latest 'brand face' for Mitsubishi. But there is more to the newcomer than just a good look.

“We are confident that the RVR is the right car for the right time,” says project manager Hiroshi Fujii, who was also the chief engineer of the last two Lancer Evolutions. “This car perfectly blends the high level chassis stability of the Evo with the utility and comfort of the Outlander, but packaged into a more compact size."

Fit-out and equipment

Inside, Mitsubishi has lifted trim levels with high-quality plastics, and added a powered leather seat option, a Rockford Fosgate audio system and a large panorama glass roof. But whether that will meet international roll-over crash standards is still being determined. There is tilt-and-telescope steering adjustment, while the seats are firm and comfortable, rear seat headroom caters to those under 180cm tall. It gets no less than seven cupholders, five for front-seat occupants.

Engineers are especially proud of the RVR’s newly fitted ‘super-wide’ HID headlight coverage which doubles the area of road lit on both sides by the lights. All models are fitted with stability control, anti-skid brakes, hill- start assist and a brake energy regenerative system. This channels the energy generated during deceleration and braking to the battery for use by the idle-stop system.


The new Mitsubishi crossover incorporates a three-mode, electronically-controlled four-wheel drive system inherited from the Outlander. It allows drivers the choice of front, all and locked driving modes. Internal safety tests point to a five-star NCAP result with seven airbags, including one for the driver's knees, as standard.

Australian cars will be powered by a 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder MIVEC petrol engine and have either five-speed manual or CVT gearboxes. But no power or emissions figures are available yet. Still, based on European engine numbers the emissions numbers for CO2 should be in the 139-145 grams/kilometre range. Expect power and torque figures to be revealed closer to the mid-year launch, although I am told that all engines clear Euro 4 and Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions regulations and will be sold with both two and four-wheel drive.


Based on a Mitsubishi engineer’s comments, the Aussie-spec version with the 2.0 litre and five-speed manual combination will be the one to go for, and will deliver more driving enjoyment than the model I drive in Japan. The new RVR employs the current Outlander’s platform and the Lancer’s five-speed gearbox, modified to fit the new diesel and a sharp, aggressive road presence. My test car is a four-wheel-drive, Japan-specification model powered by a MIVEC 1.8-litre petrol engine with CVT generating 102 kW/172Nm.

Reaching 100 km/h from rest in around nine seconds, the five-seater RVR is no bullet, but it does its job efficiently thanks to a CVT with paddle-shift fitted 6-speed sports mode that is relatively high geared and reads 2100 revs in sixth at 100 km/h. When I floor the throttle the RVR has enough punch to satisfy highway drivers. CVT drivers wanting quicker acceleration will use the paddles. Yet to have the car move along at the desired rate of knots, especially coming out of tight corners, it is necessary to keep the RVR spinning at over 3500 revs - although this will not be the case with the five-speed manual in Australia.

Target buyers prefer comfort over performance so the Mitsubishi crossover uses clever noise-and-vibration isolation and ride quality that’s more comfortable than the Forester or Dualis. It turns on cue with good weight and steering feel and suffers from less understeer and body roll than the Outlander due to its lighter 1420kgs and revised front McPherson strut and rear multi-link setup.

The RVR pulls up adequately thanks to its front vented disc brakes with less than expected nose dive. It feels as solid, substantial and stable on the road as any rival in showrooms today, but I expect nothing less from this chassis that’s good enough for the wicked quick Evo.

Mitsubishi RVR

Price: not set, likely from $25,000
On sale: soon
Engine: 2-litre, four-cylinder
Output: 102kw/173Nm
Gearbox: CVT with six-speed sports model, all-wheel drive
Economy: Approx 8L/100km (Japan)
Emissions: CO2 168g/km (Japan)

Comments on this story

Displaying 3 of 18 comments

  • i just got RVR- GT spo far it so good BUT its seems to be not that good car in gas im using hight way all the time its should be 8lr /100 km but the its unless than 17 lr / 100 km ...... thats not good ive been told that coz its new car and ill see the right amount after 2000 km ??????????????? i cant get that and i belive its not that perfect car with gas special after i called my dealer and he said it might be coz cold ????????????????????
    ill keep my eay on
    but till noww im not recomend this car if u want saving gas

    mostafa of Canada Posted on 28 December 2010 8:45am
  • I’ve been driving mine for just over 2 weeks and I love it.  For the price i paid, it comes with lots of toys inside, voice command, bluetooth, sHID, fog lamp, heated sit, climate control, panoramic roof, etc.  very good in gas and it’s fast and quite in the highway.  Sweet ride, no regret.

    Nelson tan of Winnipeg, Canada Posted on 04 November 2010 7:57am
  • I love Mitsubishi, they’re reliable car, not bad for maintenance, cheaper and great car.  I’m picking up mine this saturday RVR GT.  I test drive it and i love it.  My previous car was 08 Outlander ls.  RVR is awesome for what i need smile

    Nelson tan of Winnipeg, Canada Posted on 15 October 2010 3:09am
  • Why does the 2.4 Mitsubishi eng. and trans. used in the Chrysler range, use a lot less fuel than Mitsubishi’s Japanese vehicles

    george hill of halls head W.A.6210 Posted on 28 June 2010 6:38pm
  • Whaaat???!!! Evo + Outlander???
    That’s a lot of fun…can’t wait too….

    Gary Moralde of Burnside Heights, VIC3023 Posted on 08 June 2010 12:52pm
  • Will it come out with auto transmission in the diesel? If Mazda had auto in their diesels we would probably look at buying one. So far we are narrowing our search down for a new small SUV - possibly ix35, 2011 Sportage and RVR. The ix35 and 2011 Sportage both offer diesel auto, so hopefully the RVR will also, in not we will buy either ix35 or 2011 Sportage. Mitsubishi, don’t make a major clanger like Mazda by not offering auto with diesel engines. Anyone have any ideas of any other small suv diesel coming on the Australian market soon?

    Linda W of Bedfordale WA Posted on 07 May 2010 12:24pm
  • Check the weights of all the current ‘compact’ SUVs.  The Tiguan is around 1600kg and the new Rav nudges 1700kg.  Of course the RVR is light at 1420kg, a little over 100kgs heavier than the original Rav.  Is no one concerned about the fuel usage of heavier SUVs.?

    Rob of Elimbah Posted on 21 March 2010 3:10pm
  • if it has a diesel option i may consider it but with that kerb weight and a 2 litre petrol motor it wouldnt pull the skin off a bowl of rice custard. If hyundai nissan and VW can find a diesel motor for their small offroaders why cant the majority of japanese manufacturers?

    mark m of nsw central coast Posted on 19 March 2010 3:52pm
  • At 1420 kgs, its considerably heavier than the mark 1 Rav at 1295kg (also 2lt engine), and Mark 2 Rav 4 at 1345kg and 2.4lt engine.  Baby SUV ????  Big baby.

    Rusty of Caboolture Posted on 19 March 2010 11:30am
  • half the power of a ‘94 rvr, comfort over speed??? buy an outlander. Twice the 0-100 time of ‘94 hypergear, tell me they will be putting an evoX donk in at least a jap model we can raws or are we to take a big step back???

    redman of Cowra Posted on 19 March 2010 10:29am
  • Fantastic new model with great looks, much better than Nissan’s fugly Dualis and I cant see any Tiguan in the Mitsubisshi design at all. Cant wait for the Aussie spec vehicle and apparently there’s a diesel coming too. Great job Mitsubishi!

    Steven A of Sydney Posted on 17 March 2010 8:21pm
  • I agree AA - another plus over at VW is the Tiguan comes in a TDi!

    BB of QLD Posted on 16 March 2010 9:22pm
  • Were’s the diesel ???

    brian john cook of devonport tas Posted on 16 March 2010 4:49pm
  • Jack, are you serious? The mitsubishi looks nothing like a Tiguan!
    Tiguan has curves, Mitsubishi has sharp lines

    chris Posted on 16 March 2010 4:06pm
  • still would rather a Tiguan - its got the best “cross over” off road ability around!

    AA of SA Posted on 16 March 2010 3:30pm
  • Appears Mitsubishi are incompetent of designing anything themselves ? talk about a VW Tiguan clone!

    Jack Peitek of Melbourne Posted on 16 March 2010 2:13pm
  • The summary at the end of the article is a bit misleading, 102kw/173Nm is the power produced by the Jap spec 1.8L MIVEC engine. The Aus car will be delivered with the 2L MIVEC, so power and performance should be up.

    Chris of Adelaide Posted on 16 March 2010 11:29am

    Steven A Posted on 12 March 2010 12:18pm
Read all 18 comments

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