The stakes are high in the tiny crossover utility vehicle segment. Over the past two years, many automakers have dog-piled onto the bandwagon including Honda, Mazda, and Fiat, with Toyota soon to join the fray. Only a handful of brands have held out - namely Ford and VW.
Mitsubishi's offering, the RVR, is one of the segment's older models. Originally launched back in 2011, it was one of the first to hit the market just after the Mini Countryman and Nissan Juke. The RVR quickly won fans for its Lancer-inspired styling, although that has since been shed for a new look that launched just last year. The RVR carries over into 2017 without any major changes.
The RVR is offered with a choice of two engines. Featured on ES and SE trims is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that produces a competitive 148 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque. As a front-wheel drive vehicle, the ES and SE are available with a five-speed manual or an optional CVT; opt for Mitsubishi's All-Wheel Control system on the SE and the CVT is the only way to go. GT trim levels receive a larger 2.4-litre engine that produces 168 hp and 167 lb-ft of torque and get AWC and a CVT as standard. The GT also adds magnesium paddles for manual shifting.
Mitsubishi's All-Wheel Control system offers drivers a choice of three different modes, a fuel-saving front-wheel drive, a locked all-wheel drive, and an automatic mode which distributes torque as needed. Although not an off-road vehicle, the RVR's 8.5 inches of ground clearance is greater than the Jeep Renegade and just trails the 8.7 inches offered by Subaru's Crosstrek.
In addition to its responsive steering and cushy ride, the RVR offers a good deal of standard equipment. For a base price of less than $20,000, air conditioning, cruise control, power windows, soft-touch dash panel, heated power mirrors, remote keyless entry, and heated seats are included. A step up, the SE adds fog lights, alloy wheels, leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear-shift lever, Bluetooth, and a display audio system with USB port and reverse camera. It's a moderate step up at $22,898, but if tech features are a must, it's the one to get. Adding the AWC all-wheel drive system adds $2,300 to the bottom line of the SE.
At the top of the heap is the $29,898 GT which receives the more powerful engine, HID headlamps, 18-inch alloy wheels, and proximity key with push-button start. The GT trim is the only one available with option packages; the Premium Package adds leather upholstery, a rear cargo cover, a power driver's seat and a 710-watt Rockford Fosgate audio system with nine speakers for $1,500. At $2,000 navigation is also offered, but it's pricey.
Buyers wanting a more premium experience but don't need the added power can opt for the SE Limited Edition, which includes the above equipment sans the upgraded powertrain and option packages for $27,698.