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Canada: RVR leans toward small and nimble

If you haven’t already noticed, it’s out with the old and in with the new for Mitsubishi’s North American line-up, and while Canadians are saying their good-byes to Endeavor, Galant, and Eclipse (or at least, the few consumers who bought them are) they’re saying hello to the i-MiEV electric car and this week’s test vehicle, the RVR crossover.

It’s clear Mitsubishi is aiming for a line-up of compact, fuel efficient vehicles, and the RVR fits that description to a “T”. It’s so pint-sized that it practically straddles the line between “crossover” and “hatchback;” few competitors can boast overall body length, height or width as small as the RVR.

Despite this, the RVR actually never feels particularly undersized, though you have to be aware of what the vehicle offers going in and keep your expectations somewhat in check. Just as you wouldn’t open a Danielle Steel novel expecting a Pulitzer Prize-worthy story, don’t open the doors of the RVR expecting room for seven passengers along with a week’s worth of groceries, hockey equipment, and a couple golf bags.

What the RVR does offer is plenty of room for four adults, or five if you’re limited to a short jaunt, such as … I don’t know … a trip to the nearby hospital with four women who are in labour (and for goodness sakes, if one of them is having twins, don’t put them in second row middle seat!).

The cargo area is still generous, and looks able to hold a week’s worth of groceries or a hockey bag. If you opt for the GT trim of our test vehicle, you can also carry a pair of skis thanks to a rear seat centre pass-through.

Regardless if it’s loaded up or not, the RVR leaves much to be desired in terms of performance. Every model comes with a small naturally-aspirated 2.0-litre engine, mated to either a five-speed manual or continuously variable transmission.

The top-of-the-line GT model comes only with the CVT that doesn’t do anything to help with the vehicle’s lazy acceleration. The RVR’s power output is lacking to say the least, and this pint-sized vehicle feels sluggish, at best, when it comes time to open up the throttle. The GT, with its four-wheel drive and CVT, adds an extra 165 pounds to the base ES two-wheel drive trim, which certainly doesn’t help things in terms of performance.
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