Taking account of the rising demand for a family oriented leisure car, Mitsubishi introduced a 5-seat RV in 1991. In the export market, the RVR was marketed as Mitsubishi Space Runner and was a perfect family car of the time. It offered a spacious interior with high roof design, flat deck and a sliding rear door. It didn’t offer a driver’s side rear door. Some of the RVR models were also came with all-wheel drive options.
In general, the Mitsubishi RVR is a name used to refer to Mitsubishi’s two entirely opposite car models, i.e. a compact MPV produced from 1991 to 2002 and a compact crossover introduced and 2010 and still in production.
First Generation and Second Generation (1991-2002)
The first generation RVR was launched by Mitsubishi Motors in 1991 and remained in production till 1999. In the European market, it was marketed as Mitsubishi Space Runner, while as Mitsubishi Expo LRV in the American market. In Asia and Oceania, the official Japanese name was used to sell this car. Chrysler under a partnership with Mitsubishi also sold its own version of RVR as Dodge/Plymouth Colt Vista and Eagle Summit Wagon captive imports in North American markets.
The drivetrain used in top end models was similar to the one used in Mitsubishi Galant VR-4, i.e. a 4D63T 2.0-L 16-valve DOHC turbo straight-4 generating 170-184 kW (231-250 PS; 228-247 hp) paired with a 4-speed automatic or a 5-speed manual transmission. The RVR also featured open front and rear differentials.
In 1997, the second generation RVR was launched by Mitsubishi with almost similar specs used in the first generation model.
Third Generation (2010 -Present)
The third generation RVR is a compact crossover introduced by the Japanese automaker Mitsubishi Motors on February 17, 2010 in the Japanese domestic market. It is marketed as Mitsubishi ASX (Active Sports Crossover) in European and Australian market, while in the United States, it is known as Mitsubishi Outlander Sport. Like Japan, it retains the title Mitsubishi RVR in Canada, while it is sold with both ASX and Outlander Sport in Puerto Rico. The design of the new model is based on the Concept-cX revealed for the first time at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show and Tokyo Motor Show.
The RVR offered in Asian markets are equipped with 4B10 1.8-L gasoline engine paired with an INVECS-III CVT (continuously variable transmission). However, the RVRs sold in North American, Singaporean, Chinese, Malaysian, Philippine and Australian markets have a larger 4B11 2.0-L engine. The European ASX comes with a new 4A92 1.6-L gasoline engine. There are models offered in Europe and Australia that come with an option of 4N13 1.8-L direct-injection turbodiesel engine. The Russian and Ukrainian markets receive a wide range of petrol engines including: 1.6-L (117 hp), 1.8-L (140 hp) and 2.0-L (150 hp).
In March 2010, the ASX was revealed in the European market at the Geneva Motor Show, while Outlander Sport made its debut in North America at New York International Auto Show in 2010.