Auto123 compares the 2020 Mitsubishi RVR and the 2020 Nissan Qashqai and settles on a winner.

The RVR is Mitsubishi’s best-selling vehicle in Canada with just over 7,400 units sold in 2019.  Nissan introduced the Qashqai to Canada in 2017 as its new entry-level SUV (at least until the arrival of the smaller Kicks). The two models have the odd commonality of being known by a different name in the U.S. Frightened by the odd name, Nissan’s American division badged the model Rogue Sport, while the RVR is called the Outlander Sport south of the border. Up here, the Qashqai managed to attract over 18,000 buyers in Canada, giving this new entry a clear advantage over the older RVR.

2020 Mitsubishi RVR

2020 Mitsubishi RVR, three-quarters front

Like some other manufacturers, Mitsubishi has shed its car models and is now focusing its efforts on crossover models.

And so after almost 10 years without significant changes, the RVR has undergone a modernization of its exterior design in 2020, down to an evolved front grille. You also get three new colours: Sunny Orange, Diamond Red and Oak Brown. In addition, standard LED headlights, blind spot monitoring system and rear cross traffic alert systems have been added to the SE FWD and SE AWC versions. Also now included is a new larger display screen that increases from seven to eight inches with a new interface.

Same engines
As far as the chassis, transmission and mechanics are concerned, it’s more of the same. There are a few permutations, for instance the 2.0L engine has been replaced by a 2.4L unit in the SE AWC version and the new Limited version.

You have a choice of 5 models for 2020, including the ES and SE available with FWD or all-wheel control, as well as the SEL, Limited Edition and GT versions, all AWD. The ES and SE FWD models share the same 2.0L engine that produces 148 hp and 145 lb-ft of torque, while the SE 4WD and other models use a 2.4L engine making 168 hp and 167 lb-ft of torque. A continuously variable transmission (CVT) is standard across the lineup.

2020 Mitsubishi RVR, red and orange

2020 Mitsubishi RVR, red and orange

New touchscreen
You won’t find me criticizing the fit and finish of the interior. It’s all neat and tidy, even if a little dull and slightly old-school. But not totally. A new 8.0-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well as LED headlights and daytime running lights are new to the entry-level ES version. Also standard in this basic version are 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, heated outside mirrors, LED taillights and a rear spoiler.

Inside, all RVR models feature heated front seats, 6-way manual-adjust driver’s and 4-way manual front passenger’s seats, leather-wrapped shift knob and shift lever, automatic climate control, Bluetooth, keyless entry and 4-speaker audio with satellite radio.

2020 Mitsubishi RVR, interior

2020 Mitsubishi RVR, interior

The SE version adds blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED fog lights, chrome exterior trim, rear privacy glass, chrome interior door handles and a 6-speaker audio system.

The SEL AWC features 18-inch wheels, black roof rails, leatherette upholstery, illuminated vanity mirrors and passive keyless entry.

The GT AWC adds lane departure warning, front collision warning with auto brake, black bright and satin chrome grille, automatic headlights with automatic high beam, power folding outside mirrors, panoramic sunroof, six-way power driver’s seat, heated steering wheel, leather-trimmed interior, auto-dimming rearview mirror, black headliner, 9-speaker audio with subwoofer and rain-sensitive wipers.

2020 Mitsubishi RVR, sunroof

2020 Mitsubishi RVR, sunroof

Goes from A to B
No one buys an RVR for the exhilarating drive it delivers. It’s one of a dozen current SUVs I could name off the top of my head that are as inspiring to drive as a rainy day in April. That said, the model is reliable, has an excellent warranty and shows very decent fuel economy.

For those who like technological gadgets, the Mitsubishi is below average, and you have to go to the GT and Limited option packages which deliver a few added drive-assist systems. It’s an uneventful yet uninspiring drive, the Miss Congeniality of driving experiences. But you have to hand it to the Japanese automaker: lacking big development money, Mitsubishi is making new out of old.

2020 Nissan Qashqai

2020 Nissan Qashqai, on the road

2020 Nissan Qashqai, on the road

This year marks a mid-cycle update for the popular Qashqai. Designers have reworked some parts including the headlights and grille as well as the back end. In this way, the Qashqai stands out better from the Rogue. What’s more, all models now come standard with Nissan’s Safety Shield 360 lineup, which offers active safety and driver assistance features.

Available versions
Nissan offers the Qashqai in S, SV, SL and SL Platinum versions. All use a 2.0L engine producing 141 hp. The S is the only version available with a manual transmission, and it’s only available with the FWD configuration. The CVT transmission comes as an option with the S.

The SV starts with both front-wheel drive and CVT, and can be delivered with all-wheel drive. SL and Platinum versions come standard with CVT and AWD.

2020 Nissan Qashqai, profile

2020 Nissan Qashqai, profile

Standard features
Qashqai’s new list of standard safety features includes front collision warning with pedestrian detection and auto brake, lane departure warning and prevention, high beam assist, intelligent rear emergency braking, rear parking sensors, driver attention assist, sign recognition and intelligent automatic headlamps.

The S version is equipped with 16-inch steel wheels with wheel covers, LED daytime running lights, power heated/adjustable outside mirrors, rear-door warning system, 7-inch infotainment display, Bluetooth Hands-Free SMS text messaging assistance system, air conditioning, power windows and locks with keyless entry, tilt/telescopic steering wheel and heated/manually adjustable front seats.

Also included here is a 4-speaker audio system, blind spot alert system and rear cross-traffic alert system.

2020 Nissan Qashqai, interior

2020 Nissan Qashqai, interior

The SV model upgrades to 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, passive keyless entry, remote starter, cruise control, illuminated vanity mirrors, leather-trimmed and heated steering wheel and shift lever, and a 6-speaker audio system.

The SL adds 19-inch wheels, roof rails, a power parking brake, ProPilot semi-autonomous driving, navigation, 360-degree exterior camera views, adaptive cruise control, power front seats and leather upholstery.

The Platinum switches in a 9-speaker audio system, LED headlights and auto-dimming rearview mirror and adds Nissan Connect Services.

2020 Nissan Qashqai, multimedia system

2020 Nissan Qashqai, multimedia system

Taking it slow
You won’t have any more fun driving a Qashqai than an RVR, and frankly there’s no getting around the fact that Nissan makes one of the most unpleasant CVTs in the industry. Beware of any sudden acceleration, the little engine screams in a cacophony that can be hard to bear. You have to drive like a Senator who’s never in a hurry to get to work. It’s the only way to appreciate the well-designed cabin and fairly comfortable seats, even if the suspension is a bit stiff for some people.

2020 Nissan Qashqai / 2020 Mitsubishi RVR, front

2020 Nissan Qashqai / 2020 Mitsubishi RVR, front

Advantage Mitsubishi RVR

When it comes to the warranty coverage, the RVR wins hands down. The point also goes to the RVR in terms of the AWD, the Mitsubishi version of which is more efficient, and for the product offering including the choice of two powertrains.

Advantage Nissan Qashqai

Nissan offers more technology content as standard equipment. You have to go to the GT or Limited model of the Mitsubishi to get the same level of stuff. The Qashqai also offers a little more space.

Similarities

The price range is quite similar and a well-equipped model costs about the same. In both cases, the interior seems to have been decorated by a thrift store owner.

Verdict

Even though the model is old and in many ways outdated, we are giving our vote to the Mitsubishi RVR, but not just any Mitsubishi RVR. You have to take the one with the 2.4-litre engine, which offers an appreciated boost of power. The 2.0-litre is to be avoided and the Qashqai isn’t bad, but it lacks refinement and 30 horsepower.

2020 Nissan Qashqai / 2020 Mitsubishi RVR, profile

2020 Nissan Qashqai / 2020 Mitsubishi RVR, profile

2020 Mitsubishi  RVR

We like

Excellent warranty
Proven reliability
Competitive pricing

We like less

Outdated CVT
No fun to drive
Not much technology in base model

2020 Nissan Qashqai

We like

Modern styling
Well equipped base model
Well design interior space

We like less

Outdated manual transmission
Annoying CVT
Ergonomics can be improved

2020 Nissan Qashqai / 2020 Mitsubishi RVR, front grilles

2020 Nissan Qashqai / 2020 Mitsubishi RVR, front grilles

Specifications

  2020 Mitsubishi RVR 2020 Nissan Qashqai
  Transmission CVT 6-sp manual or CVT
  Drivetrain FWD or AWD FWD or AWD
    2.0L (FWD) (FWD)
  Fuel consumption (city) 9.7L/100 km 10.1L/100 km
  Fuel consumption (highway) 7.8L/100 km 8.1L/100 km
    2.4L (AWD)  
  Fuel consumption (city) 10.3L/100 km  
  Fuel consumption (highway) 8.3L/100 km  
       
  Engine    
  Type Gas Gas
  Output 148 hp 141 hp
  Torque 145 lb-ft 147 lb-ft
  Cylinders 4 cylinders 4 cylinders
  Displacement 2.0 L 2.0 L
       
  Type Gas  
  Output 168 hp  
  Torque 167 lb-ft  
  Cylinders 4 cylinders  
  Displacement 2.4 L  
       
  Capacities    
  Cargo Space 614 L, 1,402  L (FWD) 648 L, 1,730 L
  Fuel tank 60 L 55 L
  Towing capacity 454 kg 454 kg
       
  Dimensions    
  Length 4365 mm 4323 mm
  Width 1810 mm 1802 mm
  Height 1645 mm 1542 mm
  Wheelbase 2670 mm 2646 mm
       
  Warranty 5 yrs/100,000 km 3 yrs/60,000 km
  Pricing $22,998 to $33,998 $21,498 to $31,848

 

2020 Nissan Qashqai / 2020 Mitsubishi RVR, back

2020 Nissan Qashqai / 2020 Mitsubishi RVR, back