Shortly after introducing its compact Outlander sport utility vehicle, Mitsubishi added a larger "crossover" SUV. Similar in size to the automaker's seven-passenger Montero, the midsize Endeavor is intended primarily for on-road motoring. A dual-range transfer case is not included, so offroad capabilities are limited.
A mid-2004 update gave the Endeavor an additional 10 horsepower and more standard features, including a tire-pressure monitor and daytime running lights. For 2005, all models get seat-mounted side-impact airbags and the XLS edition adds an anti-theft system.
Three trim levels are available: the LS, midrange XLS and top-of-the-line Limited. Each is offered with either front- or all-wheel drive.
Mitsubishi describes the exterior as "sophisticated, intimidating, yet handsome." A particularly bold front end features a louvered grille that leads to accent lines along the hood. Large wheel openings and creased wheel arches are present. Cast-aluminum wheels hold 17-inch tires.
The Endeavor rides a 108.3-inch wheelbase and has 8.3 inches of ground clearance. The bumper garnish is black on the LS, chrome-plated on the XLS and body-colored on the Limited, which also features fog lamps. The Endeavor has a fully independent suspension and all-disc brakes. A power sunroof is standard on the Limited.
Five occupants fit inside the Endeavor. Rear passengers get a 60/40-split, folding backseat. Cargo capacity behind the rear seat is 40.7 cubic feet, which grows to 76.4 cubic feet when the seat is folded down. The back window opens independently of the liftgate.
At night, the center controls emit blue backlighting. The XLS is equipped with such extras as premium cloth upholstery, a power driver's seat and a 315-watt stereo with a six-CD changer. Leather seating surfaces and backseat climate controls are installed in the Limited edition.
Under the Hood
The Endeavor's 3.8-liter V-6 generates 225 hp and 255 pounds-feet of torque. The four-speed-automatic transmission incorporates a Sportronic manual-gear-change provision. Models with all-wheel drive have a viscous coupling. Towing capacity is 3,500 pounds in all-wheel-drive Endeavors equipped with the Towing Prep Package.
Antilock brakes are optional on the front-drive LS and standard on all other versions. Side-impact airbags are standard. An Active Skid and Traction Control electronic stability system is optional on the all-wheel-drive Limited.
Overall, the Endeavor is a surprisingly enjoyable vehicle of manageable size. It handles with a light touch and maneuvers with agility in corners. Ride quality beats the class norm, thanks to a somewhat cushiony suspension.
The V-6 engine delivers a satisfying burst of power when needed for passing. Mitsubishi's automatic transmission yields prompt, confident responses that are devoid of awkwardness.
Visibility is great all around. Front headroom is good, even in models equipped with a sunroof. The seats are softly cushioned, with only modest bolstering and mediocre support. Backseat space is roomy at the sides and tolerable in the center. The interior looks a little on the cheap side with a rough edge or two, but the controls are clear and the gauges are easy to read.