2007 Mitsubishi Endeavor

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2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor

This 2004 review is representative of model years 2004 to 2011.
By Dan Jedlicka of MSN Autos
Rating: 8

Bottom Line:

One of the best-designed new car-like sport-utility vehicles.
Pros:
  • Car-like
  • Roomy
  • Fast
Cons:
  • Mediocre fuel economy
  • Occasionally noisy engine
  • Narrow rear doorways

The new Mitsubishi Endeavor midsize sport-utility vehicle is above-average, although many might not expect that to be the case because it lacks an illustrious nameplate such as Toyota or Honda.

On the other hand, Mitsubishi does attract an unusually large number of young buyers with its sporty image, and the Endeavor thus might do fine.

Bold Styling
One thing setting off the Endeavor is bold styling reminiscent of that seen on Mitsubishi's 1999 SSU concept vehicle displayed at auto shows. The Endeavor doesn't look like your dad's SUV, and has a "cool" interior with sculpted forms, metallic-finish surfaces and ice-blue lighting.

This early 2004 model was designed with the U.S. market in mind. It was styled in California, had engineering work done in Michigan and is built at the automaker's Illinois plant. It's part of Mitsubishi's "Project America," which is this automaker's plan to develop and make core products in this country.

The 4-door Endeavor fits in the Mitsubishi sport-ute line between the new compact Outlander and fairly big—but not outrageously large—Montero Sport and Montero.

Roomy Interior
Many sport utes claim to seat five adults, but most only can comfortably handle four. The Endeavor comfortably accommodates five tall adults. There's no third-row seat, although the Montero offers that feature. It was decided to give tall second-row occupants plenty of legroom instead of jamming in a tight third seat. However, rear door openings are rather narrow.

Endeavor is the first Mitsubishi to be put on a new platform—also to be used by the upcoming Galant sedan and sporty Eclipse cars. Like most car-based sport utes, Endeavor is offered with either front- or all-wheel drive.

Car-like Ride and Handling
That platform should be good news for the increasing number of folks who want a midsize sport ute with more car-like ride and handling than provided by truck-based sport utes.

For instance, while the Montero rides like a truck when roads get a little rough, the Endeavor rides much like a car with its supple all-independent suspension. However, occupants still can feel some road imperfections such as prominent tar strips.

For On-Road Use
With no-range gearing, the Endeavor mostly is designed for on-road use. It exhibits torque steer (pulls a bit to one side) during acceleration with front-wheel drive, especially on wet pavement, but has no such fault with the all-wheel-drive setup.

The Endeavor starts at $25,597 and ends at approximately $32,000. There are base LS, mid-range XLS and top-line Limited (LTD) trim levels.

Potent Engine
All have a potent 3.8-liter 215-horsepower V6 similar to the one in the Montero. The 24-valve overhead camshaft engine provides strong acceleration, but is rather noisy during full-throttle acceleration and calls for premium gasoline.

The Endeavor weighs about 4,000 pounds, so it's no fuel miser. Estimated economy is 17 mpg in the city and 23 on the highway with front-wheel drive and 17 and 21 with all-wheel drive. Premium fuel is recommended.

But the V6 loafs at 2600 rpm at 75 mph, and a 21.4-gallon fuel tank allows a decent cruising range on open roads.

The engine is hooked to a responsive 4-speed automatic transmission with an easily used manual shift feature.

Impressive Handling
Steering is quick and handling is impressive for this SUV—thanks to that supple suspension, rigid chassis, large 17-inch wheels and a wide track stance. Open the hood and you'll see a plastic engine intake manifold, which reduces the V6's center of gravity.

The brake pedal has a nice linear action, and stopping distances with the all-disc-brake setup are short. Anti-lock brakes are standard on the LS and XLS all-wheel-drive versions and also on the Limited.

An anti-skid and traction-control system is optional for the Limited, and front-seat side torso airbags are optional for the XLS and standard on the Limited.

Nicely Equipped
The front-wheel-drive LS even has a good amount of equipment, including air conditioning, an AM/FM/CD, remote keyless entry—and power windows, door locks and mirrors.

There also is a split-folding rear seat that flips forward to enlarge the cargo area, which is even impressive with that seat in its normal position.

The XLS has such items as a better sound system, and the Limited's standard equipment includes leather upholstery.

The outside door handles are easily gripped for quick entry. Once inside, occupants will find seats that are supportive, but rather firm.

Oversize Controls
The white-on-black instrumentation is easily read, and the stylish, oversize sound and climate controls are a welcome relief from tiny controls found in many sport utilities—and cars. However, audio system settings often are difficult to see because they're on a small center LCD dashboard screen.

Cupholders are conveniently placed at the front of the console, which has two power outlets on the front of it and one on the back. Front doors have storage pockets, and the glove box and console bin are deep.

The Endeavor is both practical and fun to drive. It's the best sport ute that Mitsubishi has come up with, and is competitive with rivals that carry those illustrious nameplates.

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BB03 - 8/30/2014 5:13:47 AM