2011 Mitsubishi Endeavor


2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor

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

Bottom Line:

Mitsubishi is on a crossover kick. Just months after adding its first crossover, the 2003 Outlander, the automaker adds a second crossover, the 2004 Endeavor. This midsize, five-passenger model has Jeep Grand Cherokee looks outside, a healthy compliment of features and standard V6.
  • Upscale outer styling
  • Commendable standard features
  • Nice ride
  • No reliability history
  • Could use better seats
  • Not exactly bargain priced

You'd think with a name like Endeavor, Mitsubishi's newest crossover vehicle would include a picture, or something, about outer space. After all, Endeavor is the name of the U.S. space shuttle that launched in 1992. It's also the name of the sailing ship used in 1768 by explorer and astronomer James Cook to chart the movement of the planet Venus.

But even without a tangible link to the heavens, the five-passenger, midsize Endeavor comes with lofty goals. With projected sales of 80,000 in its first full year, the Endeavor in the United States is expected to outsell virtually every current Mitsubishi vehicle.

New model, based on car chassis
In showrooms as of March 2003, the 2004 Endeavor slots between Mitsubishi's two traditional SUVs—the Montero Sport and the Montero—in terms of price. The Endeavor's starting manufacturer's suggested retail price is just over $25,500 for a base LS model with two-wheel drive and 225-horsepower V6.

But in size, the Endeavor is the same overall length—190.2 inches—as the flagship Montero, though the Endeavor isn't quite as wide or tall as the Montero. In addition, where the Montero has three rows of seats inside, the Endeavor has two rows.

The Endeavor certainly looks like an SUV—with upscale, Jeep Grand Cherokee-like outer styling and sizable 17-inch tires and wheels. But this new model is one of a growing number of so-called crossover SUVs that combine car and SUV attributes.

Thus, the Endeavor is built on a new car-based chassis from Mitsubishi. Among other things, this helps make entry and exit easier. In fact, at 5 feet 4, I found the front seats pretty much at butt level for me, so I didn't do much more than turn and set myself on the seat. There was no hefty climb up to get inside. Just be sure to lift your feet and maneuver over the noticeable ledge area at the doorway.

Offered with all-wheel drive
The Endeavor is differentiated from the Monteros by its all-wheel-drive system. Four-wheel drive is available in the Montero Sport and Montero. All-wheel drive is the typical four-wheel power system provided for cars and doesn't include extra-low gearing for rugged off-road terrain.

Here in the Endeavor, a driver doesn't have to activate the all-wheel-drive system. Power is split 50-50 between the Endeavor's front and rear wheels in normal driving. When added traction is needed, the viscous coupling of the center differential helps direct power automatically to the tires with grip.

Prices start in mid-$20,000s
With a starting price of more than $25,000, the Endeavor obviously isn't bargain-basement priced.

But there's a nice complement of standard features including remote keyless entry, roof rails, privacy glass, minimum 140-watt audio system with CD player and the V6, even on the base LS model. There's a midrange XLS trim level, too, and the top-of-the-line Limited adds standard leather seat surfaces.

Note that sunroof and full-size spare tire are options, even on the Limited.

Montero's V6 used here
Some drivers might quibble that the 225 horses from the Endeavor's 3.8-liter single overhead cam engine fall a bit short of those in the prime competitors. The Toyota Highlander's V6 has 230 horses, while the Honda Pilot has 240.

But the Endeavor's torque—a maximum 250 lb-ft at 3750 rpm—is what gives this crossover good get up and go. The test vehicle moved quickly into the traffic flow, no matter if I was merging onto the freeway or turning onto a city street. There was strong pulling power on hilly roads, too.

Note the peak torque in the Highlander with V6 is 242, the same as the Pilot. I liked that the Endeavor would begin to slow as soon as I lifted off the accelerator. There was no unnerving coasting. Also the Endeavor's V6 is the same engine that's in the Montero.

I also appreciated that the Endeavor's four-speed automatic transmission has Sportronic, so drivers can manually shift up and down in the forward gears themselves for sporty performance. The 2003 Highlander and 2003 Pilot don't have this feature.

Seats could be improved
The test vehicle was the top-of-the-line Endeavor Limited model with nicely gathered black leather on the seats. I just wish Endeavor's seats had more support for long-distance drives. I found after five hours that the lower part of my spine was fatigued.

The Endeavor's interior is dominated by a cheap-looking, silver-colored, large plastic piece in the center of the dashboard. It's where the audio and ventilation controls are congregated and evidently is designed to appeal to youthful drivers who want some flair.

While I appreciated that the buttons and knobs here were easy to use, I thought this large silver piece looked almost bolted on, not cleanly integrated. The large display screen atop this area puzzled me; it seemed perfect for an onboard navigation system, but it is not offered. So riders can set the screen to display a sizable compass or sizable ventilation setup or just the time.

Be sure, though, to see the blue sketch of the Endeavor that appears on this screen each time the vehicle is started. It's cool looking.

Not quite as much cargo space
Rear seats split and fold for additional cargo room. But the Endeavor's maximum cargo room of 76.4 cubic feet isn't quite as much as the 81.4 cubic feet in the Highlander and the 90.3 cubic feet in the Pilot.

It's also less than the 79.3 cubic feet of cargo room available in the Montero Sport and the more than 90 cubic feet available in the Montero. Note that someone more than 6 feet tall might brush his or her head on the underside of the Endeavor's rear liftgate. And, because the Endeavor is a new vehicle, there's no reliability record.

Pleasant ride
Still, the ride in the Endeavor, overall, is pleasant with a bit of road noise as tires roll over highway expansion cracks, for example. Road bumps are felt mildly. The Endeavor has four-wheel independent suspension, with MacPherson struts up front and low-mounted, multi-link configuration with trailing arms in back.

Thanks to large-sized windows and noteworthy back-seat legroom of 38.5 inches, there's a spacious feeling for just about any kind of passenger, even astronauts and astronomers.


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BB05 - 9/23/2014 1:34:40 PM