With the popularity of sports utility vehicles ever increasing, Mitsubishi now has nearly every use for SUVs covered — off-road jaunts to around-town sportiness, family transportation to large commercial loads. The Endeavor joins Mitsubishi’s offerings in 2003 as a mid-sized V6 with a 3.8-liter engine built on the pending 2004 Galant’s chassis.With the Outlander, Mitsubishi now has two car-based SUVs and two truck-based offerings, the Montero Sport and Montero, which can seat seven passengers.
Mitsubishi’s sedan, the Galant, is the manufacturer’s best-selling model, so why shouldn’t the Endeavor rely on the same platform?
Considering its trendy television commercials (hip-looking nightlife’s frolicking to newfangled rock music) the Endeavor fits in nicely into Mitsubishi’s hopeful infiltration into a younger market. It’s trendy and edgy and aligns itself with the manufacturer’s image-conscious motto: “Wake Up And Drive.”
The test-driven Endeavor included V8215 hp engine, AWD, 17-inch alloy wheels, and nicely equipped Infinity sound system. It commanded several overt looks from passersby.
The reason for the attention was likely two-fold: Despite its debut last February, the Endeavor is designated as a 2004 and it has just begun to infiltrate the market. The Endeavor’s appealing exterior color and its sleek design also drew ample attention.
Marketed to compete against the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander, the Endeavor has front-wheel and AWD options, with ABS standard on the AWD and 2WD Limited models. While curtain-side airbags are not available, front side airbags are standard on the Limited and optional on the XLS.
The Endeavor provides a smooth and powerful ride. Despite its designation as a mid-sized SUV,]]> the control panel for the radio, CD player and other instrument controls were a slight reach, even for a 6-foot driver.
But the design of the area more the justifies its lack of close proximity. In the middle of the console, for example, is a 4×1 1/2-inch video screen. With the push of a display button, such essentials as compass direction, outside temperature, air conditioning control and stereo play selection are all readily available.
The console itself is formidable. It’s sleek and modern and blends well into the flow of speedometer and odometer panels. At night, the instruments light up in a pleasant combination of soft blue and orange, not unlike a faded neon sign at and old small-town diner.
The interior also suggests the Endeavor is larger than its midsize designation. The oversized armrest in the middle of the console, for example, has a storage compartment large enough for a small laptop computer.
It’s a treat to drive a vehicle in which space is not afterthought and yet space is not wasted. The Endeavor is like a studio apartment, big enough if well designed and decorated.
The front seats (gray leather and heated) are positioned more like cushioned perches, with passengers offered panoramic views regardless of their seat. The rear seats have a 60/40 split capacity that when engaged further open the already large cargo area.
The lift-up rear gate features an individually opened window. There are plenty of hooks, tie-downs and the additional storage space is nicely situated, even under full-sized spare compartment. Other features include a cargo cover, power sunroof and mid-cabin ventilation control.
Warranty — Bumper-to-bumper, 3 years/36,000 miles; Powertrain, (overall), five years/60,000 miles.
Safety Features — dual front and side airbags.
Fuel mileage — 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway.
Base Price Range — $25,597-$33,197.