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Mitsubishi Endeavor

The Car Connection Mitsubishi Endeavor Overview

The Mitsubishi Endeavor is a mid-size utility vehicle that pairs rugged SUV styling with the improved comfort and interior features of a car-based crossover. It took on a wide range of models including the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Equinox, Hyundai Santa Fe, Kia Sorento, and Dodge Journey.

The Endeavor, which made its debut for 2004 and was assembled in Illinois, was originally designed and conceived to be a more family-friendly (and affordable), mass-market replacement for the truck-based Montero SUV, which had earned a strong reputation for toughness and off-road prowess. So to grab that crowd—and perhaps building on the over-the-top rugged styling themes that were rather popular at the time—Mitsubishi built a little extra boldness into the flared fenders, the macho front end, and the chiseled details.

In contrast to some of the more modern crossover models, which are often more trail-worthy than their smooth sheetmetal might suggest, the Endeavor looks more rugged than it is. Neither true off-road ability nor exceptionally strong towing ability are fully on offer. The 3.8-liter V-6 makes just 225 horsepower, but it moves the Endeavor quick from stoplights and feels even stronger than its 255 pound-feet of torque indicate—though it's more flustered with the four-speed automatic transmission for passing, and quite thirsty. Handling was decent, and far better than the macho-ute exterior and tall seating position suggested. Front- or all-wheel-drive versions were offered, with the AWD system one that continuously sends power to all four wheels—and significantly drops fuel economy numbers even lower (15/19 mpg, according to the EPA, in the later model years).

While Mitsubishi went a little 'far out' with the Endeavor's interior and instrument-panel design—we applaud the sci-fi boldness, anyhow—but it's up to snuff for practicality. Its seating is superb, with plenty of headroom and shoulder room all around. We only wished that the quality of the plastics and trims would have been better. And while the Endeavor was the exterior size of many vehicles that offered third-row seats, Mitsubishi opted not to. That said, ride quality was pretty good and the cabin was well muted from road and wind noise.

With a price of about $35k in loaded form, at that time, the Endeavor always seemed to be priced about $5k higher than it should have been. Base models were priced in the upper twenties and included standard entry mid-size sedan fare, while top-of-the-line SE models got heated front seats, leather upholstery, and Rockford Acoustics audio. Even in its later years, Bluetooth connectivity wasn't offered.

The Endeavor skipped the 2009 model year, due to slow sales, then it was back for a very short time for 2010 before Mitsubishi pulled the plug altogether.

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