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2003 Toyota 4Runner by John Pearley Huffman (9/23/2002)
subscribeRemember when SUVs where merely
conservative, unadorned boxes? When their styling basically consisted of the
nose from some pickup truck with a sheetmetal brick behind it? Yeah, those were
the days… the grand, glorious, giddy mid- to late-Nineties and early 2Ks. Oh how
we miss them so.
Now it seems every maker is conjuring up some sort of wild-looking SUV. Nissan has gone globular with its Murano and Infiniti FX45, Toyota’s 2003 4Runner front end looks like a Cylon helmet from Battlestar Galactica, the Volvo XC90 features an oversize caricature of traditional Volvo styling, and the Chrysler Pacifica is too… too… something. But it’s Mitsubishi’s new 2004 Endeavor that’s the most aggressively bizarre looking of the bunch.
Follow us, if you will and can, down and around this form. The Endeavor’s nose looks so much like a rhinoceros’s nose that you half-expect it to snort and charge. The headlights are big enough to throw off lumens the size of hams, the fenders carry more sculpture than the Uffizi, and the side mirrors look like shovels ripped out of a kid robot’s sandbox. It’s a design riot, but the Endeavor isn’t ugly -- it’s just busy. Busy like a honeybee that’s extracted all the pollen from a Ritalin.Convention rules
Despite the sheetmetal and plastic antics that define the Endeavor’s outward appearance, mechanically it’s a thoroughly conventional crossover SUV. Its 108.7-inch wheelbase and 190.2-inch overall length means it’s about two inches bigger in both than a Honda Pilot. The 3.8-liter SOHC V-6 sits sideways in the engine bay, sending its power to a four-speed automatic transaxle to power either the front wheels alone or, through a full-time transfer case, all four wheels. The suspension is struts up front and a multi-link system in the rear. All this is familiar stuff: the basic building blocks of a bunch of other crossover SUVs.
2004 Mitsubishi EndeavorEnlarge Photo