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2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor
Lofty Goals for New Crossover

Ann Job

2004 Mitsubishi EndeavorYou’d think with a name like Endeavor, Mitsubishi’s newest crossover vehicle would include a picture, or something, about outer space.

Endeavor, after all, 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, mid-size 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.

In showrooms as of March 2003, the 2004 Endeavor slots between Mitsubishi’s two traditional SUVs -- the Montero Sport, which has a starting price of more than $23,000, including destination charge, and the Montero, which is priced above $33,000.

Endeavor, meantime, has a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including estimated destination charge, of $26,182 for a base LS model with 215-horsepower V6 and two-wheel drive.

2004 Mitsubishi EndeavorBut just because the Endeavor looks like an SUV -- with upscale, Jeep Grand Cherokee-like outer styling and sizable, 17-inch tires and wheels -- doesn’t mean it is one.

Endeavor is the newest of a growing number of so-called crossovers -- built on a new, car-based chassis from Mitsubishi.

Unlike the Montero and Montero Sport SUVs, the Endeavor is offered with all-wheel drive, not four-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is the typical four-wheel power system provided for cars.

Here, a driver doesn’t have to activate the 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.

Being all-new, the Endeavor doesn’t come with a reliability record. And it’s not bargain-basement priced.

But there’s a nice compliment of standard features including remote keyless entry, roof rails, privacy glass, minimum 140-watt audio system with CD player and a V6.

Some drivers might quibble that the 215 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 220 horses, while the Honda Pilot has 240.

But the Endeavor’s torque -- a maximum 250 foot-pounds at 3,750 rpm -- is what gives this crossover good get up and go. Peak torque in the V6 Highlander is 222, while the Pilot’s is 242.

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 Highlander and Pilot don’t have this feature.

Easy entry and exit makes the car platform-based Endeavor comfortable to get into.

At 5 feet 4, I opened the driver door and found the seat already positioned about butt level. So I just turned and sort of set myself on the seat.

I just wish Endeavor’s seats had a bit more support for long-distance drives. I found after five hours that the lower part of my spine was fatigued.

The tester was the top-of-the-line Endeavor Limited model with nicely gathered, black leather on the seats.

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

2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor interiorWhile 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, because it seemed perfect for an on-board navigation system, but none is 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.

The ride, overall, is pleasant with a bit of road noise as tires roll over highway expansion cracks, for example.

Road bumps are felt only mildly in the Endeavor.

And 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.

Click here for more info on the Mitsubishi Endeavor.
For the Mitsubishi 2004 Model Guide: Click Here