A mid-size crossover SUV produced by Mitsubishi Motors, the Endeavor was manufactured in their Normal, Illinois plant. The Endeavor was based on the PS platform and was the original vehicle built under Mitsubishi's 'Project America' which was a program that was aimed at introducing vehicles for North America ‘without having to compromise to accommodate other export markets'.
The design style behind the Endeavor can be searched back to the Mitsubishi SSU which was introduced at the 1999 North American International Auto Show. The Endeavor didn't share the SSU's mechanical underpinnings though. The prototype had been powered by a 305 hp version of the 6A13TT 2.5 liter twin-turbo V6 which sent the power to a full-time all wheel drive system through its INVECS-II five-speed semi-automatic transmission and AYC. The Endeavor was introduced with a 6G75 3.8 liter V6 offered 215 hp and 250 lb/ft joined to a four-speed semi-automatic transmission with an available all-wheel drive system that splits the torque 50/50 by default.
The Endeavor was introduced in 2004 and shortly after its debut the Endeavor was updated as a 2004.5 model. Halfway through the year, the vehicle received dual-stage front airbags, daytime running lamps, a tire pressure monitoring system and 10 more hp. LS two-wheel-drive models received an available anti-lock braking system. The Endeavor XLS was upgraded to receive standard front-seat side airbags and a leather steering wheel. The AWD Limited received new options that included a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and stability control.
The Endeavor featured smart snazzy style with plenty of room for five passengers and their luggage. For the 2005 model year, the Endeavor received side airbags as a standard feature, and antilock brakes as an option on base models until 2006.
For 2006 the Endeavor received a slight restyle. The seating position was elevated much like other crossovers and featured hauling ability of a traditional SUV with a smooth, carlike ride and better fuel economy. The Endeavor did lack the serious off-road and heavy-duty towing abilities of a truck-based SUV. In 2006 the XLS was dropped and the following year the Limited trim was replaced by as SE trim. For the 2007 model new available features included a navigation system and a Rockford Fosgate stereo, and the rear DVD entertainment option was deleted. Also this year, side curtain airbags were added as a standard feature, and traction control became a standard all the way across the lineup for 2008.
The two trim levels offered in the Endeavor lineup were the LS and the SE, and both trims were powered by a 3.8-liter V6 engine that produced 225 horsepower and 225 pound-feet of torque. A standard option was a four-speed automatic transmission with a fancy manual shift mode. The vehicle was available with all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive models came with standard stability control which supplements the traction control, an option that is standard on all Endeavors. On front-wheel-drive models, stability control was not available. The Endeavor does come equipped with standard rollover-sensing side curtain airbags and a tire pressure monitoring system. The Endeavor did win points for crashworthiness in both government and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing.
The LS featured air-conditioning, a CD player, and full power accessories. Additional features that could be purchased as extras included leather, a navigation system, heated seats or a sunroof, high-end audio with satellite radio were available on the SE trim in a variety of available option packages. Unavailable options included keyless start, a rear entertainment system, a back-up camera, a panoramic sunroof.
The Endeavor earned a surprise award in an Edmunds comparison test when it first debuted. It won with a variety of good looks, smart handling and excellent off-road performance and torque-filled engine performance. The only complaints were minor styling elements and the choice of materials in the cabin.
Further updates and improvements were made by Mitsubishi over the years. The Endeavor didn't receive a third-row seat, a feature that really has become a ‘must-have' for this type of vehicle and it came with a disappointing 76.4 cubic feet. . It is also considered to be a bit ‘outclassed' in the area of engine power, transmission gearing and feature availability.
Unfortunately the Mitsubishi Endeavor failed to meet the high expectations set forward by Mitsubishi, despite favorable reviews on its release, only 32,054 units were sold by the end of its debut year, instead of the hoped for 80,000 units. Sales have continued to fall every year since. The Endeavor continues to receive good reviews for its strong engine, responsible handling and distinctive design.By Jessica Donaldson