What's New for 2006
For 2006, the Mitsubishi Endeavor gets revised front and rear styling and some interior trim revisions. The XLS trim level has been dropped, while the Limited's leather seating and heated seats are now optional instead of standard. On the positive side, antilock brakes are now standard on all Endeavors and 2WD versions receive standard traction control.
In some ways, Mitsubishi has embraced its role as a niche player in the bigger automotive picture. Mitsubishi cars and trucks used to be nothing more than second or third runners-up to more popular brands like Honda and Toyota, but recent strides in both product and marketing have helped it to carve out its own unique niche. Based on the SSU concept vehicle that first made the auto show rounds in 1999, the Endeavor adds, as Mitsubishi calls it, "Urban Chic" to the SUV mix. Admittedly, Mitsubishi has not reinvented the midsize crossover SUV, but it has put its own stamp on it with regard to styling, comfort and performance.
The Endeavor shares its prominent front-end design, a recent Mitsubishi styling cue, with such vehicles as the Galant and Outlander. Built on the "Project America" platform specifically designed for the U.S. market, the Endeavor is aimed at SUV buyers who want a large helping of style mixed in with their utility. Because of its car-based underpinnings, the Mitsubishi Endeavor is a crossover vehicle rather than a traditional SUV. By combining carlike characteristics like sharp handling and a smooth highway ride, the Endeavor doesn't force buyers to choose between sport and utility.
The Endeavor's 3.8-liter V6 engine offers impressive torque as well, though it gives up some fuel-efficiency as a result. Mitsubishi has taken steps to ensure that the Endeavor's go-anywhere look is backed up by some off-road ability. Ground clearance is just over 8 inches. Inside, this five-passenger SUV is roomy enough to accommodate even the tallest adults, and the well-cushioned seats provide exceptional comfort on long road trips. Cargo capacity is a bit less than competitors offer, but should be adequate for most families. Entertainment options on the Mitsubishi Endeavor include a high-quality Infinity audio system and a rear DVD player.
The design of the interior is edgier than the conservative furnishings in the Pilot and Highlander, as there's plenty of metallic trim along with ice-blue backlighting. One downside is that the Endeavor's materials quality doesn't measure up to either of these rivals. While the Endeavor's lack of a third-row seat and side curtain airbags may limit its appeal on carpool days, family-oriented buyers would be wise to take a look at its well-rounded package. Along with unusual styling, the 2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor offers a very likable combination of performance, comfort and practicality.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The Mitsubishi Endeavor offers two trim levels: LS and Limited. The LS comes with standard features like 17-inch alloy wheels; air conditioning; power windows, locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; air conditioning; a 140-watt CD stereo; a full-size spare tire; and towing preparation. The Limited adds items like a power driver seat, a 315-watt stereo with an in-dash six-disc CD changer and an automatic climate control system with separate rear controls. Available options include a sunroof, leather seating, heated front seats and a rear-seat DVD entertainment system (which unfortunately isn't available in conjunction with the sunroof). A navigation system is not available.
Powertrains and Performance
All Mitsubishi Endeavor models come with a 3.8-liter V6 coupled to a four-speed automatic transmission. Output is rated at 225 horsepower and a substantial 250 lb-ft of torque. Although many vehicles in this class offer more horsepower, the Endeavor's ample torque gives it an equally powerful feel. Two-wheel-drive models are front-wheel drive, and all-wheel-drive models utilize a full-time system with a viscous center differential. Fuel economy estimates are 17 mpg city and 22-23 highway.
Antilock brakes and traction control are standard on all models, as are front-seat side airbags and a tire-pressure monitoring system. A stability control system is optional on 4WD Limited models. Side curtain airbags are not available. The Mitsubishi Endeavor scored well in IIHS frontal-offset crash testing, earning the top mark of "Good." In government crash tests, it earned a perfect five stars for driver protection in frontal impacts and four stars for the front passenger. The Endeavor scored five stars across the board for side-impact protection.
Interior Design and Special Features
A large center console dominates the interior, giving the Endeavor a slightly different look than most other sport-utes. In keeping with the exterior's bold and unique design, sporty faux metallic trim is used throughout the cabin. A small screen placed atop the dash provides vital radio, compass and climate information, but it doesn't support an optional navigation system. Like most other sport-utes in its class, the Mitsubishi Endeavor uses a flip-up rear hatch along with a separate lift-glass for added convenience. Cargo capacity maxes out at 75 cubic feet, less than the Pilot, Murano or Explorer.
Due to the Endeavor's impressive 250 lb-ft of torque, the 3.8-liter engine feels responsive off the line and into the midrange. The transmission can be a little slow to downshift on highway grades, but overall the 2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor performs as well as most other vehicles in the class. Its car-based chassis provides a comfortable ride on the street, adept handling in the corners and above-average capability on mildly rutted dirt roads. The steering is a little slower to react than we'd like, but the weighting seems perfectly balanced for everyday errand running and commuting.