What's New for 2008
Traction control is now standard on all Endeavors, while two-tone leather upholstery is now standard on the SE trim level, along with contrasting stitching. The rear glass no longer opens independently of the hatch on the LS trim level.
There's more to the 2008 Mitsubishi Endeavor than huge fender flares and exaggerated body bulges. That's saying quite a lot, since this midsize five-passenger crossover SUV is festooned with the type of body adornment that makes you wonder if the folks at the factory accidentally included the prototype's styling excesses on the production model. Yet between the Endeavor's love-it-or-hate-it swollen sides is a vehicle that offers solid driving dynamics, a gutsy V6, a roomy cabin and good build quality.
The Endeavor has been around since the 2004 model year, when it was good enough to win an Edmunds.com comparison test, beating top choices like the Honda Pilot, Nissan Murano and Toyota Highlander. The Mitsubishi surprised us with its blend of performance, handling and comfort. Those observations still apply today, but since that comparison, the Highlander has been replaced and a pack of very impressive new competitors have entered the field and provide excellent on-road manners and compelling designs. Many of those crossovers also offer a third row of seats and now-common features like Bluetooth and a DVD entertainment system that the Mitsu lacks.
The 2008 Mitsubishi Endeavor is a dark-horse candidate to be sure, overshadowed by newer and/or better-known five-passenger crossovers like the Ford Edge, Mazda CX-7, Hyundai Santa Fe or even Mitsubishi's own Outlander, which offers almost as much interior space and more high-tech goodies. Also, larger crossovers like the Ford Taurus X and GMC Acadia have room for seven, while besting the Endeavor's meager fuel economy. If its ambitious styling floats your boat, though, and you can live without two extra seats, the 2008 Endeavor is a good choice that provides safe, comfortable and well-built family transportation.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2008 Mitsubishi Endeavor is a midsize crossover SUV available in two trim levels: LS and SE. Both come with either front- or all-wheel drive. Standard equipment on the LS includes 17-inch wheels, air-conditioning, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel, cloth upholstery, full power accessories, keyless entry and a six-speaker audio system with CD player. The SE trim adds leather upholstery, a power driver seat, a trip computer, heated front seats, a flip-up glass rear window and a nine-speaker Rockford Acoustics stereo with six-CD changer and satellite radio. A sunroof and navigation system are optional on the SE. A towing package is available on both trims that now includes a power steering fluid cooler.
Powertrains and Performance
All Endeavors are powered by a 3.8-liter V6 that makes 225 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic is the lone transmission choice. Although the Endeavor's horsepower rating pales in comparison to some of its competition, its V6's ample torque output gives Mitsubishi's midsize crossover plenty of punch. Fuel economy for 2008, however, is unimpressive. The front-wheel-drive model's 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway mileage figures are below average for a midsize crossover. The all-wheel-drive Endeavor gets 15 city and 20 highway.
The 2008 Endeavor comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction control, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags. Stability control is standard on all-wheel-drive models. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration frontal crash testing, the Endeavor earned five out of five stars for driver protection and four stars for the passenger. In side-impact testing, it scored five stars across the board. In frontal-offset and side-impact testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Endeavor earned the top rating of "Good."
Interior Design and Special Features
The five-passenger Endeavor boasts a roomy passenger cabin that accommodates even the tallest folks, while the well-shaped seats prove comfortable on long trips. The edgy interior design was subdued last year, when the silver center stack that looked like a boom box from 1987 was changed to black -- a polarizing change, to be sure. The dash is still pretty funky, though, and its cool blue lighting should appeal to those looking for more visual excitement than many vehicles in this utilitarian class provide. Materials quality could be better, however, as there's more low-grade hard plastic than you'll find in a Nissan Murano or Hyundai Santa Fe. At 76 cubic feet, the Endeavor's maximum cargo capacity falls between midsize five-passenger SUVs like the larger Murano and smaller Ford Edge, and should be adequate for most families. A rear DVD player is unfortunately no longer an option, somewhat diminishing its appeal for families.
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 2008 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 than we'd like, but the weighting seems perfectly balanced for everyday errand-running and commuting.