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When first introduced, the Mitsubishi Endeavor earned a surprise win in an Edmunds comparison test of midsize SUVs. It won with a combination of good looks, torque-filled engine performance, smart handling and excellent (for a crossover) off-road performance. Complaints were limited to some questionable styling elements and material choices in the cabin.
As time wore on, however, the competition was refreshed and redesigned, while the Endeavor remained stagnant. The availability of certain features increased and there were some minor styling changes for '09, but the body style, powertrain and interior carried on without improvement or update. It was an analog entry in a digital world. As such, it is hard to recommend the Endeavor unless you're looking in a low price range that corresponds with this crossover's earliest years.
Most Recent Mitsubishi Endeavor
The Mitsubishi Endeavor was produced from 2004 through 2011. It was a midsize crossover SUV that sat five people and was based on vehicle architecture shared with the contemporary Galant sedan and Eclipse coupe.
Throughout its run, the Endeavor was powered by a 3.8-liter V6 that produces 225 horsepower and 255 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and a four-speed automatic transmission were standard, but all-wheel drive was available. While this engine yielded reasonably energetic performance, it started to seem down on power as its many competitors bulked up over the years. The Endeavor's four-speed automatic also became quickly outdated in a segment where five- and then six-speed transmissions became the norm, bringing with them enhancements to performance and fuel economy. On the upside, we found that the Mitsubishi Endeavor handled well both off-road and on throughout its life, though newer rivals did eventually better it by a considerable margin.
The cabin was dominated by a center console covered in silver-painted plastic that seemed stylish in 2004, but quickly became garish. The silver thankfully gave way to a more muted black eventually, but the rather strange design was maintained. More importantly, the Endeavor could never be had with a telescoping steering wheel or a reclining rear seat -- features that became the norm in the class. A third-row seat was also not available. Its maximum cargo capacity of 76.4 cubic feet was decent for a midsize crossover.
Initially, there were three trims: base LS, midlevel XLS and top-of-the-line Limited. Shortly after its debut, the Endeavor was updated as a 2004.5 model. Midyear changes included the addition of daytime running lamps, dual-stage front airbags, a tire-pressure monitoring system and 10 more hp. An antilock braking system became available on LS two-wheel-drive models. This midyear upgrade also included standard front-seat side airbags and a leather steering wheel for the Endeavor XLS. New options included a rear-seat DVD entertainment system and stability control for the AWD Limited. Shoppers looking at a used '04 Endeavor should only consider the updated version.
The XLS was dropped in 2006 and the Limited trim was replaced by an SE trim for 2007. Newly available features for '07 included the navigation system and a Rockford Fosgate stereo. However, the rear DVD entertainment option was eliminated (sorry, kids). The Endeavor was on hiatus for 2009 but returned the following year with some minor exterior styling updates. It also gained standard Bluetooth and a rearview camera that was bundled with the optional navigation system. Those desiring all-wheel drive were also forced to step up to the SE trim level. From 2007-'11, the SE was still the only way to get a sunroof, rearview camera or navigation system.
On the safety front, side airbags became standard on all models in 2005, and used shoppers should definitely note that antilock brakes were optional on base models until '06. Side curtain airbags were added to the standard features list in 2007. Traction control became standard across the lineup for 2008.