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2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor

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San Francisco: Mitsubishi has joined the ranks of crossover vehicles that combine the best features of a car and an SUV with the 2004 Endeavor, already in dealer’s showrooms. The Mitsubishi SUV lineup now includes the compact Outlander, the Endeavor, the Montero Sport, and the top-of-the-line Montero.

Unlike its siblings, the Endeavor was designed completely in the U.S. specifically for the American market and is built in Normal, IL. Its car-based platform will eventually be used on future Mitsubishi Galant sedans and Eclipse coupes.

The Endeavor’s styling is distinctive and aggressive, especially from the front end with its grille and oversized openings. Also distinctive are the oversized, flat flared fenders with equally oversized wheel openings. While called a crossover between a passenger car and a SUV, the Endeavor looks more like a crossover between a minivan and SUV because of its high, square profile as well as the huge, steeply sloping windshield.

The Endeavor comes either with front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive (AWD). Each version is offered in three trim levels - base LS, mid-range XLS, and luxurious Limited. Only one engine is used, a 3.8-liter V6 that is a slightly larger, improved and a more powerful version of the 3.5-liter 6 found in Monteros. The engine is less sophisticated than others used today with its iron block,

aluminum cylinder heads and single overhead camshaft (SOHC), but it does have four-valves-per-cylinder and throttle-by-wire control. Output is 215-horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 250 lb-ft of torque at 3,750. The available torque gives good rapid acceleration and you know it when you punch the throttle.

The engine is mounted transversely and drives the front wheels on 2WD versions, and thus I noted a bit of torque steer, especially on slippery surfaces. With AWD, power is normally split 50-50 between front and rear wheels. Under slippery condition, a center differential viscous coupling supplies power automatically to the wheels with the best traction. There is no low gearing with AWD since the Endeavor is designed more for on-roading than off-roading. The Montero Sport and Monteros with 4WD are still offered for serious off-roaders.

Only one transmission is available, a four-speed Sportronic automatic transmission with manual shifting capability. The EPA numbers are 17 mpg City / 23 mpg Highway for the front-drive models and 17 mpg City / 21 mpg Highway with AWD. These are pretty decent for a vehicle that weighs about two tons unloaded. The fuel tank holds 21.4-gallons and premium grade fuel is recommended. Towing capacity is 3500 pounds with the optional towing package.

The wide Endeavor seats five, full-sized adults. A third row of seats in not offered thus providing rear seat passengers with lots of legroom and a huge cargo area. Being more minivan than car means great headroom and the ability to carry tall items. The 60 / 40 rear seats fold totally flat to carry a 4 x 8 foot sheet of plywood and there are 10 hooks on the floor and side panels to secure items. The temporary spare tire is located under the floorboard and a full-sized spare is optional.

The dashboard features a huge center console with huge knobs and buttons for all the functions. The displays for radio, climate control, clock, compass, etc. are all consolidated in a single hooded LCD unit that is difficult-to-impossible to read in daylight. While the designers attempted to simulate a high-tech metallic look for the console, the result was somewhat cheap plastic appearance. The other materials used inside, while obviously plastic, appear to be of higher quality.

Visibility in all directions, including over the huge dashboard, is very good. The outside rearview mirrors are huge. There are many cup holders and three power outlets, two in the front console and one in the rear for backseat passengers that offer both 12 VDC and 120 VAC electric power. Front doors have storage pockets, and there is a large glove box and center console bin for storing lots of your stuff.

The base LS comes decently equipped including air conditioning, AM/FM/CD, remote keyless entry, 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, roof rails, and power windows, door locks and mirrors. The XLS adds premium cloth seats, power driver's seat, 315-watt sound system with six-disc CD, and a 5-inch color LCD screen with time, temperature, compass and programmable function readings, crossbars for the roof rails, a cargo cover and chrome bumper caps. Options on the XLS include a moonroof, leather upholstery, and heated seats and mirrors.

The "loaded" Limited has automatic climate control, leather trim, heated front seats and rear view mirrors, a tire-pressure monitoring system, rear seat climate controls, fog lamps and body-colored bumpers. Moonroofs are options, even on the Limited.

While all models have dual front airbags, dual side airbags are offered only on the XLS (optional) And Limited (standard). Anti-lock braking is standard on the AWDs and all Limited models, but optional on the XLS 2WD. Disc brakes are fitted on all four wheels. An anti-skid and traction-control system is optional only on the Limited.

If you want an SUV that rides, handles and drives like a quality passenger car while offering the interior space of a minivan, the Endeavor is worth a serious look. Prices for the Endeavor start at $25,597 for the base LS 2WD and go up to $33,197 for the Limited AWD. By Bill Siuru AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo AutoWire.Net
Column Name:  A New Crossover SUV from Mitsubishi
Topic:  2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor
Word Count:   946
Photo Caption:  2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor
Photo Credits:  Mitsubishi Internet Media
Series #:   2003 - 16

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