All-new for 2004, the Mitsubishi Endeavor received an update midway through its first year of production, with all models receiving 10 extra horsepower, a tire pressure monitoring system and dual-stage front airbags, and advanced ABS with electronic brake force distribution and traction control optional on the two-wheel-drive version, and standard on all-wheel-drive models. For 2005, side impact airbags are standard on all models. The XLS in two-wheel configuration has been discontinued.

The big news is its warranty: 2004’s basic 3-years/60,000 km is now 5-years/100,000, while powertrain coverage increases from 5-years/100,000 to 10-years/160,000 km.

Based on a platform also used by the Galant sedan, the Endeavor feels more like a big car than a midsize SUV. Its AWD system splits torque evenly front and rear under normal driving conditions, and distributes it where necessary when the going gets tough. All models come with a 3.8-litre V6.

The base LS comes in front- or AWD, and features air conditioning, intermittent rear washer/wiper, rear privacy glass, 17-inch cast aluminum wheels, cruise control, tubular roof rails, power windows, power locks with keyless entry, 60/40 folding rear seat, CD player with six speakers, and centre LCD display. The AWD version comes with ABS.

The XLS adds 17-inch spoked polished aluminum wheels, roof rail crossbars, premium cloth seats, compass and temperature in the LCD display, tonneau cover, and six-CD system with seven speakers.

The Limited adds leather interior, seven-spoke wheels, automatic climate control, leather-wrapped wheel, and power sunroof.

The Endeavor is a pleasure to drive; it’s very powerful, and its four-wheel independent suspension and manual-mode transmission made it much sportier than most SUVs. The styling is quirky, both inside and out. Mitsubishi says the centre console suggests “a modern, high-tech, home-audio look”; if your living-room stereo actually looks like this, get yourself to Future Shop for something a little more tasteful. As nice as the Endeavor is, Mitsubishi’s scanty dealer network may prove problematic; the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander are very worthy and more accessible options.

The Endeavor is built in Normal, Illinois.