2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD
2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD. Click image to enlarge

by Paul Williams
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At first glance, the Mitsubishi Endeavor (no, it’s not spelled “Endeavour” for Canada) would appear to be another biggish SUV that doesn’t fit too well with today’s fuel economy issues. But surprisingly, our test vehicle did very well in this department, and with that concern lessened somewhat, the door was opened for some largely guilt-free SUV driving.

Once you get past the fuel jitters, you’re aware of the Mitsubishi’s distinctive looks; maybe because there aren’t too many on the road, and maybe because ours was a bright Dover Pearl White. For whatever reason, our $44,098 Limited AWD got lots of attention. It has a kind of ‘Japanese Industrial’ presence, both in and out, that makes it easy to distinguish from the pack. Furthermore, my son and his friends (early twenties) actually wanted to drive it. This is new, as usually no vehicle I bring home to test is cool enough for them.

So, based on this anecdotal and totally unscientific approval at least, you won’t be regarded as an old geezer when driving the Endeavor.

2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD
2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD. Click image to enlarge

Big as it looks, the Endeavor is easy to enter and exit, and once underway, you’re struck by how smooth it is to drive. The seats are big and comfortable, the steering wheel is unfashionably large, the ride is quiet, the suspension absorbs most of the road’s irregularities and there’s no choppiness associated with some of its truck competitors. Cornering is also flat and predictable.

The reason is because the Endeavor is built on the Galant platform (the Galant is Mitsubishi’s mid-sized sedan), and it benefits from this by offering a car-like driving and handling experience.

Endeavors actually start at a competitive $34,998 in LS trim with front-wheel drive, and you can get an AWD version for an additional $3,000. Our $42,698 Limited AWD included $1,400 for the leather package to arrive at its final price.

Under the hood is a 225-horsepower 3.8-litre V6 engine making 255 foot-pounds of torque.

2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD
2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD. Click image to enlarge

It is enough to move the 1,890-kilogram (4,167 pound) Endeavor smartly when asked, but in the interests of economy, we were admittedly taking things fairly easy. Nonetheless, passing is accomplished without fuss, and the engine isn’t working hard to maintain speed and ascend hills.

The transmission is a four-speed automatic, which is somewhat unexpected in this class – typically you get a five-speed automatic these days – but it did the job with no gear hunting or abrupt shifts. There is a manual over-ride, by the way, for those who’d like to control the shifting more directly.

The Endeavor’s AWD system is on-demand, and splits torque evenly front-to-rear in normal driving conditions. Torque is moved to the front or rear when slip is detected. There is no low range or lockable differential.

2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD
2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD
2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD
2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD
2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD
2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD. Click image to enlarge

The interior is nicely appointed but it has certain machine-like, chunky look to it especially the instrument panel and the shape of the centre stack. It’s functional – let’s put it that way – rather than artistic.

There’s lots of room, though – approximately what you’d find in a Toyota Highlander or Honda Pilot – although the Endeavor is longer than those vehicles, but not as tall.

Unlike the Pilot and Highlander, the Endeavor does not feature an optional third-row seat, although you’d think its length would make it even better suited for such an application. The second row seats do fold flat, adding to the practicality, and open up a vast 2,163 litres (76.4 cu. ft.) of space for long and wide objects. With the rear seats in the upright position, legroom and shoulder room for passengers is generous, and as with the front, entry and exit are easily accomplished.

All Endeavors feature a blue-lit instrument panel, which at first is a novelty, but ultimately is no more or less effective as other colours (white, red). Likely used for appearance only, the blue is pleasant at night.

There is a handy trip computer at the top of the centre stack, which calculates and displays a range of useful information, but it would be nice to step through its many screens with a steering wheel mounted switch, rather than having to reach.

Also handy are three 12-volt power points in the cockpit (and another at the rear). This enables you to plug in multiple devices (cellphone, GPS, satellite radio, etc) at once, which is becoming the norm for many drivers.

More places to put things like cellphones, wallets, keys, would be appreciated, however, but there is a fairly large storage container in the armrest between the front seats, and the map pockets in the doors are helpful.

Our Limited version featured an Infinity audio system with MP3 compatibility that was most impressive, a power driver’s seat, special seven-spoke wheels (17-inch on all versions, five-spoke on LS), colour-keyed mirrors and door handles, automatic climate control, fog lamps, cargo cover, sunroof (large!) and roof rail crossbars.

2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD
2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD. Click image to enlarge

What’s missing from all the Endeavour trim lines is vehicle stability control (the 2WD versions get traction control), which is now usually standard equipment on competitors’ vehicles, even much less expensive, compact SUVs. A navigation system is not available, which may save you money anyway, as effective portable systems can now be bought for one-fifth the price of factory systems. A power rear hatch, standard leather on the Limited, rear sonar or camera, the third row seat, side curtain airbags (an unfortunate exclusion): all these things just don’t come with Endeavors. You do get standard anti-lock brakes and front-seat mounted side impact airbags, however, and a very generous 10-year powertrain warranty and five-year new vehicle warranty with five-year roadside assistance. You can also add a DVD entertainment system for $1,300.

Competitors like the Hyundai Santa Fe, Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot have to be considered, however, as they will fall within the Endeavor’s price range, and are strong contenders. However, Mitsubishi is still trying to gain a foothold in the Canadian market, and deals may be available on its products.

2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD
2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor Limited AWD. Click image to enlarge

Endeavors are rated at 13.5/9.3 L/100 km, city/highway and Mitsubishi does, unfortunately, recommend premium grade fuel. My experience in the city was that the Endeavor ran about 14.0 L/100km in the city, and on the highway (115 km/h) it returned 10.3 L/100km. However, on a long stretch of two-lane minor highway at 90 km/h on cruise (optimum conditions, admittedly), the truck showed 8.6 L/100km. For a vehicle of this size and type, these are very good numbers indeed, but remember that only one occupant was on board, with a weekend’s worth of luggage, and a light right foot.

Overall, I enjoyed driving the Endeavor. It was very comfortable and useful on a long trip (I drove 1,500 km), and was one of those vehicles that you find easy to just jump in and go. Not complicated, not fussy, practical, easy to operate, not pushed around by wind or bumps, good ride, good to drive, a bit dated in execution and content, though.

But cool-looking, apparently.



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