Mitsubishi, Road Test Reviews

2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor – Road Test

The 2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor is considered a midsize crossover SUV, mixing the benefits of “an SUV with the driving performance and handling of a passenger car.” I think they’ve accomplished what they’ve set out to do exceptionally well. While driving the Endeavor around twisty back roads I had to continually remind myself that this wasn’t a sports car. It handles and behaves just like a sports sedan – albeit a bigger and heavier one.

Complaints were few: 1) it was very sluggish and felt heavy in uphill tests and 2) it was fairly noisy on the highway at any speed above 60 mph. I’d say it needs a bigger engine and/or a 5-speed instead of the 4-speed automatic. Otherwise, it took everything I threw at it in it’s stride, never letting me down.

First Impressions
When I was told the Endeavor I would be testing was white, I thought “Boor-ring. Couldn’t they have been more original?” Well yes actually, the white turned out to be Platinum Pearl, a very rich and expensive looking pearlescent white. In some light it looked a little beige. Very nice. Jumping into the Endeavor I got the feeling of Deja vu – it’s almost identical to the Galant GTS set up. That being the case, the stereo system and the climate control system was perfect. The SatNav-type screen that houses the information has a ledge that shades it a little better than in the Galant making it easier to see and read it. The amazingly comfortable seats, the steering wheel audio controls, etc. were also just as perfect as with the Galant.

The top of the dashboard is covered in a squishy rubber-type material that helps against reflections being thrown onto the window. The sound system in the test vehicle was a 315-watt Mitsubishi/Infinity 6-CD audio system with MP3 playback, 7 speakers and steering wheel-mounted controls. It was crystal-clear and had a thumping bass. Volume and tuning are controlled by nice big round buttons – just the way all stereo systems should be. Just like the Galant, the audio controls on the steering wheel were on the backside of the steering wheel, so instead of taking your hand off the wheel or using your thumbs, you use your fingertips – very unique and very easy to get used to, although my wife didn‘t like it.

The Endeavour is a good-sized SUV, about the size of a Toyota Highlander. It seats 5 people in comfort. It doesn’t offer 7-passenger seating, which to me makes sense – if you need room for 7- get a van, besides 99% of SUV’s that have seating for 7 have no room left for any luggage/cooler etc. Surprisingly, the rear seatbacks don’t recline, not even a little – that’s something I liked in the Suzuki Grand Vitara and Hyundai Tucson. Otherwise, though, it’s almost limousine-like back there.

The doors are large making it very easy to get in and out. The entry height is perfect too, so there’s no need for a step bar or the like, to help you get in and out. Once inside, the ride height is equal to other SUV’s so you get a good view of the road ahead. Passengers are treated to plenty of leg, foot, hip, head and elbow room. For 2 rear passengers, there’s a folding armrest that houses the drink holders. The seats are very comfortable and don’t fatigue you over the course of a long drive. The driver and front passenger get 2-stage heated seats, and the rear passengers get the bonus of their own heating/AC controls.

In back, the cargo area is large (40.7 cu ft), with a flat floor, tie-down hooks and under the floor is a full-size spare. The tailgate is easy to lift and surprisingly easy and light to close. It’s a big door, yet takes very little effort to close. I loved the option of the glass being able to open independently of the tailgate. For someone on the short side like me, it doesn’t help me out by opening it and placing things in the back, but it does make carrying long items a breeze. Folding the rear seats to increase cargo room is simple and quick. Grab the lever located on top of the seat, pull the seat back forward and that‘s it. The base of the seat slides forward a little – eliminating a bit of storage in the footwells, but you don‘t have to remove or adjust the headrests. Once folded the seats remain flat and the cargo area is a cavernous 76.4 cu ft. (I measured 71” x 52” x 32” of usable space with the rear seats folded and the door closed).You also have the option of folding them 60/40. There are no cubbyholes, but the strut towers don’t take up valuable space back there. A four-foot-wide sheet of plywood easily fits between the struts. The Limited comes with a roof rack as standard for those wanting even more carrying capacity and all Endeavor’s are pre-wired for towing, so you just have to add the tow bar and off you go. Towing capacity for the FWD is 2,000 lbs., and 3,500 lbs. for the AWD.

On the highway it was perfectly smooth while cruising at 80mph, although somewhat noisy. It took some nasty road imperfections and patches in its stride with no shuddering vibrations passed through to the passengers. The steering and suspension are nice and tight, giving you a sense of substance, quality and luxury.

Fuel mileage was interesting…. according to the on-board computer it was sipping premium unleaded at 31 mpg [7.6 L/100 kms] going 80 mph [130 kms], but at 60 mph [100 kms] it was pounding it back at 20 mpg [11.5L/100kms]. That completely blows the tree-huggers concept right out the window!! We’re driving too slowly – if we speed up we save fuel!!!!

The set-and-forget automatic climate control was great – simple and easy to operate. One thing I was a little disappointed about was the A/C – it just wasn’t cold enough. I liked the fact that I could choose where I wanted the cold air to blast – many of these automatic climate controls are set up so that whoever designed the system picked it and that is that!

Mitsubishi use the same engine across a variety of vehicles. The Endeavor’s 3.8 litre V-6 engine is the same as the one in the Galant, but it’s tuned to the Endeavors needs. Where the Galant’s more sporty pretensions gave it 230 hp, the Endeavor gets by with 225 hp @5000 rpm and 255 lb./ft torque @3750 rpm. The only transmission available is the Sportronic 4-speed automatic.

The Sportronic transmissions allows the driver the option of clutchless shifting (no need to lift the throttle when changing gears. By moving the shift selector to the right, the driver engages the manual gear selection. Moving the lever forward (upshift) or backward (downshift), the driver can rev the engine to the redline without allowing the transmission to upshift. Unlike other manufacturer’s similar transmissions, Mitsubishi’s Sportronic transmission is programmed to override the driver’s command in only one circumstance – if the gearbox is not downshifted to first gear upon stopping the vehicle, the transmission will automatically select first gear. If the driver doesn’t manually upshift and the transmission reaches the rpm redline, fuel cutoff will intervene, but the transmission will still remain in the selected gear. In the real world the transmission works flawlessly. Shifts are so smooth they’re almost undetectable.

Standard features in the Endeavor Limited include: a huge power moon roof, heated front seats, 4 power outlets, a 315-watt Mitsubishi/Infinity 6-CD audio system with MP3 playback, 7 speakers and steering wheel-mounted controls, 10-way adjustable (6-way power) driver’s seat, automatic climate control plus mid cabin controls, one-touch power moon roof, centre console storage, and anti-theft alarm system.

Optional packages for the Limited include:
A rear DVD entertainment system with a flip down 7” ceiling-mounted monitor, two wireless headsets and a remote control. But if you want the DVD entertainment system you lose the moon roof. And a Leather package.

ABS with EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution) is standard, with traction control standard on the FWD models but an optional package for the AWD models. Dual-stage air bags, front seat-mounted side airbags, tire pressure monitoring system, and an anti-theft engine immobilizer.

The Mitsubishi warranty has to be mentioned: 10-year powertrain, 5-year bumper to bumper, 7-year rust protection and the longest 24/7 roadside assistance program I’ve seen yet – 5 years!

I loved every minute I spent with the Endeavor, it is a terrific SUV. It’s the perfect size – big without being imposing, yet very easy to drive and felt smaller than it actually was. The cargo capacity is very good and it’s very comfortable for all passengers. Right from the moment I climbed in, it felt like I’d just gotten into a vehicle I’d owned for years. The ride, fit and finish are superb. The permanent all-wheel drive is a nice safety feature along with all the other luxury features. It does everything well, even excelling in many aspects. I can’t fault this vehicle. Add to that the fact that Mitsubishi’s are by and large bullet-proof and you should have years of pain-free driving.

It’s fuel economy is fairly good for a vehicle of this size, although note that it takes premium fuel. That’s not a problem in the U.S. but up here in Canada, we get hosed by the petroleum industry to the tune of 40-45 cents per gallon more than regular gas.

Pricing for the Mitsubishi Endeavor:
As tested: $32,299 [$44,098 Cdn]
Base price of the LS model starts at: $26,599 [$34,998 Cdn]

There are 3 levels of Endeavor’s available in Canada: LS FWD, LS AWD and Limited AWD. The U.S. gets one additional variation: Limited FWD.

Fuel Consumption: [Premium Fuel – 91 Octane]
The Endeavor is listed at 17 mpg – city [13.9L/100 km] and 23 mpg – highway [10.0L/100 km]
I averaged 18 mpg [12.9 L/100km] in combined driving

Quality, fit and finish
Perfect climate control system!
Fantastic seats – you can drive all day with no fatigue
Did you see the warranty?
Thou$and$ less than similarly kitted out SUV’s

No telescopic steering
Power is adequate, but more would be better
A bigger engine and or a 5-speed transmission would make this a fantastic vehicle
Why premium fuel?

Would I Spend My Money On It?: 
Yes. It’s well priced and offers everything a vehicle should – and more – for the price.

Back Seat Driver Test: 9 out of 10
Passengers found it quite easy to get in and out – which surprised them with the ground clearance and the appearance of it being a big step up. Once inside it was very comfortable and the armrest/cup holders were very impressive. Visibility from the back seat was considered very good due to the slightly higher stance of the rear seats (not quite theatre style seating, but very close).

Immediate Competition:
Chevy Trailblazer, Chrysler Pacifica, Dodge Durango, Ford Freestyle, Ford Explorer, GMC Envoy, Honda Pilot, Hummer H3, Jeep Commander & Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru B9 Tribeca, Toyota Highlander & 4Runner.

By The Numbers…

10 – Quality
8 – Noise, Vibration & Harshness (NVH)
10 – Cargo Area/Trunk Space
10 – Special Features (Climate Control etc)

10 – Ease of Entry/Exit
10 – Front Roominess
10 – Rear Roominess
9 – Driving Position/Controls

9 – Drool Factor
10 – Fit & Finish

8 – Engine
8 – Transmission
10 – Ride & Handling

Ownership Value
10 – Bang for the $$
8 – Fuel Economy

140 Total / 150

Copyright © 2006 by Iain Shankland. All rights reserved.
Text: Iain Shankland / Images: Iain Shankland

Also Published at: PaddockTalk