Mitsubishi has been involved with producing SUVs almost as long as anyone. The venerable Montero has been produced since 1982 and continues to be a very popular sport utility. Several years ago, the Montero Sport was introduced, again with excellent consumer support. However, for the past few years, Mitsubishi has remained a two-SUV manufacturer. For the '03 model year, the company introduced its compact SUV, the Outlander, and for '04, the brand-new Endeavor. In the space of a year, Mitsubishi has doubled its SUV offerings.

The Endeavor was produced to capitalize on the growing popularity of midsize SUVs and crossover vehicles. The five-passenger Endeavor is powered by a 3.8L V-6 that is designed to produce the majority of its torque at lower rpm. This powerplant puts out 215 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque. The vehicle's drivetrain can be configured as either a front-wheel-drive or full-time all-wheel-drive SUV, and all Endeavors are equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission with Sportronic, which allows drivers to manually engage their desired gear. This car-based sport utility features some bold exterior styling cues that are very reminiscent of the Outlander, creating a family resemblance. The interior styling is very cutting-edge, dominated by a dramatically designed dash panel topped by an available 4.9-inch LCD display that provides climate and directional information. At night, the gauges, interior control knobs, and switches are illuminated with striking ice-blue LED lamps to enhance the high-tech look.

Four-wheel independent suspension results in excellent ride quality and nimble, car-like handling. Safety features include unibody construction, robust front subframe members, front steel crossmembers, reinforced side sill members, front airbags, and available side-impact airbags. Three trim levels will be offered: LS, XLS, and Limited.

During our test period of the Endeavor, we found the vehicle to be an excellent example of the new offering of midsize crossover SUVs. The vehicle's styling, especially its front-end design, is a bit quirky and may be seen as slick or ugly, depending on individual tastes. We liked the interior styling cues and creature amenities - definitely cutting edge. The vehicle was indeed fun to drive and had that agile feel of many crossover vehicles. With the introduction of the Endeavor - listed at approximately $30,000 - Mitsubishi has a well-rounded lineup of SUVs that offer something for everyone: Montero, Montero Sport, Outlander, and Endeavor.