While the segment the Endeavor competes in is mainstream, its design is anything but. Mitsubishi designers have crafted a cortex-stimulating, forward-thrusting theme that refuses to blend into the SUV woodwork. Large wheel flares become broad shoulders, the fronts lunging upward to merge with the top of the hood at the base of the windshield, forming a wide stance reminiscent of Mitsubishi's '99 SSU concept vehicle. An extra large, dramatically sloped windshield and A-pillar windowlets give a Cab Forward feel to the front end, finished off with a Mitsubishi split grille punctuated by a large, squarish snout. The Endeavor's posterior also avoids business as usual, with a bowed liftgate beltline, triangular taillamps, and upward-jutting bumper end caps adding even more surface excitement. It's an in-your-face look.

The Endeavor's wide body, steeply sloped windshield, and low-profile dash translate into a roomy interior feel. Part of that is visual, the other tactile as the interior occupants luxuriate in wider-than-normal, upright seats with thick cushions and great support. Accompanying the commodious front chairs is a sturdy, multi-tiered console with superb cupholders, dual 12-volt outlets, and a concealed compartment deep enough to stash a laptop computer.

Front and center, a metallic-look center stack reminiscent of a Bose wave radio dominates the interior. Among quality touches here are Venetian-blind-like positive-shutting ventilation ducts and precision-feel knurled knobs for the climate and audio system controls. Atop the center stack on all but the base LS model sits a small (4.9 inch) LCD screen with a compass and readouts for audio/climate-control information. Unfortunately, the screen isn't bright enough to read easily in daylight, especially if the headlamps are on because of fog or dust in the air. And there's a plethora of geomechanical-textured surfaces on the dash and door panels, from a rubbery-feeling dash upper to a urethane steering wheel so abrasive you might imagine it exfoliating your hands as you drive.

Amazingly, despite the large look and loud styling, the Endeavor's road manners are buttoned-down. Off-road-ready looks aside, Galant pixie dust sprinkled gingerly here and there helps make this SUV take to pavement with alacrity. Big-diameter anti-lock four-wheel disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution scrub speed with easily modulated precision. And a rigid body structure gives a solid platform for the underpinnings to go about their work.

At 62.4 mph, the Endeavor was the fastest to weave through the cones in the 600-foot slalom test among our trio, matching the BMW X5. And at 126 feet, it also stopped from 60 mph in the shortest distance. The Endeavor's got moves.