|2006 Mitsubishi Raider
Mitsubishi re-enters the truck
market with a mid-size offering
Article by Jeff Steinwand
What’s this, a truck from Mitsubishi? We haven’t seen a pickup from
Mitsubishi in a decade. For a moment, let us recall 1996, the last
model year of the Might Max, a Japanese import mini-truck that
overstayed its welcome here in the States and was discontinued because
competition was gobbling up its market share. The last few years of
the Mighty Max were nothing to boast about, as the line had been
reduced to only a four-cylinder, two-wheel drive regular-cab model.
Flash forward to current day, as Mitsubishi loads its showrooms this
week with a brand-new offering to appease those who demand a
go-anywhere do-everything vehicle with a Mitsubishi nameplate. This time around Mitsubishi has a
more substantial bid. They have banked a lot on the 2006 Raider,
creating a wide array of cab styles, drive trains, and engine choices,
surely enough to rile the competition.
On first glance, this truck looks decidedly unique, but with a
distinctive resemblance to other Mitsubishi SUV; you’ll find bulging
fenders like a Montero and satin accents and jewel tail lights like
the Outlander. And you can’t miss the trademark Mitsubishi
countenance: high-mounted glaring headlamps like the eyes
of a caffeine addict who just got their fix, along with a low-slung
wide open mouth, toothless and unobstructed, reminiscent of a
that nonchalantly glides along, gobbling up anything in its path. While this is not the prettiest
or meanest-looking machine on the road, everything blends together
in a cohesive way, creating a slick exterior that seems honed yet
modern. Consider it both capable and neatly packaged; the
functionality of a Swiss army knife and the smooth flowing lines to
make it innocuous.
Upon further inspection, there is an odd familiarity that takes a
moment to categorize. Something slightly Nissan-esque, yet different.
A hint of Toyota, a dash of Isuzu... but the doors and roofline reveal
the indisputable heritage. Is the Raider a bastard son of Dodge Ram?
It might be,
because it is half-brothers with the Dodge Dakota. Indeed, this truck shares the underpinnings of
the Dakota, and like its brother, the Raider is offered only in extended and double-cab cab configurations,
lacking a standard cab version.
Those familiar with the Dakota may also recognize certain elements of
the interior. The door panels share a similar form, but the Raider
adds more extensive trim details. The gauge cluster looks to be the
same, but the rest of the dash is completely different. The Raider
carries a circular theme, from round air vents to the brow over
the gauge cluster, whereas the Dakota has a much more rectilinear
design. The headlamp and climate control panels are identical, as are
the center console, and seats.
Dash Layout including White-face Gauge Cluster
Brushed Accents on the Door Panels
The Raider is available in three trim levels: base XL, hopped-up DuroCross, and top-of-the-line XLS.
The DuroCross featured here includes a metal chin panel on the lower bumper, fog lights,
black fender flares, side steps, a durable bed-liner (hence the "Duro"
in the name), 17-inch wheels
with off-road tires, a polished exhaust tip, and a sliding rear window. The XLS
tops it off with leather on the seats and standard side and curtain
shares power plants with the Dakota. For those not
acquainted, those include the base 3.7L V6 engine, producing 210
horsepower at 5200 rpm and 235 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm, offered in LS and DuroCross trim levels and both cab
configurations. An optional 4.7-liter, overhead-cam V8 engine puts out
230 hp at 4600 rpm and 290 lb-ft of torque at 3600 rpm, and is available
as an option on DuroCross models, and comes standard on the XLS Double Cab model.
Mitsubishi claims this truck is the only mid-size “import-brand” to
offer a V8, but this truck is far from an import, since it is built in
DaimlerChrysler's Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Warren, Michigan.
Drive train choices include 2WD or 4WD with every cab and engine
configuration, and full-time all-wheel-drive on the XLS Double Cab.
Properly-equipped V6 trucks can handle a maximum trailer weight of
up to 4,350 lbs, while a maximum capacity of 6,500 lbs is available
with the V8-powered models.
Pricing on the extended-cab 2WD V6 starts at $19,180 with manual
transmission, just shy of the Dakota’s base price. The top-of-the-line
V8-equipped XLS Double Cab AWD with premium sound package and special
Lava Red paint tops out at $35,585, which happens to be in the same neighborhood as a
For that kind of money you get all the extras, including Bluetooth
hands-free phone interface and an Alpine audio system featuring Sirius
Satellite Radio, AM/FM/6-Disc CD head unit, and 6 speakers as well as steering-wheel
mounted audio controls.
All Raider models come with a generous five-year, 60,000-mile
bumper-to-bumper warranty including roadside assistance. This is 2
years and 24,000 miles more than the Dakota, although the Dakota has a
7-year and 70,000-mile power train warranty.
Under its utilitarian skin, the Raider looks like it could be a bundle
fun. One thing is for sure, Mitsubishi aficionados will be glad they have a truck
to choose from again. Whether or not the Raider will make enough waves
to stay afloat in today's Mixmaster truck market is yet to be decided,
but a new twist on a somewhat familiar theme is always good to see.