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2006 Mitsubishi Raider

2006 Mitsubishi Raider DuroCross Double Cab

A Familiar Snout to Mitsubishi Enthusiasts

Integrated Headlamp and Turn Signal

Jewel Tail Lamps

The Angle Most Likely to Confuse the Unacquainted

Rear Folding Bench Seats in the Double Cab

Available 4.7L V8 Engine

Rugged Bed Liner on the Raider DuroCross


Photos: Mitsubishi Motors North America
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 bottom-feeding fish 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.

Comfortable Interior

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 airbags.

The Raider 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 similarly-equipped Dakota. 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.

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