Full 2006 Mitsubishi Raider Review
What's New for 2006
The all-new midsize Raider brings a pickup back into Mitsubishi's lineup (the last one was the 1996 Mighty Max). The Raider offers extended- and crew-cab body styles and a choice of V6 or V8 power.
The Raider is Mitsubishi's first V8-powered pickup. A corporate twin of the Dodge Dakota, the truck reflects Mitsubishi's effort to maximize a business relationship in order to fill a product gap in its lineup. The Raider and Dakota are built side-by-side at DaimlerChrysler's truck plant in Warren, Michigan. Although the Raider's underpinnings are Dodge-derived, its skin is pure Mitsubishi. Flared fenders and bedsides are aggressive, and a thin upper grille and thick lower bumper give the Raider an industrial snarl. Mitsubishi is also trying to distinguish its truck from the preceding version by offering a best-in-class 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty; the Dakota offers a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty.
The Mitsubishi Raider rides on a fully boxed steel frame with a coil-over independent front suspension and rack and pinion steering that gives the pickup a nimble, carlike feel. The standard engine is a 210-hp, 3.7-liter V6, while a 4.7-liter V8 is optional on all Raiders and standard in the top-of-the-line XLS model. With 230 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque on tap, the V8 provides solid acceleration and towing capability. Missing from the lineup is the Dakota's 250-hp high-output version of the 4.7-liter. That's a tad unfortunate for Mitsubishi, since we've found that in real-world usage the 230-horse V8 is actually outclassed by the big V6s offered in the Tacoma and Frontier.
Inside, the Mitsubishi truck has spacious dimensions, and its rear seats flip up to reveal built-in storage trays for added convenience. The interior was designed for comfort, and options like heated cloth or leather seats, steering wheel audio controls, satellite radio and Bluetooth wireless connectivity make riding in the Raider a thoroughly civilized experience. Among the Raider's few disadvantages are its low-grade interior plastics, the lack of a long-bed option for buyers with greater hauling needs, and its shorter options list compared to its cousin. Additionally, it's not as refined as the Tacoma, nor does it have as many utility features as the Frontier. But overall, the 2006 Mitsubishi Raider is a solid midsize truck that's easy to drive on a daily basis. If you like the Dakota's package but want a longer warranty, the Raider is worth considering.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The midsize Mitsubishi Raider comes in two body styles. The extended cab has rear-opening access doors and a 6-foot-6 bed, while the more spacious crew cab (called Double Cab) has four full-size doors and a 5-foot-4 bed. There are three trim levels: LS, DuroCross and XLS. LS extended cabs come with the basics, including a front bench seat, air conditioning, a CD player and tinted glass; LS Double Cabs add power windows and locks, keyless entry and cruise control (optional on the extended cab). Midlevel DuroCross models get 16-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, heavy-duty cooling, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power everything, heated mirrors and bucket seats; 4WD versions get all-terrain tires, a raised ride height, firmer shocks, skid plates and a limited-slip differential. Add a V8 to your DuroCross and you'll also get a power driver seat and Bluetooth. Available as Double Cabs only, top-end XLS models provide 17-inch chrome wheels, an Alpine sound system, satellite radio, leather upholstery and seat heaters.
Powertrains and Performance
Two engines are available on the Mitsubishi Raider: a 3.7-liter V6 that makes 210 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque and a 4.7-liter V8 that produces 230 hp and 290 lb-ft of torque. The V6 takes either a six-speed manual or a four-speed automatic, while the V8 is available with the manual or a five-speed automatic. The LS and DuroCross offer the usual 2WD and part-time 4WD configurations, while the XLS can be equipped with 2WD or a full-time 4WD system. Towing capacity is 6,500 pounds.
Rear-wheel ABS is standard on the Mitsubishi Raider; four-wheel ABS is optional on the XLS only. Front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are also available, but again only on the XLS. In NHTSA frontal-impact crash tests, the extended-cab version of the Raider's twin earned a perfect five stars for driver protection and four stars for front-passenger protection; the crew-cab earned five stars for both. In side-impact testing, the extended cab also earned five stars, and both the extended- and crew-cab versions earned a four-star rollover rating. The Dakota scored an "Acceptable" rating (second best) in IIHS frontal-offset crash testing.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, the driving position feels more carlike than you'd expect, with simple, easy-to-reach controls. Aluminum trim and white-faced gauges give the cabin some style, but materials quality in the Mitsubishi truck is unimpressive next to the refined Tacoma. Cabins are spacious, but the Double Cab is a must if you're carrying four adults.
The 2006 Mitsubishi Raider is quiet inside at any speed, with ample insulation from wind and road noise. The exhaust emits a hint of a grumble, which turns into a throaty roar when you stomp on the go-pedal in V8-equipped Raiders. The chassis feels very stable, and while the ride is taut, it soaks up ruts and bumps with ease. Handling is excellent on- or off-road, and the truck's shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system offers plenty of traction on rough terrain.