Full 2008 Mitsubishi Raider Review
What's New for 2008
The Mitsubishi Raider lineup has been downsized for 2008. The Durocross and SE trim levels have been dropped, and the 4.7-liter V8 is no longer available.
Behind its boldly styled face, the 2008 Mitsubishi Raider is essentially a Dodge Dakota, sharing its platform, V6 engine and most of its interior with Dodge's venerable midsize model. In an unfortunate change from 2007, however, the Raider no longer offers side curtain airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes or the 4.7-liter V8 engine. Mitsubishi provides a five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, which trumps Dodge's three-year/36,000-mile comprehensive coverage but not its lifetime powertrain warranty. At the end of the day, though, the 2008 Mitsubishi Raider is a pretty basic pickup truck -- and the competition is anything but.
Every 2008 Raider will be powered by a 3.7-liter 210-horsepower V6, as last year's optional 4.7-liter 235-hp V8 has been discontinued. Yet even the V8 was outclassed by the more capable and refined V6s found in the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier, so the fact that all Raider models make do with a sluggish 3.7-liter power plant doesn't exactly bode well for this already forgotten Mitsubishi entry. To show how much the Raider has gotten the short end of the fraternal stick, take a peek under its platform mate's hood, which can be filled with either of two capable V8s. This isn't exactly a Danny DeVito-Arnold Schwarzenegger sibling situation, but it's not far off.
Other downsides to the Raider include lots of low-grade plastic trim in the cabin and its lack of a long-bed option. Overall refinement is nothing to write home about either, especially when compared with class leaders. If you like the Dakota's package but want different styling or a longer bumper-to-bumper warranty, the Raider is worth considering -- but only if you can live without the optional safety features and V8 engines.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2008 Mitsubishi Raider midsize pickup truck comes in two body styles, extended cab and the "Double Cab" crew cab, and a singular LS trim level. The Double Cab is available in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive; the extended cab is two-wheel drive only. The Raider extended cab has a pair of reverse-opening rear doors and a 6-foot-6-inch bed, while the Double Cab has four full-size doors and a 5-foot-4-inch bed. LS extended-cab models come with a front bench seat, air-conditioning, a CD player, alloy wheels and old-school manual windows and door locks. LS Double Cabs add foglights, power accessories, a tilt steering wheel, keyless entry, cruise control and satellite radio.
Options are largely grouped into packages. The extended cab's Power and Convenience Package gets you much of the Double Cab's additional features. The Exterior Appearance Package, available only on Double Cabs, adds a sliding rear window, and special wheels and interior trim. The Extra Value Package comes with a bed liner, side rails and mud guards. Some of these options can be added à la carte.
Powertrains and Performance
Standard on all Mitsubishi Raider models is a 3.7-liter V6, which produces 210 hp and 235 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission is mandatory on Double Cabs, while extended cab models come standard with a smooth-shifting Getrag six-speed manual. (The automatic is an option.)
Performance is unimpressive, to put it mildly. An automatic-equipped Raider requires a glacial 11.5 seconds to complete the 0-60-mph sprint, lagging more than 3 seconds behind segment leaders. Towing capacity, ranging from 2,950 pounds for manual-shift Raiders to 4,150 pounds with the automatic, is similarly uncompetitive.
Rear antilock brakes are standard, but four-wheel ABS is not available. Side curtain airbags are likewise unavailable. In government frontal-impact crash tests, the extended-cab version of the Raider's twin, the Dakota, achieved a perfect five-star rating for driver protection and four stars for front passenger protection. The Dodge also garnered an "Acceptable" rating in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal-offset crash testing. Without side curtain airbags, the Raider's side-impact crashworthiness is unknown.
Interior Design and Special Features
Inside, the driving position feels more carlike than you'd expect, with simple, easy-to-reach controls. Faux metallic trim and white-faced gauges give the dash a hint of panache, but materials quality is unimpressive. Both cabins are spacious, but the Double Cab is a must if you plan to put adults in the back. It's a versatile cargo carrier, too, as its rear seats flip up to reveal built-in storage trays.
The 2008 Mitsubishi Raider is commendably hushed at speed, with good isolation from wind and road noise. The chassis feels solid, and while the ride is taut, it soaks up ruts and bumps well given its workaday purpose. Handling is stable as trucks go, and the Raider's shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system offers plenty of traction on rough terrain. The steering is numb and provides little feedback. The V6, however, is simply overmatched by the competition, and the front-disc/rear-drum braking setup, with no ABS for the front wheels, is outdated and unimpressive. Other midsize trucks are more satisfying behind the wheel.