Full 2009 Mitsubishi Raider Review
What's New for 2009
The Mitsubishi Raider remains essentially unchanged for 2009. The base model with the manual transmission gains a standard tilt steering wheel, and an auxiliary jack is no longer available on any trim.
In name, the 2009 Mitsubishi Raider evokes images of action and adventure. One can picture Indiana Jones forging a rugged path through the jungle with his latest archaeological find strapped tightly to his back. Or football fans might imagine a bulky fullback plowing through a field of muscular defenders. Unfortunately, this Raider doesn't live up to either image.
Mitsubishi's midsize pickup truck is essentially a Dodge Dakota -- both share the same platform, V6 engine and much of the interior design. But the Raider is merely a watered-down version of its American-branded counterpart, as it doesn't offer features such as side curtain airbags, four-wheel antilock brakes or an optional V8 engine. And now that Mitsubishi has nixed the auxiliary jack from all the Raider trim levels, occupants won't even be able to take consolation in their MP3 players.
Not only does the Raider suffer from a lack of certain modern features and a more powerful engine option, but its V6 is also outclassed by those found in the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma (not to mention the V8 option in the almost identical Dodge Dakota). The Raider also falls short of its competitors -- literally -- in not offering a long-bed option. The Mitsubishi does have one advantage over its Dodge sibling: its warranty. The Raider comes with a five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, while the Dakota is only covered for three years or 36,000 miles. If you like the Dakota but want different styling or a more extensive warranty, the 2009 Mitsubishi Raider is worth considering. Our recommendation, however, is to go with a Frontier or Tacoma and adorn it with a "Raider Nation" bumper sticker to satiate your black-and-silver desires. You could also seek out a lost ark.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2009 Mitsubishi Raider is a midsize pickup truck available in two body styles: an extended cab and a Double Cab crew cab. Both are available in a single trim level (LS). 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. Extended-cab models come standard with 16-inch wheels, a front bench seat, air-conditioning and a four-speaker audio system with single-CD player. Double Cabs add foglights, full power accessories, keyless entry and cruise control.
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 bedliner, side rails and mud guards. Some of these options can be added à la carte.
Powertrains and Performance
Every 2009 Raider is powered by a 3.7-liter V6, which produces 210 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission is mandatory on Double Cabs, while extended-cab models come standard with a six-speed manual (the automatic is optional).
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.
Fuel economy estimates for the 2009 Mitsubishi Raider are 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined for the two-wheel-drive manual model. The 2WD with the automatic transmission achieves 15/20/17 mpg, while the 4WD automatic trim gets 14/18/15 mpg.
Rear antilock brakes are standard, but four-wheel ABS is not available. Side curtain airbags aren't offered, either. 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
Low-grade plastic seems to be everywhere inside the cabin of the 2009 Mitsubishi Raider. 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 the only choice that affords enough room for adults (the extended cab will fit children or petite grown-ups). On the plus side, the driving position feels more carlike than one might expect, and the controls are simple and easy to reach. Interior storage is plentiful, too, as the rear seats flip up to reveal built-in storage trays.
The 2009 Mitsubishi Raider is surprisingly quiet on the highway and suffers from little road or wind noise. The ride is firm, yet the suspension decently handles ruts and bumps. The Raider offers stable handling for a truck, and its shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system offers plenty of traction on rough terrain. Handling is stable as trucks go, although steering is numb and provides little feedback. Due to its front-disc, rear-drum setup, the Raider's braking performance is subpar.