2006 Raider New Car Test Drive
The 2006 Mitsubishi Raider is an all-new midsize pickup truck, although 'all new' in this case must be qualified because it uses the chassis and engine of the Dodge Dakota and comes off the Dakota assembly line in Detroit. However, its sheet metal is totally unlike the Dakota's, and its interior is a unique design as well.
The Raider is available as either an Extended Cab with small access doors, or as a Double Cab four-door, with either a V6 or V8 engine. The Raider uses a welded ladder frame chassis, with hydroformed components, and follows Daimler-Chrysler's recent direction of producing trucks that are notably smooth and silent running. The rack-and-pinion steering makes the Raider quite nimble in tight situations, and the V8 offers the most torque in the class, with no significant loss in fuel mileage when compared to the V6. The gentle suspension sweetens the road ride, but limits off-road use.
The Raider was rushed to market, although because the powertrain is proven, reliability won't suffer. It mostly means that the Raider's individuality will grow as Mitsubishi begins to introduce options to distinguish it under the skin from the Dakota. If you need off-road capability, Mitsubishi makes it available with the DuroCross 4WD model, which is as macho as a Dakota, with better looks to boot.
With the exception of the aging Ford Ranger, the entire field of mid-size pickups is new. The Dodge Dakota was redesigned for 2005. The Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier were redesigned for 2005 and the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon were launched as 2004 models. The Ranger is the last of the small compact pickups that used to make up the class.
The Mitsubishi Raider lineup is simple, with the LS and XLS in either Extended Cab or Double Cab. All models have the same wheelbase and overall length, so there's no parking liability with the Double Cab, only a difference in the length of the bed: 5 foot 4 inches, versus 6 feet 5 inches.
The LS comes with a V6 engine that makes 210 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque; it uses a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, with either 2WD or 4WD. Standard features in the Extended Cab include 16-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, radio/CD with four speakers, and 40/40/20 front bench seat; an option package includes a rear bench seat, power windows, power mirrors, keyless entry, cruise control and tilt steering column.
The LS Double Cab includes those options, while the rear seat is a 60/40 fold-down.
The XLS models make the 4.7-liter V8 engine available, with a five-speed automatic transmission. The XLS can be had either with 2WD or electronic AWD. Standard equipment includes larger power sideview mirrors, fog lamps, rear window defroster, 17-inch chromed aluminum wheels, leather, power driver's seat with lumbar support, hands-free phone, heavy-duty battery and cooling system, class IV trailer hitch receiver with seven-pin harness, Sirius satellite radio, and all the power stuff.
There's also a DuroCross model, with features including 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, sliding rear window, power heated sideview mirrors that fold flat, dark tinted glass, fender flares with mudguards, side steps and a box bedliner, heavy duty cooling system and battery, and some trim enhancements.
The DuroCross 4WD (only the XLS is full-time AWD) adds BFG All Terrain tires, gas shocks, a skid plate and limited-slip differential.