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2006 Mitusubishi Raider

2006 Mitsubishi Raider New Car Test Drive

by Bob Plunkett

Flash back two decades to find the first vehicle called Raider - a compact-class SUV badged by Dodge but built in Japan by Mitsubishi. Flash forward to the present to uncover the next vehicle called Raider. It's a mid-size truck badged by Mitsubishi but built in the United States by Dodge at DaimlerChrysler's Detroit truck plant.
2006 Mitsubishi Raider Exterior

Raider as a new truck for Mitsubishi borrows chassis and powertrains from the Dodge Dakota but brings its own classy designs for exterior sheetmetal and cab appointments. It offers the option of a V6 or V8 engine for two-wheel-drive (2WD) or four-wheel-drive (4WD) traction and three distinct trims - LS, DuroCross and XLS. Raider LS the base trim employs the V6 engine exclusively and Raider XLS the deluxe issue packs only the V8, while DuroCross as the 4WD model offers either V6 or V8 plant.

Raider also presents two different cab formats.

The Extended Cab contains two rows of seats for four and two rear-hinged access doors. In back, the pair of individual rear seats fit a full-size adult, but seat cushions fold away when not needed for passengers and the area behind front seats converts into a storage bay with 30 cubic feet of space.

The Double Cab has four full-size doors and conventional seats for five with front buckets and a bench-style backseat. The bench has room for up to three adults and the seatback tips rearward at a slight angle so riders may sit comfortably with ample room for heads and legs.

A truck box behind the cab varies in length. Raider Extended Cab has a long-bed design extending to 78 inches, while the Double Cab uses an abbreviated bed measuring 64 inches long.

Sleek and distinctive styling for Raider's exterior package features sharply chiseled forms in strong geometric shapes with undulating slabs around wheel wells forging step-side fenders and the face fitted with an imposing split-port grille that's interrupted at the center spot by a triangle containing the tri-leaf emblem of Mitsubishi. Flanking the center grille are oversized headlamp clusters on the front corners, as a fat-lip fascia underscores the face. Colors for grille and fascia vary by trim.

The DuroCross line shows a skid-plate style bumper with foglamps in front fascia corners, black fender flares, side steps below the doors, a bedliner in the truck box, a sliding rear window and cast aluminum wheels capped by off-road tires.

From a slew of Raider 2006 issues parked on Broadway in Portland, Ore., we select a V8-powered Extended Cab in deluxe XLS trim, then steer it out of town on the I-84.

The expressway leads eastward into the scenic Columbia River Gorge for a day of driving tests on pavement and dirt, as we switch into Raiders of both cab sizes and different trim designations with big and bigger engine choices, both manual and automatic transmissions, and rear 2WD and 4WD traction modes. From this experience we discover that Raider in its various forms has a generous wheelbase, which sets up a smooth ride quality for a truck.

Raider's ladder-style frame - hydroformed and fully boxed - is rigid to reduce squeaks and vibrations. The suspension configuration - coil-over-shock up front with link-type stabilizer bar and a live axle in back with multi-leaf longitudinal springs and staggered gas-pressure shocks - brings responsive handling traits. A rack and pinion steering mechanism - not a common component for a truck - feels crisp and precise despite the addition of power assistance.

Raider also benefits from reasonable overall body length (about 18 feet long) when compared against a full-size truck. That advan-tage of having several less feet of steel to move around in traffic makes a big difference in terms of maneuverability and practicality.

Brakes with front discs and rear drums come with power assistance plus standard anti-lock brake system (ABS) for the rear wheels, with optional four-wheel ABS that adds electronic brake force distribution (EBD). Frontal air bags for front-seat riders are also standard, with optional curtain-style side air bags concealed above windows for both rows of seats.

More choices come for powertrain and traction mode. Raider's powertrains include a V6 or V8. The six-pack displaces 3.7 liters and runs up to 210 hp at 5200 rpm with torque numbers climbing as high as 235 lb-ft at 3600 rpm. The 4.7-liter V8 reaches 230 hp at 4600 rpm plus torque pegging high to 290 lb-ft at 3600 rpm.

A sweet Getrag 238 manual six-speed transmission is standard for the V6, with a four-speed DaimlerChrysler automatic (42RLE) optional. An automatic five-speed (5-45RFE) goes with the V8. Pick a 4WD package for off-road forays or the 2WD mode for trailer-haul chores. Actually, there are two choices for 4WD action - either an on-demand 4WD system with 2WD plus 4WD high and 4WD low-gear settings or a full-time all-wheel-drive (AWD) system available for XLS and DuroCross V8.

2006 Mitsubishi Raider Interior

Raider LS Extended Cab comes with 16-inch steel wheels and cabin appointments like air conditioning, a tachometer, the rear-access doors, variable intermittent wipers, front bench seat split 40/20/40, several power outlets and multiple cupholders, plus an audio kit with AM/FM/CD player.

DuroCross V8 Extended Cab adds alloy wheels and a heavy-duty towing package with power controls for driver's seat and Bluetooth hands-free phone link. DuroCross with 4WD beefs up hardware for off-road work with Goodrich All Terrain tires, high-pressure gas shocks, a skid plate package and limited slip differential.

Raider XLS Double Cab stocks front bucket seats and a leather package, heated power mirrors and automatic dimming rearview mirror, a heavy-duty trailer tow package and high-output audio kit.

Mitsubishi cranks the MSRP down to $19,180 for the entry-level Raider LS Extended Cab.

For more information visit the Mitsubishi website here.

2006 Mitsubishi Raider
Mid-size 4-door pickup
Model options:

Raider LS
Raider DuroCross
Raider XLS

Cab options:

Extended Cab
Double Cab

131.3 inches
Overall length:
219.9 inches
Max Towing Capacity:
6500 pounds
Engine size:

SOHC 3.7-L V6
SOHC 4.7-L V8

V6: Manual/6/Getrag 238
V8: Auto/5/5-45RFE

Rear/front drive

Power rack and pinion

Power disc/drum
rear ABS
opt. ABS/EBD

Air bags:
2 (front)
+ opt. 4 (side curtain)
Fuel mileage city/hwy:

V6 M/6 2WD: 16/22 mpg
V6 M/6 4WD: 16/20 mpg
V6 A/4 2WD: 17/22 mpg
V6 A/4 4WD: 15/19 mpg
V8 A/5 2WD: 15/20 mpg
V8 A/5 4WD: 14/19 mpg


Est. $ 19,180 to $ 30,675