Mitsubishi had the luxury of focusing solely on the design and appearance
of its new 2006 Raider mid-sized pickup. Dodge had already engineered
the chassis and drivetrain. Under an agreement between DaimlerChrysler
and Mitsubishi, the Raider would be built on the 2005 Dodge Dakota platform
at the Warren, Michigan, truck plant. Mitsu and DCX are now estranged
partners (DaimlerChrysler still owns a 37 percent stake in Mitsubishi
Motors but is no longer funding future development), yet it still made
sense for the Mitsubishi designers to separate the Raider as far as possible
from the Dakota as well as incorporating familiar cues from other current
Mitsu offerings such as the Endeavor and Eclipse.
at Mitsubishi’s Southern California studio drew inspiration from
the Sport Truck Concept that was first shown at the 2004 North American
International Auto Show. The Sport Truck Concept was wrapped with an energetic,
urban-assault skin and came at you with a loud, big-mouth grille and steely
eyed headlamps. As a concept it offered a few clever advancements such
as an electronically operated 4-position tailgate, open-air seating for
the rear passengers and an integrated bed.
The Raider’s front end is less aggressive than the Concept. The
grille opening has been closed with a wider lower jaw dressed in silver.
A clean mesh grille adds even more highlight. The headlamps aren’t
as sleek as the Concept, and the driving lights are smaller and round.
The overall sheet metal is rounder and softer than its sharp-ended Dodge
cousin while still being confined to the Dakota’s measurements.
Only the roof and rear cab panels are common.
The overall appearance is pleasing and will not be confused with other
mid-sized pickups. Whether it’s distinctive enough to draw pickup
shoppers back into Mitsubishi dealerships again is yet to be determined.
Mitsubishi had a strong history in compact pickups in the ‘70s and
‘80s, building the Mighty Max for itself and the Ram 50 for Dodge
(a version called the Arrow was also sold by Plymouth dealers for a short
time). But when Dakota was introduced as the first mid-sized pickup in
1987, there was less need for a compact pickup by Dodge. The Ram 50 was
dropped in 1994 and the Mighty Max died a year later. Mitsubishi still
manufacturers pickups out of Japan but only for other countries.
the Raider, which was the name of a former Mitsubishi SUV, comes down
to pricing (which has not been released yet), content, dealership experience
and availability of a better warranty. While the Raider will not offer
Mitsubishi’s generous 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty,
it will go with a 5-year/60,000-mile coverage. Basic warranty is also
5-year/60,000-mile with rust protection for 7-year/100,000-mile. That
compares to a standard 3-year/36,000 mile basic and powertrain warranty
offered by Dodge with 5-year/100,000-mile rust protection.
The Raider will be offered in extended cab and Double Cab configurations
only; both built on a 131.3-inch wheelbase and available in 2- or 4-wheel-drive.
Extended cab models feature a 6.4-foot-long cargo box while the crew cab
model has a shorter 5.3-foot-long box. Base engine is a 210-horsepower,
3.7-liter V6. Also available is a 230-horsepower, 4.7-liter V8. While
there isn’t much difference in horsepower—or fuel economy—between
the two engines, the V8 offers 55 lb-ft more torque. EPA mileage estimates
fall in range of 15-17 mpg city/19-22 mpg highway. The V6 can be mated
to a 6-speed manual or a 4-speed auto while the V8 choices include 5-speed
manual or automatic. The 4.7-liter High Output V8 engine offered on the
Dakota is not available on the Raider. Max towing capacity is 6500 pounds
on a properly equipped model.