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2006 Mitsubishi Raider Road Test

by John Matras
Photos by Charles Ofria

Category: $23,000 - $32,000 Rear-wheel Drive (or 4WD) Compact Pickup Truck
Who should buy this car: A person looking for a workhorse compact pickup truck with style and Flare
Comparable cars in this class: Chevrolet Colorado, Dodge Dakota,  Ford Ranger, GMC Canyon, Isuzu i-Series, Mazda B-Series, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma
Bulges, weve been told, are sexy. No doubt thats why Mitsubishi gave em to their new Raider pickup. With Dodge covering the baby semi-tractor look and the Ford and Chevy dreadnoughts locking up the traditional American pickup style, Mitsubishi had to do something different just to get noticed.

Hence the bulges. The Raider pickup, says Mitsubishi, aims to capture the new generation of truck buyers with upscale tastes, urban style and a passion for performance. Rev up the sex appeal. Its time for seizing the essence of Mitsubishi in spirit and function.

And if you dont like the essence of Mitsubishi styling, then youre not among the younger, affluent truck buyers who have a strong sense of purpose and know where they want to go in life. You old fogey, you.

Theres still more. Mitsubishi goes on about this younger markets insatiable appetite for adventure and fun, but underneath the Raider is still a pickup truck and thats what were here to talk about. And under it all is Dodges mid-size Dakota pickup. Its the same frame, the same V-6 and V-8 engines, and the same DaimlerChrysler assembly plant in Warren, Michigan.

From there, Mitsubishi goes its own way with its own sheet metal, packaging and options. The Raider is available in LS and XLS trim, but the XLS is available as a double cab with a 4.7-liter V-8. The base model LS comes as an extended cab with a V-6 but with the choice of 6-speed Getrag manual transmission or four-speed automatic. Its also offered as a double cab with either the V-6 or V-8 engine.

DuroCross is Mitsubishis tag for its off-road sport oriented models. Again, there are V-6 and V-8 extended cabs and double cabs. Four-wheel drive is available only with the V-8. Our test truck was a well-equipped V-8 4WD extended cab DuroCross, just the thing for the aforementioned insatiatiable-appetited younger-generation urban-sensibility buyer. Thats not us, but well give it a fair shake.

Either you like the looks of it or dont. The blocky square-fendered look is derived from the Mitsubishi SUVs, but on the Raider its even more exaggerated, with angled-back headlamps and deeply contoured (probably) anime-inspired grille. The sides have generously flared wheel openings and the taillamps have fashionably clear red lenses. If you like bulges, the Raider has em in spades.

The DuroCross package includes identifying cosmetic cues, but also heavy-duty shocks, plus front suspension and fuel tank skid plates, add-on fender flares and mudguards, and larger tires and wheels (LT265/70 BF Goodrich All Terrain with 16x8 machine-finish alloy wheels). A heavy duty 750A battery, transmission oil and power steering coolers are also included. DuroCross models also get a Class IV trailer hitch, limited slip rear differential and 3.92 rear axle ratio.

The 230-horse/290 lb-ft of torque V-8 is a workhorse. Our test Raider DuroCross has a rated towing capacity of 6,200 lbs. The trucks payload is 1,180 lbs.

We were blessed, if you can call it that, with several inches of snow, and even with that our standard test rock-covered climbing road was little challenge for the Raider DuroCross, even when we accidentally left it in 2-wheel high range, though 4-wheel drive range would have been more secure. A rotary knob that selects 2-high, 4-high, neutral and 4-low is almost hidden under the dash, and in fact requires ducking to see where its set. Theres no all-wheel drive setting either. Youll have to make the decision on shifting into 4-wheel drive on your own. Its all part of the adventure and fun.

The urban sensibilities, we suspect, come from the optionaltake a breath508W AM/FM/6CD changer W/MP3, 6 Alpine speakers and Sirius satellite radio with 6-months subscription, a subwoofer with enclosure and steering wheel audio controls. Front bucket seats and a center console are also included, all for $1,845. The subwoofers enclosure is called an Alpine Sound Box. Its a massive mound between the rear seats (such that they are) that emits a lot of bass and a toxic green glow through a translucent panel on its front side. The same green, back-lit, illuminates the white-faced instrument panel.

The front buckets are broad and reasonably bolstered for their purpose. Theyre comfortable for the long haul, and despite the big tires and heavy duty shocks, its not an uncomfortable ride. Theres minimal bouncing from the combination of stiff suspension and big, heavy tires. Despite the open block design, the tires dont whine, the whole package quiet enough to notice that theres more wind noise from the B-pillar than from the A-pillar. The 4.7-liter V-8 has exhaust nicely tuned to emit a nice, round part-throttle bellow.

Assorted details: There are power outlets in the center consoles bin, under the center stack and between the rear seats. The console bin is big, almost big enough to hold a standard sized laptop computer. Almost. The HVAC controls are big enough to be operated with gloves, but not the audio system.

Cruise control buttons are on the drivers side of the steering wheel, with the audio control buttons on the back side. Theyre not labeled, of course, but easy to learn, even by trial and error. Even we did it. And never hit them accidentally either.

The touch surfaces are good, the leather covered steering wheel in particular. There are three cup holders for the front seat, none for the rear. The front also has an extra tray in the console, plus a slot thats sized just right to hold a large McDonalds fries.

Whether the McDs fries are sufficiently upscale and urban for Mitsubishis intended audience is yet to be determined, but if a burger and fries are the essence of Mitsubishi in spirit and function, the Raider DuroCross has a lock on it.

Base price for our 2006 Mitsubishi Raider 4WD DuroCross V-8 Extended Cab is $28,590. Add the $1,845 added by the High Output Audio package, plus $645 destination, the total MSRP comes to $31,080. Whatever, dude. But if you like bulges, do we have a truck for you!

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Specifications

2006 Mitsubishi Raider DuroCross Extended Cab.

 

Raider V8

Raider V6

Engine Type 4.7 liter Single Overhead Cam 16 valve V8 3.7 liter Single Overhead Cam 12 valve V6
Horsepower 230 @ 4,600 RPM 210 @ 5,200 RPM
Torque 290 @ 3,600 RPM 235 @ 3,600 RPM
Fuel Recommended

Regular Unleaded.

Transmission (std.)
Transmission (opt.)
5-speed automatic
N/A
6 Speed manual transmission
4-speed automatic
Drive Type Front Wheel Drive Rear Wheel Drive or Four Wheel Drive
Tires  P265/65R17 all terrain tires P245/70R16
Overall Length

219.9"

Wheelbase

131.3"

Width

71.9"

Turning Diameter

44 ft. Curb to Curb

Curb Weight 4,593 lbs. 4,317 lbs.
Fuel Tank

22 Gals

Miles Per Gallon 15 mpg city, 20 mpg highway 16 mpg city, 22 mpg highway
Base Sticker Price $25,440 + $645 destination charge $19,180 + $645 destination charge

Standard Equipment
(Partial List)

  • 6-speed manual transmission (V6)

  • 5-speed automatic transmission (V8)

  • Steel rims

  • Front disc, rear drum brakes with rear wheel ABS

  • Cloth upholstery

  • Rear jump seats (extended cab)

  • 5 passenger seating (double cab)

  • Air conditioning

  • Manual driver and passenger exterior mirrors

  • AM/FM in-dash single CD player stereo with 4 speakers

DuroCross adds:
(Partial List)

  • 4 speed Automatic Transmission (5 speed automatic on V8)

  • Rear limited slip differential

  • Painted alloy rims

  • Auxiliary transmission fluid cooler

  • Step running boards

  • Font fog/driving lights

  • Power windows

  • Cruise control

  • Tilt-adjustable steering wheel

  • Remote driver and passenger exterior mirrors

  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel

  • Dual vanity mirrors

XLS Adds:
(Partial List)

  • 4.7 liter V8 engine

  • 5-speed automatic transmission

  • 17 inch chrome alloy rims with all terrain tires

  • Leather upholstery

  • 6-way power driver seat

  • Remote power door locks

  • Heated mirrors

  • Front console with storage

  • Electrochromatic inside rearview mirror

  • AM/FM in-dash 6 CD player stereo with 4 speakers

Major Available Options
(Some items are only available as part of a package)

  • 4 wheel drive

  • Automatic transmission

  • Bed liner

  • High Output Audio Package

For more information on the Raider, visit  Mitsucars.com

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