Mitsubishi fans have had little to rave about in recent years. That’s why we could hear their cheers from here when the all-new Eclipse sports coupe arrived last spring. Now it’s time for part two of the Mitsubishi revival, this 2006 Raider. It’s a mid-size pickup with a youthful attitude, but one that’s not so much cocky as confident.

That confidence comes from the fact that the 2006 Mitsubishi Raider shares all of its mechanical bits, including a fully boxed frame, with the already successful, new generation Dodge Dakota mid-size pickup. But the Raider, in LS, DuroCross, and XLS trim, is no stick-on-badge engineered clone. Styling, front to back, is unmistakably Mitsubishi. There’s an aggressive twin-port grille with battering ram lower facia. The Raider also sports a distinctive hood, multi-reflector headlights, and unique stepped fenders with flared wheel arches that carry through to the cargo box. 16-inch tires and rims are standard, with our XLS Double-Cab supported by 17-inch alloys.

DuroCross is the most rugged trim, adding blacked-out fender flares, side steps, fog lights, mud guards, and knobby off-road tires on painted 16-inch wheels. Make your DuroCross a 4X4 and tow hooks and skid plates are included. The Raider’s prize-fighter look is available in two four-door body styles. An extended cab with rear access panels and a 6-foot 4-inch bed, and our Double Cab with crew-cab doors and a 5-foot 3-inch bed.

Powertrains are pure Dodge Dakota. Standard is a 3.7-liter single-cam V-6 with 210-horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque, with either a Getrag 6-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic. Our XLS had the top choice, a 4.7-liter single-cam V-8 with 230 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque, coupled to a 5-speed automatic. With the Heavy Duty Trailer Tow Package, Raider has the guts to tow 6,600 pounds. 

Now, we don’t usually test on a damp track. Still our 2-wheel-drive Double-Cab turned 9 seconds from 0 to 60, with the quarter mile slipping past in 17.1 seconds at 81 miles-per-hour. Actually slightly faster than a Dakota V8 we tested last year. A nice surprise was how securely the Raider handled its way around a slick track, not something pickups are known for.

Standard brakes are front discs with dual piston calipers and rear drums with ABS. Our truck had ABS at all four wheels and stopped from 60 in128 feet. That’s better than many test vehicles do on dry pavement. Stability again was first rate. Also first rate is the interior of our Raider XLS, but it is plainer than rivals like Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier.  It’s straightforward, with Dakota’s oversized controls and vents, durable materials, and clear chrono-style gauges.

Standard Double Cab seating is a 40/20/40 front bench. Our XLS has buckets. The rear bench is a 60/40 folding design. With that the cab can take up to 37.1 cubic feet of covered cargo. Of course there’s always room in the bed for lots more, and an available bed extender helps in handling sporting loads like motorcycles and ATVs.

Fuel economy is pretty typical for a mid-size pickup, 15 city and 20 highway with our V8. We managed 17 in normal everyday driving, or about what rival mid-size trucks manage with a V6. And this new attitude pickup has a wide range of prices.  Base sticker starts at $19,180 for a V6 LS Extended Cab 4X2. $29,235 buys a V8 DuraCross Extended Cab 4X4. Our well-optioned V8 XLS Double Cab 4X2 totaled $31,470.

While some might still complain that the 2006 Mitsubishi Raider is a cut-and-paste effort from DaimlerChrysler’s parts bins, we’re still pretty impressed. And we understand Mitsubishi’s confidence in their new mid-size pickup. It’s the right vehicle to get a lot of attention, and for another giant comeback step.



  • Engine (xls): 4.7-Liter Single-cam V8
  • Horsepower: 230
  • Torque: 290 Lb Feet
  • 0-60 MPH: 9.0 Seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 17.1 Seconds @ 81 MPH
  • 60-0 MPH: 128 Feet
  • EPA: 15 City/20 Highway MPG