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Thursday, February 23, 2006 

2006 Mitsubishi Raider: A Rebadged Delight!

Author: Matthew C. Keegan
If you were to examine the new Mitsubishi Raider, your eyes
would behold the unmistakable triad logo centered in the middle
of its beefy looking grille. However, as you let your eyes run
the full length of the truck's body and take a look at its
styling cues, you would see something different, yet very
familiar. Indeed, apart from some fascia, body, and cabin
changes, the Raider is without a doubt a Dodge Dakota. Yes, the
tables have been reversed and Mitsubishi's pick up truck is now
a Dodge instead of the other way around. Beyond the obvious
similarities there are some differences between the models that
gives the Raider a uniqueness all of its own.

Back during the 1970s and 1980s when Chrysler needed small cars
and trucks to fill out its limited line up, the company tapped
its business relationship with Mitsubishi to supply what it
needed. Included in the mix was a small pick up truck, most
recently the D50. When Chrysler developed the midsized Dakota
during the late 1980s, the need for the small Mitsubishi truck
decreased and by the early 1990s the D50 was no more.

Mitsubishi for its part has long been a builder of small trucks,
but as the automaker began to sell vehicles in the North
American market, its line up has grown appreciably. Demand for a
small Mitsubishi pick up truck dropped so the "Mighty Max" was
discontinued from its line up. Eventually, the automaker decided
to partner with DaimlerChrysler to sell rebadged Dakotas as
Raiders.

The relationship is smart as the Raider fills a void for
Mitsubishi while allowing DaimlerChrysler to keep its truck
building capacity high. As odd as the relationship may seem,
Isuzu and General Motors are doing the same thing as both Isuzu
vehicles sold in the U.S. are rebadged GMC trucks.

So, what sets the Raider apart from the pact, particularly its
Dodge cousin? Price for one. Starting out at around $19,000, the
truck is priced as low as some of the smaller trucks on the
market including the popular Toyota Tacoma. Apparently,
Mitsubishi wanted to have an entry level model to meet expected
demand. Yes, bare bones versions of the Tacoma can be had for
much less, but that is what you get, bare bones. There is no
four cylinder Raider sold, you either get a 210 h-p V6 or a
beefy 230 h-p V8 to power your Raider. The V8 is especially
appealing to those who tow as its pulling capacity is a
respectable 6500 lbs. Tranny choices include either 4 or 5 speed
automatics or a 6 speed manny tranny.

The Raider comes available as either a 4x2 or a 4x4 and with two
or four door cab configurations. Seating capacity can be as high
as six passengers although you wouldn't be as comfortable riding
in a Raider/Dakota with six people as you would be in a full
sized Ram.

What many Raider fans will like is the extra care Mitsubishi
gave to the interior. Unlike the Dakota, the Raider comes with
trim features more akin to a sedan than to a pick up truck.
Sirius satellite radio, Alpine speakers, front bucket seats with
heated leather surfaces, and power everything are some of the
features that make the Raider much more than a truck.

Ten years after the last "Mighty Max" pick up trucks were sold
by Mitsubishi, a new truck has entered the fold thanks to an
important relationship with DaimlerChrysler. Perhaps the success
of this relationship will spawn additional model sharing. Could
we see a rebadged Dodge Ram soon sold as a Mitsubishi? In these
days of extensive model sharing, anything is possible.

About the author:
Copyright 2006 - Matt Keegan is The Auto Writer who
covers industry trends, new models, classic cars and much more.
Are you interested in saving money on auto parts? If so, please
shop the Wholesale Auto Parts store for the best selection of Mitsubishi parts
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