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2006 Mitsubishi Raider XLS Doublecab 4x4

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San Francisco:  Itís a Dodge Dakota with a funny looking body. Thatís how I described the 2006 Mitsubishi Raider XLS Doublecab 4x4, a compact pickup truck that Mitsubishi introduced for 2006, when people asked what I was driving last week.

Although Mitsubishi claims the Raider ďstorms the North American import truck market,Ē in reality itís built in Detroit on the same assembly line as its Dodge-branded sibling. Itís no more imported than the apple pie in your momís oven.

Thereís actually a little more that separates the Mitsubishi from the Dodge, but nothing major. The interior looks different, and the Japanese-brand truck is priced slightly cheaper. The big difference is all about style.

While the Dakota is obviously inspired by the giant Ramís big-rig look, the Mitsubishi seems to have more in common with the sleek Eclipse coupe. Its smooth profile, particularly on the front grille and fenders, looks sporty and athletic rather than tough and brawny. It seems to be the more youthful and refined of the two.

The same sporty look extends to the interior, where a clean, simple layout appears to be ripped right out of a classy sports sedan. The whole cabin is pleasing to look at, and itís built at least as well - if not more so - than the Dakota.

Itís also a very comfortable place to spend time. The base model comes well equipped from the factory, and high-end options like satellite radio, leather seats, Bluetooth wireless technology and a stereo that plays MP3s make it stand out from the small-truck crowd. Most of those features are more common in full-size trucks with giant-size price tags.

Two other features give the Raider one of the best cabins of any compact truck: lots of storage space and a nearly silent highway ride. Little storage compartments and cupholders are scattered throughout the cabin, including deep bins in the doors and a cavernous opening in the center console thatís covered by an armrest. And even at high speeds, the Raider has such a hushed ride that itís hard to believe youíre driving a pickup. The interior is among the best in its class, if not at the very top.

Two engines are available, both of which are decent choices. A 3.7-liter V6 makes 210 horsepower and 235 foot-pounds of torque in the base model, which translates into good performance with awful gas mileage (16 mpg in town and 22 on the highway for two-wheel-drive models).

A bigger V8 is a much better option if you can afford it. It offers significantly more power than the V6 - 25 more horsepower and 55 more foot-pounds of torque - with only a tiny drop off in fuel consumption. The two-wheel-drive V8 model gets 15 mpg in town and 20 on the highway.

In fact, assuming you like the Raiderís unique body, the only downside to this truck is the amount of fuel it gulps. Even if they pick the smaller engine, people who do a lot of driving may find they spend more on gas than they do on the loan payment. Everything else about it is above average, just like the Dakota. Mitsubishi couldnít have started with a better compact-truck platform. 

What was tested? 2006 Mitsubishi Raider XLS Doublecab 4x4 - ($33,920). Options: Premium sound package ($1,440). Total price: $35,360.

Why buy it? At a time when pickups increasingly look like miniature Mack Trucks, this Mitsubishi's styling stands apart from the crowd. It shares is most important parts with the fantastic Dodge Dakota while maintaining its spunky Japanese look.   By Derek Price  © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco

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Byline:  Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Column Name: 
 Feels like a Dodge, looks like a Mitsubishi
 The 2006 Mitsubishi Raider XLS Doublecab 4x4
Word Count:  
Photo Caption: 
 The 2006 Mitsubishi Raider XLS Doublecab 4x4
Photo Credits:  
Mitsubishi Internet Media
Series #:   2005 - 58

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