In the late 1980s, Dodge rebadged a version of the Mitsubishi Pajero SUV as the Dodge Raider in the U.S. Then, for the 2006 model year, Dodge siphoned off a trickle of Dakota production for Mitsubishi, which called it—yes—the Raider.
Despite significantly different attire, including an aggressive grille and masculine fender flares, the Raider was a Dakota through and through. Powerplants were familiar to the Mopar crowd: a 3.7-liter SOHC V-6 and a 4.7-liter SOHC V-8. Horsepower for the V-6 is 210, with an unimpressive 230 for the V-8 (rising to 235 for 2007). An automatic (four-speed with the V-6, five-speed behind the V-8) and a six-speed manual were available. The manual/V-8 combo is rare even in Dakotas.
Sold during the third generation of the Dakota, the Raider gained improved suspension, larger brakes, a stiffer chassis, and chiseled styling. For the most part, these were improvements over the far more popular second-generation Dakota (1997-2004), though the tall stance of the rear-drive version (same height as the 4WD) put off some buyers. While Mitsubishi distinguished the Raider from the Dakota with more handsome sheetmetal, it also stepped off the path set by Dodge in dropping the V-8 for 2008. That was the year the Dakota’s 4.7-liter V-8 jumped to 302 horsepower, so you can understand the exasperation of power-hungry Mitsubishi shoppers. In 2008 and 2009, Mitsu offered only the V-6 with rear drive or shift-on-the-fly 4WD working through either the manual or automatic transmissions.
Like the Dakota, the Raider came in two cabin/bed combinations. The Extended Cab features four doors, two of them rear hinged, and room behind the first row for small passengers. It also has a 6.5-foot-long bed. The Double Cab also features four doors, but all are front hinged and the back seats actually accommodate humans. Because both models share the same wheelbase, cabin space reduces capacity for other kinds of cargo: Motorcycle haulers will find the Double Cab’s 5-foot, 3-inch bed pretty limiting.