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By Conor Twomey
subscribeIf you don’t mind, I’d like to
partake of the corporate two-step where we all pretend this is a new model and
dance around references to the donor vehicle.
The Mitsubishi Raider might be a Dodge Dakota beneath the sheetmetal but I’m certainly not going to make mention of it. After all, this is probably the last occasion when the two companies will share a vehicle like this. DaimlerChrysler distanced itself from Mitsubishi rather rapidly as soon as the Japanese company’s recall scandal mess hit the media fan, though to its credit it agreed to maintain its involvement in any co-operative efforts already in the works. Good job, too, because cash-strapped Mitsubishi needs to start shifting some metal and soon.
I can’t imagine the Raider is going to yield much in the way of profit for the Japanese brand but it does generate column inches and it gets people into the showroom, which is never a bad thing.
It’s also a lucky thing for Mitsubishi that the nameless mid-size pickup on which the Raider is based is a decent machine to begin with. The Raider shares its box-frame chassis; its suspension and drivetrains; most of its engine range; its transmissions, its basic interior architecture; the structural bodywork and the glazing with this vehicle. The only real differences are to the external sheetmetal, some of the interior surfacing and the way the range is structured. These are small changes but they’re remarkably effective because they rectify the two main problems I have with that other unnamed domestic pickup: namely, the way it looks inside and out.