The 2008 Mitsubishi Raider, with its crude engine and simply average road manners, struggles to compete.
Formerly available with a V-8 that at least offered decent torque to motivate this full-framed, live-axle truck, the Raider now hosts a lone V-6 in the engine bay. Displacing 3.7 liters and putting forth 235 pound-feet of torque and 210 horsepower, the only thing going for it in terms of modernity is an overhead camshaft based on Chrysler’s excellent OHC 4.7-liter V-8. But in the transition from eight to six cylinders, smoothness, power, and general desirability are utterly lost in translation. Even the editors at ConsumerGuide find it “underpowered for anything but daily commuting and light loads,” and Edmunds laments “all Raider models make do with a sluggish 3.7-liter powerplant,” which they feel “doesn't exactly bode well for this already forgotten Mitsubishi entry. Performance is unimpressive, to put it mildly.” Kelley Blue Book does remark the engine “performs adequately in around-town driving,” and MyRide.com declares the truck “amply-powered for everyday stow-‘n-go.”
Transmitting the power from crankshaft to differential are two transmissions: a four-speed automatic or a six-speed manual. The six-speed, a “somewhat wide and long-throw gearbox,” according to MyRide.com, is available in the Extended Cab, whereas the Double Cab comes only with the automatic. Both transmissions are deemed adequate conduits for the V-6’s underwhelming power, though it should be noted that only four ratios for an automatic is positively outdated in 2008, and the wider ratio spread they demand hurts the performance of an already lethargic engine. Perhaps that’s one reason Edmunds is only able to coax a Raider to 60 mph in 11.5 seconds, performance that will have you struggling to keep abreast of Kia Spectras and Toyota Priuses. But unlike those misers, you’ll be getting EPA numbers of 16/20 mpg, worst-story (automatic and 4WD) EPA numbers of 14/18 mpg. Four-wheel drive is an option on the Raider.
Thankfully, the handling is a somewhat better story. “The Raider drives exactly as one might suspect -- like a mid-sized truck with no bells and whistles,” says Kelley Blue Book. They “found the suspension, steering, handling and braking were adequate both on- and off-road.” MyRide.com cites the Raider's “decent maneuverability and stopping power,” Car and Driver praises “a minimum of body lean and bounce over country roads,” ConsumerGuide comments that the Raider’s “steering has a direct feel and lacks typical truck sloppiness,” and Edmunds concludes that “handling is stable as trucks go.”