Home Car From the Archives: 1987 Dodge Raider | Evaluations

From the Archives: 1987 Dodge Raider | Evaluations

From the Archives: 1987 Dodge Raider | Evaluations


From the June 1987 challenge of Automobile and Driver.

Chrysler has been eating on delicacies from Mitsubishi so lengthy, it hardly even bothers to prepare dinner anymore. For a decade and a half, the company’s urge for food for small vehicles and vans has been sated massive­ly by its Japanese buying and selling companion. It was solely pure, then, for Chrysler to scan the Mitsubishi menu when it acquired hungry for a brand new four-wheel-drive utility automobile. When the Chrysler guys acquired all the way down to “Montero,” they known as Mitsubishi and mentioned, “Guess who’s coming to dinner?”

Chrysler seized on the Montero be­trigger the company’s lineup seemed like a gap-toothed grin. Lacking from the Dodge brigade was something just like the Jeep Wrangler, the Suzuki Samurai, or the Ford Bronco II. Such automobiles signify the small, boxy finish of the off-roader market—rigs which can be much less cumbersome than even the mid-size Chevrolet S-10 Blazer and the Jeep Cherokee. Mitsubishi’s Montero matches this group to a T.

These of you who like four-wheel en­counters of the grime sort will recall that Mitsubishi launched the Montero to the U.S. market in 1983. The brand new Dodge Raider is the Montero’s twin: it is a Japa­nese execution of the Bronco II’s fundamental theme, and it is nearly the identical dimension because the Ford, give or take an inch or two within the vital dimensions.

The Raider’s structure follows the category blueprint carefully. Its building is body-on-frame. Its suspension consists of con­trol arms and torsion ban up entrance and a inflexible axle and leaf springs within the rear. The well-known Mitsubishi 2.6-liter four-cylin­der (full with steadiness shafts) sends its 109 horsepower via both a five-speed handbook or a four-speed automated trans­mission. Half-time 4WD, a two-speed switch case, and mechanically locking entrance hubs are normal tools.

To date, the Raider may very well be Anytruck, 4WD division. The Japanese taste comes from its lengthy record of normal options and the best way it goes about its job. There are some variations, nonetheless, between the Dodge and Mitsubishi methods of doing busi­ness off-road.

The Montero comes into this world in both base or Sport guise, however the Raider is a synthesis of the 2. The Dodge will get its garments from the bottom Montero. All of its trim—together with the grille, moldings, mirrors, and bumpers—is black. The low-key look is ok by us, however California four-by aficionados will in all probability lapse into chrome withdrawal. From the Montero Sport the Raider will get full carpeting, fabric seats, the mechanically locking entrance hubs, and, within the heart of the sprint, an auxiliary gauge panel, which incorporates an inclinometer. Just like an plane’s artifi­cial-horizon indicator, the inclinometer measures the angle of grades and warns of impending tip-over; its readings are reliable, nonetheless, solely when the Raider is stationary. A tach, a tilt wheel, a tailgate-mounted spare tire, entrance and rear skid plates, spoker wheels, and tinted glass are additionally normal.

Regardless of at this time’s stronger yen, the Raid­er is an effective worth. You get a number of stuff right here for not a lot cash. Our crimson check Raider was decked out to the gunwales however did not price a second mortgage. Even with A/C, a rear bench seat, an off-road bundle (which features a neat, indepen­dently suspended driver’s seat), and extra, the tab got here to solely $12,212.

That amount of money delivers a relative­ly civilized four-by-four, however nothing you’d ever confuse with a passenger automobile. Varied sedans from Honda, Toyota, Audi, and different makers combine 4WD so properly that you simply would possibly by no means guess they’ve 4 paws accessible for locomotion. The Raider could not idiot you on a guess. From its slab sides to its tall-in-the-saddle driving place, it is pure truck.

When it comes to efficiency, the Raider has sufficient to get by, however none to spare. With 3370 kilos of road-hugging weight to haul round, the large 4 has its palms full attending to 60 mph in lower than sixteen sec­onds. You possibly can sustain with visitors with out a lot pressure and cruise comfortably at 70 to 75 mph, however thrills aren’t included.

Nor does the Raider win any gold stars for trip and dealing with. For automobiles on this class, it is strictly mid-pack. The six-foot-tall physique ideas precariously in onerous cornering, simply pegging the inclinometer. Half­ly due to its brief wheelbase (92.5 inches), the Raider hobbyhorses over most bumps. At the least the suspended driv­er’s seat helps soften the jolts.

1987 dodge raiderView Photographs

Dial-a-physique: The suspended driver’s seat can accommodate pilots from mini to huge.

Dick Kelley|Automobile and Driver

Mitsubishi deserves reward for together with this ingenious perch. Just like the seats in long-haul semis, it is suspended from under, with coil springs and a hydraulic damper to soak up vertical masses. You possibly can set the springs to deal with physiques rang­ing from 125 kilos to greater than 225, or you possibly can lock the suspension system down if you happen to so want.

We devoted most of our time with the Raider to evaluating its on-road conduct, as a result of the civilized world is the place most Raiders will roll up most of their miles. However what of the mudslinger residing in its soul? We additionally spent a while exploring unpaved territory, and right here the Raider is extra in its component. Its Jeep-like fea­tures—8.3 inches of floor clearance, fats mud-and-snow tires, all-wheel drive, and skid plates—provide you with a way of invincibil­ity that makes you go on the lookout for hassle over the subsequent hill. Like most of its compe­tition, the Raider needs to be practically unstop­pable if pushed intelligently.

Checked out this fashion, the Raider basks in a way more flattering gentle. For a rough-and-tumble off-road rig, it is virtually ur­bane. Its inside is nearly luxurious for a automobile within the mountain-goat division, its gearbox snicks with Japanese precision, and its stately coachwork can get by, kind of, in well mannered society.

In the end, the goodness of a automobile just like the Dodge Raider is within the eye of the beholder. If, while you gaze into its paint, you see your self in an Eddie Bauer down jacket and climbing boots, it’s possible you’ll be on to one thing. Alternatively, in case your re­flection is sporting a enterprise go well with, look elsewhere.

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1987 Dodge Raider
Car Kind: front-engine, rear/4-wheel-drive, 4-passenger, 3-door wagon


Base/As Examined: $10,542/$12,212
Choices: air con, $719; rear seat, $358; off-road bundle, $251; AM/FM-stereo radio, $170; rear wiper/washer, $108; rear defroster, $34; spare-tire cowl, $30

SOHC inline-4, iron block and aluminum head, direct gas injection

Displacement: 156 in3, 2555 cm3

Energy: 109 hp @ 5000 rpm

Torque: 142 lb-ft @ 3000 rpm 

5-speed handbook


Suspension, F/R: management arms/inflexible axle

Brakes, F/R: 10.0-in vented disc/10.0-in drum

Tires: Bridgestone Desert Dueler
P225/75R-15 M+S


Wheelbase: 92.5 in

Size: 157.3 in

Width: 66.1 in
Top: 72.8 in

Passenger Quantity, F/R: 46/35 ft3
Cargo Quantity: 14 ft3
Curb Weight: 3370 lb

30 mph: 4.1 sec
60 mph: 15.3 sec
1/4-Mile: 19.8 sec @ 66 mph
80 mph: 38.1 sec

High Gear, 30–50 mph: 12.9 sec

High Gear, 50–70 mph: 17.7 sec

High Pace: 86 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 204 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.68 g 


Noticed: 14 mpg

Metropolis/Freeway: 17/20 mpg 


Headshot of Rich Ceppos

Director, Purchaser’s Information

Wealthy Ceppos has evaluated vehicles and automotive expertise throughout a profession that has encompassed 10 years at Basic Motors, two stints at Automobile and Driver totaling 19 years, and 1000’s of miles logged in racing vehicles. He was in music faculty when he realized what he actually wished to do in life and, by some means, it is labored out. In between his two C/D postings he served as govt editor of Vehicle Journal; was an govt vice chairman at Campbell Advertising & Communications; labored in GM’s product-development space; and have become writer of Autoweek. He has raced repeatedly since school, held SCCA and IMSA professional racing licenses, and has competed within the 24 Hours of Daytona. He presently ministers to a 1999 Miata and a 1965 Corvette convertible and appreciates that none of his youthful colleagues have but uttered “Okay, Boomer” when he tells one in all his tales in regards to the loopy outdated days at C/D.



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