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The Dodge Dakota used to be a strong-seller in the mid-size pickup truck segment. It could even be argued that the first generation Dakota invented the mid-sized truck segment when it was introduced in the mid-'80s, being significantly larger than the Chevy S-10, Ford Ranger and other compact trucks of the time. But in recent years, particularly since the third generation version was introduced, the sales of the Dakota have slowed, dropping almost 27% in 2006.

The 2008 Dakota gets smoothed over while maintaining the dropped fender look characteristic of Dodge trucks since the 1993 Ram was introduced. In addition to the facelift, the 2008 Dakota gets a reworked version of the 4.7L V-8 cranking out 25% more power, now 290 hp/320lb-ft of torque, and it can run on E85. The base engine remains the 3.7L V-6, which is basically the 4.7 minus two cylinders. The interior has also been redesigned to make it more appealing. We'll have more details later this week when Chrysler shows the new truck at the Chicago Auto Show.

Check out Dodge's official press release for more details after the jump, and check out our high-resolution gallery here.

[Source: Dodge]


Dodge Reveals New 2008 Dakota

Restyled Dodge Dakota offers more power combined with bold styling, versatility and capability

• New 4.7-liter V-8 engine with 290 horsepower (25 percent increase) and 320 lb.-ft. of torque (10 percent increase), with better fuel economy and increased refinement – the only V-8 option available in the segment
• First-for-the-segment standard remote starter
• All-new exterior in Extended Cab and Crew Cab body styles
• New interior features greatest space of any mid-size truck, with 30 cubic feet of interior space in Extended Cab models; 37.1 cubic feet for Crew Cab
• The largest and longest standard cargo bed in its class: 6-foot-6-inches in the Extended Cab
• Best-in-class towing capability of up to 7,050 pounds
• New features include built-in cargo-box utility rails, heated bench seats, under-seat storage system

Chicago – Feb. 7, 2006 – Chrysler Group today unveiled the new 2008 Dodge Dakota mid-size truck with a new engine that not only offers 25 percent more horsepower and 10 percent more torque, but also better fuel economy and increased refinement. The 2008 Dodge Dakota also features new exterior and interior styling, and many best-in-class capabilities. The new truck arrives in dealerships in August.

New for 2008 are striking exterior and interior enhancements that bear signature Dodge styling cues while creating a new persona for Dakota.

"The new 2008 Dodge Dakota was redesigned to broaden its appeal to younger customers with active lifestyles," said Tom Loveless, Director – Dodge Marketing and Global Communications. "Dodge Dakota will attract 25- to 35-year-old individuals who need a vehicle to meet a variety of needs. Depending on an owners' lifestyle, the 2008 Dodge Dakota may be equipped for work or play, but every Dakota is equipped with capability and versatility."

Powertrain selections
Dodge trucks have always earned a reputation as bold, powerful and capable. The powerful and capable parts of the equation in the 2008 Dodge Dakota begin with powertrain choices, which include a new V-8 engine -- the only V-8 option available in the mid-size pickup segment.

The new 4.7-liter V-8 offers better fuel economy, power and torque than the previous 4.7-liter High Output engine, while at the same time delivering improvements in refinement. The new 4.7-liter V-8 incorporates two spark plugs per cylinder (the only Chrysler Group engine to do so, other than the 5.7-liter HEMI®), increased compression ratio, improved cylinder-head port flow and a new combustion system. The result is 290 horsepower, a 25 percent increase; and 320 lb.-ft. of torque, a 10 percent increase. The new engine is also capable of operating on E85 ethanol fuel, making the Dodge Dakota equipped with this engine a Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV).

Refinement improvements in the new 4.7-liter V-8 result from significant revisions to the induction system, a lightweight piston/rod assembly and reduced accessory drive noise through lower accessory drive speed. Engine smoothness at idle is enhanced with a new valve-lash adjuster system. The new 4.7-liter V-8 is also equipped with Electronic Throttle Control.

The new 2008 Dodge Dakota comes standard with a 3.7-liter Magnum® V-6 engine producing 210 horsepower and 235 lb.-ft. of torque. The engine also comes with Electronic Throttle Control for positive throttle response, and exhaust gas recirculation to help lower emissions.

A first-for-the-segment remote starter for more convenience is standard on both the 3.7-liter and 4.7-liter engines in the 2008 Dodge Dakota.

The new 2008 Dodge Dakota's powerplants are backed up by a choice of a six-speed manual transmission, standard on all V-6 equipped 2008 Dodge Dakota models except Laramie; a four-speed automatic with overdrive available with Dakota's V-6 engine; and a five-speed automatic available on V-8-equipped models.

For more capability when traction is at a premium, the new 2008 Dodge Dakota may be equipped with a transfer case featuring two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive with locked high and low ranges, or an available transfer case with full-time four-wheel drive as well as selections for locked high and low ranges. The 2007 Dodge Dakota is the only pickup in its segment to offer full-time four-wheel drive.

New look, more model choices
In addition to powerful and capable, Dodge trucks are also known as bold.

For that part of the equation, the 2008 Dodge Dakota's exterior includes a newly styled hood, grille, front fascia, rear spoiler, fenders and headlamps. The front end has been designed to improve aerodynamics and features better fit and gap management. The hood surface was designed to signify power and further amplify the drop-fendered, signature look for Dodge trucks. With these styling enhancements, the "face" of the 2008 Dodge Dakota is better aligned with the rest of the Dodge truck lineup.

Like the Dodge Nitro, headlamps are rectangular units primarily for a contemporary appearance, but also to maximize the surface area for better forward lighting. Reflectors are deep-set behind each lense to achieve a serious demeanor.

All-new fascias better integrate with the restyled grille and incorporate fog lamps. The 2008 Dodge Dakota's tailgate includes a new spoiler that helps smooth air flow over the rear of the truck to improve fuel economy, and the top surface of the cargo box has a new protective surface.

"The Dodge truck DNA is well-understood in the marketplace. We are creators of trucks with a distinct flair for style and no compromise in function," said Ralph Gilles, Vice President – Jeep®/Truck and Color and Trim Studios, and Specialty Vehicles, Chrysler Group Design. "We restyled the 2008 Dodge Dakota to reflect that DNA in a package that presents the Dakota as both a sporty lifestyle vehicle and a work truck."

For 2008, the Dodge Dakota will again be offered in two body styles – Extended Cab and Crew Cab – and six trim levels: ST, SXT, SLT, TRX4, Sport and Laramie.

Interior loaded with form and function
The new 2008 Dodge Dakota's interior includes a new instrument panel, center console and accent finishes, and several new interior storage choices.

"The interior is designed to provide an ergonomically friendly cockpit with improved comfort, utility and thoughtful storage amenities to complement a variety of lifestyles," said Gilles.

The 2008 Dodge Dakota Extended Cab's available Full Swing™ rear access doors open nearly 170 degrees – unique in the segment -- to an interior with class-leading room and seating for five. With rear seats folded, up to 30 cubic feet of storage space is available. A total of six storage hooks are located on the Extended Cab's rear interior panel.

Separately, the 2008 Dodge Dakota Crew Cab offers best-in-class room – 37.1 cubic feet -- and seating for up to six. With rear seats folded, a new under-seat storage system, a first for Dodge Dakota, is easily accessible. This system includes a unique, collapsible and removable cargo management system that enables gear to be organized and taken anywhere.

Other storage options are provided throughout the interior. For example, an additional storage bin is located above the glove box, providing easy access for everyday items. An all-new center console incorporates cup holders with modular inserts and a pull-out bin specifically designed to hold electronics such as an MP3 player (which can be plugged into any of the 2007 Dodge Dakota's audio systems), cell phone or Personal Digital Assistant. An additional power outlet is also provided.

Seating is available with YES Essentials® Worry Free Fabric, which is stain-resistant, odor-resistant and anti-static. Heated bench seats are available in the 2008 Dodge Dakota for the first time.

Seating options include an available 40/20/40 split-bench front seat with a folding center armrest. The 2008 Dodge Dakota Extended Cab is available with 40/40 rear-folding seats, while Crew Cab models have a standard 60/40 split-folding rear seat.

Electronic choices include AM-FM stereo radios with MP3 capability and available SIRIUS Satellite Radio that delivers more than 125 channels of music, sports, news, talk and weather. Also available as stand-alone options are a 508-watt SoundBox system (available on Extended Cab models) and a DVD navigation system with turn-by-turn directions. A power accessory delay, standard on all 2008 Dodge Dakotas, allows power functions, including radio, to operate after the vehicle is turned off.

Dodge Dakota = versatility
The foundation of the new 2008 Dodge Dakota is a ladder-type frame, with main rails formed to precision tolerances under liquid pressure and fully boxed for strength and rigidity. All 2008 Dodge Dakotas feature independent front suspension with coil-over shock absorbers. The result is identical ride height for two- and four-wheel-drive models, which contributes to smooth ride and handling characteristics.

The 2008 Dodge Dakota continues to offer the largest and longest standard cargo bed in its class: 6-foot-6-inches in the Extended Cab. Built-in utility rails make cargo box tie-downs infinitely adjustable. The 2008 Dodge Dakota's dual-position tailgate may be secured in a mid-position, which provides support for extra-wide or -long cargo laid on top of wheel wells and extending beyond the end of the bed.

The new 2008 Dodge Dakota also continues to wear the crown for highest tow ratings in the mid-size pickup market, with towing ability of up to 7,050 pounds.

As a complete package, the 2008 Dodge Dakota is as safe as it is capable and versatile. Up front, octagonal front frame rail tips collapse rearward in an impact in order to absorb energy and deter force from the cabin. An anti-lock brake system is standard on rear wheels, and available on all four wheels.

Advance multi-stage driver and front passenger air bags are standard, and supplemental side-curtain air bags are available. Rear head restraints on Crew Cab models, which are designed for the driver's rearward visibility, have a foam-padded structure for increased protection.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago

      This looks like the long lost ugly brother of the Ford Ranger Edge.
      Jim Gilliland
      • 8 Years Ago
      Oh , the fanboy boobirds are out in full force...and I seems as if those boobirds have dirreha of the mouth...

      Example...the Dakota and its ride. From the 2005 MT TOTY comparison...

      "The Dakota's stretched interior comfortably fit several taller drivers who felt pinched in the Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. That and its >>>>unusually refined ride quality and hushed interior
      • 8 Years Ago
      Very very ugly. No clue at Chysler right now.
      • 8 Years Ago
      All I wanna know is are those engine and transmission upgrades will trickle down to Mitsubishi Raider which in my opinion not only looks better but offers a better warranty and is $500 cheaper. Basically the same truck with different body style and better warranty.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "My '99 Intrepid had a nicer interior."

      That's hilarious. Out of all the 2nd generation LH cars, the Intrepid by far had the worst interior, crappy seats, and the same color plastic all over. The 1st generation had it better.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Amazing 25% more HP in the 4.7lt. now the 4.7 is finally a worthy motor. I cant understand why all you guys are trashing every single product from Chrysler that comes out. Maybe you are threatened because Chrysler is hitting the world seen hard and having record sales around the world every month. I like the new Dakota and hope they can make it in RHD and bring it to Australia and i will buy one.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Sometimes I wonder if DCX is purposely making Dodge/Chrysler cars and trucks ugly? A 1st year design student could design a more pleasing interior.

      It's 2007 -- it's time for the SEA OF GRAY interiors to go away, even on trucks! Heck, a 1993 Dakota is better looking inside and out!
      Jim Gilliland
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ken, I'm curious as to why you think Dodge "blew it big time"?

      Also, I agree with you that looks (I think that was your message) are at the top of why people by a certain vehicle. But in the pickup truck market, you are totally wrong..."capabilities" can be the prime consideration.

      Actually, going with the argument (I think you made in a convaluded way) I don't see how you could NOT pick the Dakota.

      Anyway, styling is subjective, but capabilities can be measured...and the 2008 Dakota comes out on top here in most every category...and people by trucks on capabilities as much as looks.

      It seems to me as though you have never owned a truck...or if you have, it was totally a vanity purchase and not intended to do what a truck was intended to do, perform work.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I suppose those who buy a vehicle for looks rather then use, may not be pleased. As well as those who want the newest and latest gadget. What is appealing to those who want this as a truck, and not eye candy, is the size. The Dakota is pretty well the size of truck, the other ones use to be. While the Fords GMCs and big brother Dodges grew to be a PITA to park and maneuver, the Dakota filled the gap. Unfortunately the smaller trucks caught up in size and the Dakota is no longer a novelty.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Oops and the last gen Sebring was there.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Nice orange peal paint job reflection on the rear right side box view.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think all automobile interiors are becoming more plastic then they used to be. A friends Buick Rainer, and another friends Ford Focus are more “plasticy” than my 1996 Ford Taurus. Yes, my goofy interior does not feel nearly as cheap as a dinky econobox, and a expensive SUV. And yes, I will gladly admit they are bland and cheap. Caliber/Compass anyone? The ’06 Ram redesign looks too “stretched” compared to the 02-05 Ram trucks. Oh yeah, I liked the first Gen LH interiors better too.

      Why not offer a single cab? That’d be more attractive, and would probably offset the fugly looks, well sales wise. I’m sure Dodge lost some business by removing the single cab. Not everyone needs an extended cab, you know.
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