2000 Dakota New Car Test Drive
Goldilocks would have liked the Dodge Dakota. Some people find large, full-sized pickups too big, and smaller, compact trucks too small. Larger than the Ford Ranger, Chevy S-10 and other so-called compact pickups, the Dodge Dakota is the largest compact truck on the market today. It's really an intermediate-sized pickup.
Inside, the Dakota just got bigger with the introduction of the four-door Quad Cab. It features four forward-swinging doors and a back seat that's roomier than those found in extended-cab pickups. While the Quad Cab doesn't have as much room in the rear seating area as a full-size crew cab like the Ford F-150 SuperCrew, it does have more interior room than you'll find in other compact trucks.
Dodge Dakota is available in three cab configurations: Regular Cab, Club Cab, and Quad Cab. Club Cabs are only available with two doors.
Choose from three trim levels: base, Sport and SLT. Base Regular Cab 2WD retails for $13,555; Sport Regular Cab 2WD goes for $14,860; and SLT Regular Cab sells for $16,975. Sport trim adds better seats and interior trim and upgrades to the exterior. SLT offers more luxuries, bright bumpers and grille, and more options.
Dakota's stable offers an array of engines: 2.5-liter inline-4, 3.9-liter V6, 4.7-liter V8, and 5.7-liter V8. The 4.7-liter is new to the Dakota line this year. Manual and automatic transmissions are available; the 4.7-liter offers a sophisticated new automatic as an option. Two types of four-wheel drive are available: One is a part-time system with shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive that works well for off-road use. The other is a fulltime four-wheel-drive system designed to provide all-weather traction capability.
Gone is the optional 8-foot bed. New color choices: dark garnet, red pearl coat, sierra bronze pearl coat, amber fire pearl coat, and patriot blue pearl coat.
Limited-production R/T models come with a high-performance version of the 5.9-liter V8. Less restrictive exhaust increases horsepower and torque and offers a more aggressive exhaust note. Available on 2WD Regular or Club Cabs, the Dakota R/T Sport Group includes aggressive (255/55R17) tires mounted on 17-inch aluminum wheels, heavy-duty stabilizer bars, and a limited-slip rear differential. The R/T is lowered 1 inch. The package adds bucket seats, fog lights, special trim and a long list of convenience items. It adds $2,410 to a Club Cab and $2,370 to a Regular Cab.