2001 Dakota New Car Test Drive
Dodge Dakota takes the middle ground in terms of size. Some people find full-size pickups too big, and smaller, compact trucks too small. For them, the Dakota seems just right. The Dakota is larger than the Ford Ranger, Chevy S-10, GMC Sonoma, Toyota Tacoma and other so-called compact pickups, but it's not quite as big as a Ford F-150 or Chevy Silverado.
For 2001, the biggest news is a redesigned interior with a more car-like feel.
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 $13,910; Sport Regular Cab 2WD goes for $14,695; and SLT Regular Cab sells for $16,810. Sport trim adds better seats and interior trim and upgrades to the exterior. SLT offers more luxuries, bright bumpers and grille, and more options.
Four engines are available: a 120-horsepower 2.5-liter inline-4, a 175-horsepower 3.9-liter V6, a 230-horsepower 4.7-liter V8, and a 250-horsepower 5.9-liter V8. The 4.7-liter was new to the Dakota line last year. Manual and automatic transmissions are available, with the 4.7-liter offering a sophisticated five-ratio four-speed 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.
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 $2,420 to a Club Cab and $2,380 to a Regular Cab.