2007 Dakota New Car Test Drive
The Dodge Dakota looks big. And it is big. The Dakota is the biggest pickup in the mid-size class, and the only mid-size truck available with a V8. Dodge claims its 7150-pound maximum towing capacity is by far the best in the class. Dakota looks nearly as big and tough as the full-size Dodge Ram. You might say Dakota is the mid-size pickup with a full-size attitude.
Getting in is easy, and the interior is comfortable and convenient, with controls that are easy to reach and operate. The rear doors on Club Cabs and Quad Cabs open wide, and the Quad Cab can accommodate six. The Club Cab has earned five-star safety ratings in both front and side impact testing by the federal government (NHTSA).
Underway, the Dakota is smooth and quiet. The optional 4.7-liter V8 burbles subtly in the background when cruising, but really scoots when the throttle is mashed. A high-output version with over 310 pound-feet of torque is available if that's not enough. Dakota's steering is light for easy maneuverability in crowded parking lots and the Dakota responds quickly on mountain roads and tracks nice and straight on the highway.
For 2007, the V8 is now flex-fuel capable, meaning it can run on gasoline or up to 85 percent ethanol. A dual-position tailgate is now standard on all models, maximizing versatility when hauling long building materials. One-touch lane-change signaling is available for those who like that feature. And a new power accessory delay allows the radio and other features to continue to operate for period of time after vehicle is keyed off.
New options include a remote starter, stain-resistant fabric; and 18-inch wheels.
If you want a pickup that's big and brawny, but not as big as a full-size, the Dodge Dakota is the biggest and the brawniest.
Dodge Dakota comes in two body styles: The Club Cab is an extended-cab configuration with small, reverse-opening rear doors to access the rear compartment. It comes with a 6 1/2-foot bed. The Quad Cab is a crew-cab style truck with four full-size doors and a 5-foot, 4-inch bed. Each can seat five to six passengers, but back-seat riders will be much more comfortable in the Quad Cab. Both bodies are built on the same 131.1-inch wheelbase.
Three trim levels are available: ST, SLT, and Laramie. Regardless of trim, however, Club Cabs come with a front bench seat split 40/20/40; while Quad Cabs come with front bucket seats, with the bench seat as an option. Bucket seats are optional on SLT and Laramie Club Cabs.
The standard engine is a 3.7-liter V6. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission. An optional four-speed automatic ($1135) is available for ST and SLT; the Laramie comes standard with the automatic. A 4.7-liter V8 engine is available for all models. It comes with a choice of six-speed manual or five-speed automatic on ST and SLT, and again with the automatic only on Laramie. A high-output version of the 4.7-liter V8 is available for the SLT and Laramie, exclusively with the five-speed automatic.
ST Club Cab ($19,135) and Quad Cab ($21,835) come standard with air conditioning, AM/FM/CD stereo with audio auxiliary jack, tinted rear windows, front disc/rear drum brakes with rear-wheel anti-lock (ABS), and 16-inch steel wheels. Quad Cabs have fold-down rear seats.
SLT Club Cab ($22,850) and Quad Cab ($24,180) are upgraded with new YES Essentials seat fabric (claimed to be stain resistant, odor resistant, and anti-static); fold-down rear seats for Club Cabs as well as Quad Cabs; a full-floor console for Quad Cabs; power windows, mirrors and locks with remote keyless entry; cruise control; tilt steering; color-keyed carpet mats; chrome bumpers; fog lights; and 16-inch painted aluminum wheels.
Laramie Club Cab ($24,950) and Quad Cab ($26,250) add leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, premium 276-watt Alpine audio with MP3 capability and 6-CD changer, automatic headlamps, auto-dimming rearview mirror, body-color front bumper, bright bodyside moldings, and a security alarm with Sentry Key engine immobilizer.
Traditional part-time 4WD ($2,850-2,955, in most cases) is available for all models. Full-time 4WD with an electronically controlled locking center differential is available (for $395 more) on SLT and Laramie models with V8 and automatic transmission.
Options include Sirius Satellite Radio ($195, but only with the premium 276-watt or 508-watt sound systems), heated seats ($250, but only with leather), four-wheel ABS ($295), various towing packages ($455-$525), and chrome wheels in 17-inch and new 18-inch diameters. An optional hands-free communications system uses Bluetooth technology to integrate a compatible cellphone with the truck's audio system. A sunroof ($850) is available on SLT and Laramie Quad Cabs. A new option for SLT and Laramie is a remote starter ($185).
A new-for-'07 Sport Appearance Package adds body color trim and 18-inch painted wheels to SLT or Laramie, while a new Chrome Accent Package adds tubular side steps and other brightwork. These join the existing TRX Off-road, high-performance R/T, and Night Runner packages as yet another way to tailor Dakota to your personal image.
The TRX package includes unique five-spoke/five-lug 16-inch aluminum wheels and Goodyear Wrangler off-road tires; tow hooks; a limited-slip differential; and TRX decal on the cargo box. The TRX package is available on 2WD ST, SLT and Laramie. TRX4 Off-Road includes everything in the TRX package plus painted shocks; an increased ride height of one inch; heavy-duty service package; skid plates; TRX4 Off-Road cargo box decal; and slush mats.
R/T is an SLT with the high-output 4.7-liter engine and: 17-inch five-spoke/five-lug chrome-clad aluminum wheels; hood scoop; Sport Appearance Pa.