2010 Dodge Dakota Crew Cab TRX4 4x4 new car reviews

It's the Dakota.

Better than: the original Dakota
But not as good as: a sweet '78 El Camino with some Cragars
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 65.15

The original Dodge Dakota created something of a new niche for pickup trucks upon its release for 1987. It wasn't a mini pickup, a full-sized truck, or a car-based truck like the El Camino. It was kind of mid-sized in stature yet could still be ordered with a V8 engine.

Was this the answer for which we sought? Well, after two redesigns and nearly 25 years, the Dakota is about to sail off the ranch.

We recently sampled a Crew Cab 4x4 version. Oddly, we can't find a photo of such an optioned truck on the Chrysler media site. Looks like it really is a lame duck. (By the way, the Dakota is technically now sold under the Ram brand, not Dodge.)

Other staff views

Tom Heath Tom Heath
UberDork

I didn't get to drive the Dakota, but I've liked them in the past. I have to say I was impressed by the name...TRX4 4x4 is a pretty strong combination of letters and numbers. I'm sad to see this truck go, but I'm not sure the idea of a "mid-sized" pickup was really strong enough to sway me into a traditional full-size truck.

J.G. Pasterjak JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

Why do you buy a truck? By "you," of course, I don't necessarily mean the specific person reading this, but the general public who trucks get sold to. I thought it was to haul stuff around in. But when Dadge asks "you" to fork over nearly $40,000 American dollars, you have to wonder a little. Not that the Dakota TRX4 isn't a fine piece of machinery. In the few days I spent with it it successfully hauled a Karlstad and some Bergsbos back from IKEA and delivered just over 20mpg on the 180 mile freeway round trip. During more pedestrian missions, like a trip to the grocery store, the nifty collapsible storage bins that hide under the flip up rear seat provided the closest semblance to an actual truck that you're likely to find in a truck. So maybe this is the future of trucks: A vehicle that performs like a sedan but hauls stuff in an open bed while not sacrificing much day-to-day utility. It's a noble approach, and today's trucks are getting better at being all things to all people. The price tag still seems steep, but it's hard to argue that you aren't getting some utility for your money.

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Comments

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integraguy
integraguy UltraDork
8/16/10 5:12 p.m.

My father bought a used Dakota, a 4X4 club cab, with 4WD. He loved the truck but hated the fuel mileage, so he sold it and bought a smaller Ford Ranger, with the V6.

The Dakota started out as a good idea, that is, a truck as capable as a full-sized pickup, but in a more maneuverable package, for less money. The truck tested shows how wrong car (and truck) manufacturer's are able to get a "concept" when they revert to BIGGER is better.

Vigo
Vigo PowerDork
8/16/10 9:22 p.m.

Ive been driving and loving a 96 Dakota for a decade now.

Back in the early 87-96 years, the dakota was appreciably differentiated in size from the compacts of the era (s10, ranger, tacoma, nissan pickup, etc), but it was more than its RELATIVE size that gave it purpose.

I, personally, think that that generation of truck stumbled upon an almost PERFECT size. It was WAY smaller and more efficient than the Ram of the same era, but could easily be had with more power than it needed and could haul and tow quite a bit. Today, that size spot is inhabited by the swollen compacts of yesteryear.. The Tacoma and Frontier come to mind..

While i think that those trucks are well served by inhabiting that size niche, the Dakota has awkwardly grown of that perfect spot into a truck that is almost full-size on the outside, no roomier than before on the inside, and can NOT be had with the MPG numbers that justified its room/towing compromises in the decade past.

I am sad to see the Dakota name end, but the current Dakota design ideology certainly deserves to die. I would feel better if dodge had rebadged a right-sized truck like Suzuki did with the Equator than i would feel about buying an all-Dodge design flop like the current Dakota

motomoron
motomoron SuperDork
8/17/10 5:12 p.m.

I liked my 99 Dakota "Sport" V6 ok - but love the '01Tacoma SR5 Pre-Runner Xtra-cab 3.4 V6 2WD that replaced it.

Dakota=average-to-poor build quality truck. And it's crazy to work on 'cause it's got metric next to imperial next to Torx all over.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

The original Dodge Dakota created something of a new niche for pickup trucks upon its release for 1987. It wasn't a mini pickup, a full-sized truck, or a car-based truck like the El Camino. It was kind of mid-sized in stature yet could still be ordered with a V8 engine.

Was this the answer for which we sought? Well, after two redesigns and nearly 25 years, the Dakota is about to sail off the ranch.

We recently sampled a Crew Cab 4x4 version. Oddly, we can't find a photo of such an optioned truck on the Chrysler media site. Looks like it really is a lame duck. (By the way, the Dakota is technically now sold under the Ram brand, not Dodge.)

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