2008 Dodge Dakota Review

2008 Dodge Dakota - Pickup tough.


The Dodge Dakota has long been a standout in the mid-size pickup truck segment with larger dimensions and greater hauling capabilities than its competitors.

For 2008, Dodge looks to further separate itself from its competitors with an all-new Dakota. The Dakota not only looks tough, but it's also the most powerful pickup in the segment.

Dakota's exterior includes a newly styled hood, grille, front fascia, fenders and headlamps. I like the signature Dodge styling cues.

For 2008, the restyled Dodge Dakota is offered in two body styles - Extended Cab and Crew Cab - and six trim levels: ST, SXT, SLT, TRX4, Sport and Laramie.

Dakota continues to offer best-in-class interior room and class-exclusive Full Swing rear access doors (open nearly 170 degrees) on the Extended Cab. There's a new under-seat storage system in the Dakota Crew Cab that includes a unique, collapsible and removable cargo management system that enables gear to be organized and taken anywhere you go.

Additional storage options are provided throughout the interior including a handy storage bin above the glove box and an all-new center console incorporating cup holders with modular inserts. There's a place for your MP3 player and cell phone, and yes, you can plug your MP3 into the sound system, and you can link your Bluetooth phone, too, with the available UConnect feature.

As for the cargo bed, the 6-foot, 6-inch bed found on Extended Cab models is the largest and longest in the segment. The built-in utility rails are clever and make cargo box tie-downs infinitely adjustable. I also like the dual-position tailgate that can be secured in a mid-position to provide support for long cargo.

The Dodge Dakota continues to be the only mid-size pickup to offer V-8 power. The 4.7-liter V-8 offered in Dakota has been reworked to deliver 302 horsepower (31 percent increase) and 329 pound-feet of torque (13 percent increase), along with better fuel economy and increased refinement.

Furthermore, the 4.7-liter V-8 in the Dakota is capable of operating on E85 fuel. The standard engine in the Dakota is a 210-horsepower 3.7-liter V-6.


The base transmission is a six-speed manual. Available automatic transmissions include a four-speed for V-6 models or five-speed unit for V-8 models.

For added traction, the new 2008 Dodge Dakota may be equipped with a transfer case featuring two-wheel drive and 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.

Interestingly, regardless of whether you opt for a 2WD or 4X4, the ride height is identical. And speaking of ride, I noted that the overall comfort level from my Dakota Extended Cab SLT 4X4 tester was remarkably good, and almost car-like.

I enjoyed operating my 4X4 Dakota in 4WD mode while driving on snow-covered roads. The extra traction was appreciated, but as is the case with locking units, there was considerable crow-hop when negotiating tight turns.

My tester had the V-6 engine and six-speed manual gearbox. While I would have preferred the power of the V-8, the V-6 was strong and had enough torque to allow for starting off in second, skipping to fourth and then sixth without a problem.

When properly equipped, the 2008 Dakota can tow up to 7,050 pounds. The 2008 Dodge Dakota is an impressive mid-size pickup, but when you add equipment the $19,435 base price can quickly jump, closing in on the $30K range.

2008 Dodge Dakota Extended Cab SLT 4X4

Engine: 3.7-liter (210 hp) V-6

Transmission: 6-speed manual

Drive type: 4WD

Fuel economy (city/hwy): 15/19 mpg

Base price: $26,900

As tested: $29,210 (including $645 for destination)

Web site: www.dodge.com