2000 Dodge Dakota Review

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Jill Amadio Jill Amadio Editor
November 15, 1999

If anyone can bring Disneyland into the compact pickup market, it's Dodge. Their new six-seater, full-size four-door truck focuses on people who have fun and fantasy in mind but who also want plenty of under-the-hood power and lots of towing capacity.

Dodge's new pickup is for those whose lifestyles might include never needing a truck bed, but who enjoy the macho aura it projects, who like shouldering aside wimpy SUVs in the fast lane, and for anyone whose lifestyle must morph from work to family to playtime using a single vehicle that can be parked inside the average garage.

If you're a first-time truck buyer and a compact is plenty large enough for your needs, the 2000 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab is the kind of machine that can turn you off sedans, minivans and sport-utes forever. With a model lineup that boasts the largest, most powerful range of engines and the widest measurements in its class, and with just two models from which to choose — and two-wheel or four-wheel part or full-time drive — it's no gamble to go check them out.

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Dodge offers more engine choices in the Dakota than in any other compact pickup. They include the base engine, a 3.9-liter Magnum V-6 with 175 hp, and two V-8s: the 4.7-liter delivering 235 hp, and the massive 5.9-liter with 245 hp.

Transmissions include a five-speed manual, a four-speed automatic, and a four-speed multi-speed automatic that has alternate second-gear ratios for better fuel efficiency and smoother power flow. Anti-lock brakes are optional. Both the 2WD and the 4WD come in two decor versions: the Sport with body paint-matching bumpers, and the SLT with shiny chrome trim. Payload capacity is 1450 lb, and the trailer-towing capability is a very reasonable 6350 lb. Cargo volume is 38 cubic feet.

Dressed to haul

There's no doubt it, this Quad Cab is one good-looking vehicle. A young cousin to Dodge's phenomenally successful Ram truck and the Durango SUV, the Quad Cab leans heavily on their aggressive grille styling for front-end appeal. The cab itself, though, is what arouses the curiosity, with its more-cab-less-cargo-box design.

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