The 2010 Dakota fails to improve on one of the worst safety scores handed out by TheCarConnection.com.
The Dakota performs well in crash tests done at NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), earning five-star ratings for front and side impact protection. The insurance industry-funded IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety), though, puts the Dakota's performance on extended-cab trucks at only "acceptable" for frontal impacts and doesn't rate its side-impact performance. Crew Cab Dakotas earn a "good" rating for frontal impact protection, but only a "marginal" rating for side impacts.
The scores are low-and the base Dakota omits many safety features found on almost every other new vehicle sold in America. The base Dakota has dual front airbags and rear-wheel anti-lock brakes-but no four-wheel anti-lock braking, no side airbags, and no curtain airbags, even at its $22,000 base price. Cars.com finds the Dakota "is behind the curve in offering advanced features," noting that "side curtain airbags are available but not standard," and "four-wheel antilock brakes are optional, not standard." Edmunds does point out that "rear-wheel antilock brakes are standard on the Dodge Dakota," but Cars.com reports "electronic stability control is not available" whatsoever.
The view out from the Dakota's cabin is good. J.D. Power says with "the driver sitting high" in the front seat, the Dodge pickup offers "good outward visibility."