The Dodge Dakota was in a league of its own.
In this episode of Dude, I love (or hate) My Ride – @HomeEdition, we feature the Dodge Dakota. Our intern Kase takes us through a variety of different viewer’s Dakotas and talks about the potential for a comeback.
The rumor-mill regarding a future Ram Dakota has been buzzing for several years. With the advent of the expensive Jeep Gladiator, FCA knows they have priced themselves out of the competitive midsize market in most cases. Some sources say that FCA will use the Gladiator platform and some components to build a less expensive pickup truck.
Other sources say that FCA may be planning to bring a vehicle like the Fiat Strada to the U.S. market. This would be a setup similar to the current Honda Ridgeline, which is more of a crossover than a proper body-on-frame pickup truck.
Still, we’ve seen these vehicles testing in Michigan.
The first generation Dodge Dakota (A.K.A square bodies to some) ran from 1987 to 1996. Two cab configurations were available and there was a 6.5- and 8-foot bed available.
It was one of the first trucks in its class. Larger than imports and U.S. trucks in its class, the Dakota was in a class by itself. It even had an optional V8 and, in 1989, a convertible was available as well. Around that same time, a more potent Shelby was available for a brief run.
Second generation Dodge Dakotas were sometimes called, round bodies as they were a smoother, more Ram-like design. Built from 1997 until 2004, these trucks proved to be immensely popular.
Unlike most pickup trucks at the time, it had rack-and pinion steering, 4-cylinder, six-cylinder and eight-cylinder options. It also had three cab configurations along with a variety of street and off-road biased versions.
This platform went on to underpin the very successful Dodge Durango.
While the second generation Dodge Dakota was lauded for its revolutionary strides in the mid-size segment, the third generation (2005 – 2011) was not. The new model is a more refined and sophisticated vehicle with somewhat polarizing design elements. Some called this generation’s first run the Dodge underbite as its front bumper protruded in an unusual way. The design was cleaned up by the end of the production run.
In 2011, the Dodge Dakota line stopped. Its final few years saw a Mitsubishi Raider spinoff and the name Ram replaced Dodge before the very end. Like Ford, FCA couldn’t reconcile the inhouse competition with its full size pickup truck.
The Dodge Dakota sadly missed by many, there are a ton of owners who swear by their old trucks as you’ll see in this video. We can add to the conversation with this – more than a few of us have seriously considered a Dakota as a future project truck.