Dodge is launching an updated version of its Dakota midsize pickup truck for the 2008 model year that features new exterior and interior styling and a more powerful version of the optional 4.7-liter V-8. Offered in extended and crew cab body styles, the Dakota hits dealerships in August.
Even though the 2008 Dakota features a new hood and fenders, it retains the general shape of the 2007 model. There are hints of the Dodge Rampage concept truck — shown at the 2006 Chicago Auto Show — in the Dakota's new grille and headlights. The standard cargo box measures 6.5 feet long.
Extended-cab Dakotas have seating for five, and crew cab versions have room for six. The Dakota's dashboard has been mildly revised, now including a storage cubby in front of the passenger seat. A remote starter is standard, and stain- and static-resistant seat upholstery is available.
All Dakota audio systems have an auxiliary input jack for connecting MP3 players to the pickup truck's sound system. Sirius Satellite Radio and a DVD-based navigation system are available.
Under the Hood
While the output of the standard 3.7-liter V-6 is unchanged — 210 horsepower and 235 pounds-feet of torque — the optional 4.7-liter V-8 now produces 302 hp and 329 pounds-feet of torque. That's 42 hp and 19 pounds-feet of torque more than the most powerful version of the engine found in 2007 Dakotas. Two- and four-wheel-drive models are offered.
V-6 Dakotas come standard with a six-speed manual transmission; a four-speed automatic is optional. The V-8, which can run on E85 ethanol as well as gasoline, drives a five-speed automatic. Maximum towing capacity when properly equipped is 7,050 pounds.
Antilock rear brakes are standard and an antilock feature for all four wheels is optional. Side curtain airbags are also optional.