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2007 Dodge Dakota Review

The Dodge Dakota is a truck that offers truck capabilities along with comfort and easy handling.  With a redesign in 2005, the 2007 Dodge Dakota received a standard two-position tailgate that can be locked at an angle to better carry cargo, available YES Essentials fabric is designed to be stain-odor- and static-resistant, and a remote starter as optional. A V-6 is standard, but the Dakota can be fitted with either of two V-8s. Dakotas are available with rear- or four-wheel drive in three trim levels: ST, SLT and Laramie. Dakota's steering is light, allowing easy maneuverability in crowded parking lots and to respond quickly on the road. Dodge Dakota comes in two body styles. The Club Cab is an extended-cab configuration with small, reverse-opening rear doors to access the rear compartment. It comes with a 6 1/2-foot bed. The Quad Cab is a crew-cab style truck with four full-size doors and a 5-foot, 4-inch bed. Each can seat five to six passengers, but back-seat riders will be much more comfortable in the Quad Cab.

Driving the Dakota

With the V-6, the Dakota cab fell short on power and is sluggish for passing and merging. Furthermore, it doesn't offer much of a fuel economy advantage.  The V-8s are more suitable on grades. Automatic transmission shifts on a V-8 are a bit more noticeable than in the V-6 model, but they are still not bothersome. Thick glass, big mufflers, and generous sound insulation throughout the body and firewall help reduce noise. Still, the Dakota drives bigger than it looks, with a hefty, Ram-like way about it, and plenty of muscle to flex. Performance with the high-output engine is not appreciably quicker than with a regular V-8.  Four-wheel-drive versions ride with pleasant smoothness on good pavement. The suspension reacts quickly to bumps and recovers promptly. On narrow two-lane roads, the Dakota maneuvers quite nicely and with satisfying steering feel. Dakota's rack-and-pinion power steering is a bit over-assisted. The truck tracks extremely well, and responds quickly to inputs. Like all pickup trucks, the 2007 Dodge Dakota can get choppy over small, high-intensity bumps and ruts. It has been upgraded for '07 with electronic throttle control and exhaust-gas recirculation.

Trims for '07

Three trim levels are available: ST, SLT, and Laramie. ST Club Cab and Quad Cab come standard with air conditioning, AM/FM/CD stereo with audio auxiliary jack, tinted rear windows, front disc/rear drum brakes with rear-wheel anti-lock (ABS), and 16-inch steel wheels. Quad Cabs have fold-down rear seats. Both bodies are built on the same 131.1-inch wheelbase.

SLT Club Cab and Quad Cab are upgraded with new YES Essentials seat fabric, fold-down rear seats; a full-floor console for Quad Cabs power windows, mirrors and locks with remote keyless entry, cruise control, tilt steering, color-keyed carpet mats, chrome bumpers, fog lights, and 16-inch painted aluminum wheels.

Laramie Club Cab and Quad Cab add leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, premium 276-watt Alpine audio with MP3 capability and 6-CD changer, automatic headlamps, auto-dimming rearview mirror, body-color front bumper, bright body-side moldings, and a security alarm with Sentry Key engine immobilizer.

Dodge Dakota Power

A 210-horsepower, 3.7-liter V-6 is standard. For more power, the available 4.7-liter V-8 produces 230 hp and 290 pounds-feet of torque. At the top of performance is a high-output 4.7-liter V-8 that makes 260 hp. Transmission choices include a four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic and six-speed manual. The Laramie comes standard with the automatic. Either a part-time or full-time four-wheel-drive transfer case is available.

Inside the Dakota

2007 Dakota Quad Cab models can be configured for six-person seating rather than the usual five-person capacity. Rear-seat room is generous. With the rear seats folded, Club Cab storage space totals 30 cubic feet, versus 37.1 cubic feet in the Quad Cab. Club Cab models have forward-facing rear seats and rear-hinged access doors. The rear seats are stepped up on their bases so that rear-seat occupants can see out more easily and they are split into 40/20/40 folding sections with two rear cup holders. Getting in is easy, and the interior is comfortable and convenient, with controls that are easy to reach and operate. The angular center stack houses the sound system, climate controls and vents. The plastic materials are decent and interior finishes are good. The thick four-spoke steering wheel features audio and cruise controls. A center console and a lot of cubbyholes provide organizational options. Black-on-white gauges are outlined with chrome rings, and the central speedometer is about twice as large as the other two gauges. Brushed metal accents brighten the cockpit, and the whole design works very well in terms of usability, convenience, and reach.

Dodge Dakota Design

The 2007 Dodge Dakota looks massive; Club Cab models have a 6.5-foot bed, while the Quad Cab gets a bed that measures 5 feet, 4 inches. Last redesigned for 2005, the Dodge Dakota hasn't changed much in appearance since then. The Dakota shares its design with the full-size Dodge Ram and Durango SUV. All three share the retro big-rig grille motif and bulging fenders that have become trademarks of the Dodge Truck brand. Still, Dakota boasts sharper, crisper lines and flatter planes than its relatives. Also, its grille is laid back, not vertical. Squared-off styling on the hood, grille and fender edges gives a distinctive look. Wheels are available in 16-, 17- and 18-inch sizes. Club Cabs have auxiliary rear doors that swing open nearly 180 degrees. Quad Cabs feature four huge doors; the rear doors open out to nearly 90 degrees, so ingress and egress are very good. Quad Cab interiors are roomy, with over 102 cubic feet of passenger space. Front fender lines deliberately extended halfway along the length of the door. A coil-over-shock independent front suspension is used on both 2WD and 4WD models, with conventional leaf springs at the rear. All models come with front and rear tow hooks and tie-downs in the bed.


The Dakota Club Cab has earned five-star safety ratings in both front and side impact testing by the federal government (NHTSA). Rear-wheel antilock braking is standard; four-wheel ABS is optional. Side curtain airbags that protect passengers in both rows of seats are optional.

The Dodge Dakota is on the large end of the mid-size pickups. The Dakota is the biggest pickup in the mid-size class, and the only mid-size truck available with a V8. Dodge claims its 7150-pound maximum towing capacity is by far the best in the class. All models come with front and rear tow hooks and tie-downs in the bed. Fuel economy range for the 2007 Dodge Dakota is estimated at 22 mpg Hwy, and 16 mpg City. Dakota looks nearly as big and tough as the full-size Dodge Ram. For 2007, the V8 is now flex-fuel capable, meaning it can run on gasoline or up to 85 percent ethanol. A dual-position tailgate is now standard on all models, maximizing versatility when hauling long building materials. If you are looking for a vehicle that is big and brawny, but not as big as a full-size, the Dodge Dakota is a good choice.


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