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1996 Dodge Dakota

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1996 Dodge Dakota Review

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Reviewed by Automotive on


The Dakota was Dodge’s answer to finding a balance between full-size trucks and compacts. Its successful run dates back to the late 1980s and continues to be a customer favorite. The design changed significantly over the years with the 1996 offering rounded angles and a sloping hood.

The Range

Body Styles: regular cab, extended cab
Engines: 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 3.9-liter V-6, 5.2 Liter V-8
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Dodge Dakota, Dodge Dakota Sport, Dodge Dakota SLT, Dodge Dakota WS

What's New

The 1996 Dodge Dakota is available with a four-cylinder engine that's more powerful than its predecessors. The entire factory sound system got a relatively major overhaul that features better speakers and an improved control console. Rack and pinion steering and the optional V-8 engine were a first for a truck of this size. This model features a more powerful four-cylinder engine standard as well as three new color schemes and an enhanced sound system.


The 1996 Dodge Dakota has a length of 195.3 inches in the passenger area, while the width is 69.3 inches. The cab has a fixed rear window, and there's a back step at the cargo area and an optional towing package.


The 1996 Dodge Dakota receives a typical three-person bench seat that comes standard, though it has the option for two bucket seats. As with many working style trucks, there are not a lot of amenities: a stereo system, ashtray, and a cigarette lighter which doubles as a 12-volt power source, which all come standard.

Performance & Handling

The 1996 Dodge Dakota's performance is largely dependent on which engine is chosen. All three engines offered with the 1996 Dodge Dakota are called Magnums. However, it comes with a fair warning: the four-cylinder models lack the towing capacity and acceleration of the V-6 and V-8 models. On average all of the models handle well whether empty or carrying a full payload. Meanwhile, power steering and rear wheel anti-lock brakes come standard. It's payload is also 2600 pounds with the 4x2 regular cab and 2000 pounds with an extended cab.


The 1996 Dodge Dakota gets standard driver's side airbags with an option for the passenger side. The front and rear impact bumpers are compressible, and anti-lock brakes are available. Government crash tests all prove that it's a safe vehicle.

EPA Fuel Economy

Dodge Dakota, four-cylinder: 19/23 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota, V-6: 15/20 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota, V-8: 13/19 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Powerful engine
  • Heavy payload capacity
  • Spacious cabin

You Won't Like

  • Standard bench style seating
  • No frills standard interior

Sum Up

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If You Like This Vehicle

  • Toyota Tacoma
  • Ford Ranger
  • GMC Sierra 1500

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