The 2001 Dodge Dakota has a slightly unusual take on the compact pickup truck market. Almost as large as the full-size Dodge Ram and offering some of the same engine options, the Dodge Dakota almost offers the same storage and power of a full-size pickup. The Dodge Dakota serves drivers who want to shave a little length off a light full-size pickup truck rather than dropping down across the board. The Dodge Dakota does not appeal to the entire compact pickup market. However, the Dakota carves a strong niche for itself that sets it apart from most of the competition.
Going up against the Dodge Ram, the Dakota manages to hold its own, and potentially provide an attractive alternative to the lower-end Dodge Ram 1500. With the same engines, similar options, and only a little less bed space, the Dodge Dakota offers a very similar amount of performance and capacity to some of the full-size Ram load outs. However, the shorter size of the Dakota does improve its performance, especially in tight driving situations, which can be a major boon for drivers who do not need the full size of the Dodge Ram 1500. In many similar situations, a manufacturer with two similar models has one that dominates. However, the Ram and Dakota remain different enough to appeal to different drivers, and they offer equally good overall choices.
Body Styles: pickup truck
Engines: 2.5-liter four-cylinder, 3.9-liter six-cylinder, 4.7-liter eight-cylinder, 5.9-liter eight-cylinder
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Dodge Dakota, Dodge Dakota Sport
The 2001 Dodge Dakota shows off a heavy redesign. The Dakota now offers quad cab and club cab options.
The Dakota comes with either a regular cab, club cab, or quad cab. The regular cab version measures 195.8 inches long. The quad cab version stretches to 215.1 inches long. As a result, the 2001 Dodge Dakota remains a little under a foot shorter than the Dodge Ram with the same cab options. The attractive styling sets it apart from many other pickup trucks on the market, but it still retains the rugged, utilitarian appearance of a pickup.
The Dodge Dakota provides a very comfortable interior with a good-sized cab, regardless of the option selected. The standard amenities seem pretty light, consisting of a front console and an AM/FM radio. As a result, basic amenities, like air-conditioning, are common options selected by most buyers. The Dakota feels like a comfortable vehicle to ride in, but it does not reach the same level as some of the luxury pickups on the market.
Performance & Handling
The Dodge Dakota has amazing performance overall. The four-cylinder base engine offers typical performance for a compact pickup. However, the other engine options compete with the full-size Dodge Ram offerings. Drivers who take one of these upgrades find that the 2001 Dodge Dakota provides good acceleration and handles almost the same payloads that a light full-size pickup takes on. Turning seems very tight, making it feel like a much smaller vehicle. It does not reach the same level as a car, but it also feels nowhere near as cumbersome as most full-size trucks.
The 2001 Dodge Dakota includes dual front airbags, child safety seat anchors, electronic brake force distribution, and rear anti-lock brakes as standard safety equipment on all models. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes remain available as an optional feature.
EPA Fuel Economy
Dodge Dakota 2.5-liter four-cylinder: 17/23 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota 3.9-liter six-cylinder: 14/19 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota 4.7-liter eight-cylinder: 13/18mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota 5.9-liter eight-cylinder: 11/15 mpg city/highway
- Good performance
- Lots of options
- Four-wheel drive
You Won't Like
Gives Ford and Chevy a run for their money.
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