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2005 Dodge Dakota

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2005 Dodge Dakota Review

Features a well-designed interior, refined handling, and an excellent lineup of engine and transmission options.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The revamped 2005 Dodge Dakota pickup truck is a nearly full-size pickup that can do many full-size pickup jobs. The Dakota launched the midsize pickup truck market when it was introduced in early 1986, and Dodge still calls the new-generation Dakota a midsize pickup, even though it keeps getting bigger. The 2005 Dakota retains nearly the same wheelbase at 131.3 inches but is about four inches longer, 2.7 inches wider, and hundreds of pounds heavier than its predecessor. Larger than a compact but smaller than a full-size, the Dakota gains appeal in a market where consumers are looking for more options than just ?small? or ?big.?

The Range

Body Styles: midsize pickup
Engines: 3.7-liter V-6, 4.7-liter V-8, high-output 4.7-liter V-8
Transmissions: six-speed manual, four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic
Models: Dodge Dakota Club Cab ST, Dodge Dakota Club Cab SLT, Dodge Dakota Club Cab Laramie, Dodge Dakota Quad Cab ST, Dodge Dakota Quad Cab SLT, Dodge Dakota Quad Cab Laramie

What's New

The 2005 Dodge Dakota is completely redesigned. Improvements to the midsize pickup include a hydroformed boxed steel frame, a coil-over front suspension, three powerful engine options, revised styling, and improved build quality.


The 2005 Dodge Dakota’s exterior is designed to look tougher and more distinctive than the previous model. Aggressive fender flares and a more chiseled front fascia complement jewel-like headlamps. An air dam below the front fascia enhances the look of the front end and reduces airflow under the truck to lower drag. The Club cab and Quad cab models share the same frame, but the Club cab has a 78-inch bed, while the Quad cab has a 64-inch bed. The ST trim level comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, while the SLT adds 16-inch aluminum wheels and foglamps.


The Dakota’s interior receives a makeover for 2005 as well. Improvements include a clean, simple layout with improved materials for the seat, door and console, and a new, easy-to-read instrument panel. Thicker front glass and new door seals reduce cabin noise. A new line of stereo options includes Sirius satellite radio, six-disc in-dash CD changer, and UConnect hands-free communication. At the top of the line, the Laramie comes loaded with standard features such as leather seats, a six-way leather power driver's seat, an Infinity six-speaker 288-watt premium sound system with six-disc changer, cruise control, overhead console, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with remote audio controls.

Performance & Handling

A new standard 3.7-liter, single overhead-cam V-6 powers the 2005 Dakota, producing 210 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. Two different V-8 engines are available. A 4.7-liter V-8 comes standard on the Dakota Club Cab SLT and provides 230 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The upgraded ?high-output,? 4.7-liter V-8 ups that to 250 hp and over 300 lb-ft of torque. The new Getrag six-speed manual shifter is available with the V-6 or the standard-output V-8. A four-speed automatic is optional with the V-6, and a five-speed automatic is an option on the standard 4.7-liter V-8, and the only available transmission for the high-output V-8.

Dakotas are available in two-wheel or four-wheel drive systems. A part-time system with a separate low-range gear is the base option with a full-time four-wheel drive system on SLT and Laramie trim levels. The Dakota’s front and rear suspensions are upgraded and greatly improve ride and handling during both loaded and empty driving.


Safety features for the 2005 Dodge Dakota include a new, advanced airbag system, optional side-curtain airbags that can protect both rows of seats, standard rear-wheel or optional four-wheel anti-lock brakes, Electronic BrakeForce Distribution, and front disc brakes.

The four-door Dodge Dakota earns a perfect five stars for driver protection and four stars for passenger protection in frontal-impact crash tests by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The extended cab model scores five stars across the board for driver and passenger protection in frontal-impact crashes and driver protection in side-impact crashes. Both the regular and extended cab versions have a four-star rollover rating.

EPA Fuel Economy

Dodge Dakota Two-wheel drive, V-6, manual transmission: 14/20 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota Two-wheel drive, V-6, four-speed automatic: 15/20 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota Four-wheel drive, V-6, manual transmission: 15/19 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota Four-wheel drive, V-6, four-speed automatic: 14/18 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota Two-wheel drive, V-8, manual transmission: 13/19 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota Two-wheel drive, V-8, five-speed automatic: 14/18 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota Four-wheel drive, V-8, manual transmission: 13/18 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota Four-wheel drive, V-8, five-speed automatic: 14/19 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Strong engine lineup
  • Choice of part-time or full-time four-wheel drive
  • Comfortable interior
  • Responsive handling

You Won't Like

  • No long bed or single cab models
  • Cramped backseat in club cab

Sum Up

Features a well-designed interior, refined handling, and an excellent lineup of engine and transmission options.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Nissan Titan
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