The Dodge Dakota line of pickups went through a comprehensive makeover in 2005, but Dodge isn't standing pat in a vehicle category that is brimming with competition from both the usa and off-shore manufacturers. The 2006 Dodge Dakota has been further improved and upgraded and the one we drove-one of three trim levels and two body styles available, shows that Dodge wants very much to take the game to its marketplace adversaries.
The quad cab has four full-size doors and a 5-foot by 4-foot bed while the club cab Dakotas feature rear-opening access doors and a slightly larger 6-foot by 6-foot bed. All Dakotas come with a lengthy list of standard features and options, including two V-8 engines with up to 260 horsepower. The standard 3.7 liter V-6 makes 210 horsepower and 235 foot pounds of torque and can be hooked to a six-speed manual transmission. The v-6 can also be ordered with a four-speed automatic while the V-8's can be mated to the six-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission.
Dodge gives buyers three different choices in how the power gets to the road with either two-wheel drive, 4-wheel drive, or a first-in-class full time all-wheel drive layout. If you plan on some serious towing with your Dakota, the high output V-8 models give you an impressive 7150 pound towing capacity. And a hydro-formed fully boxed frame gives the new Dakota 8-times more torsional rigidity than the previous design.
Inside the Dakota, there's more space than in any other pickup in its class, highlighted by several handy convenience features such as flip-up rear seats that reveal built-in storage trays. And the whole experience is as car-like as it can be in a light-duty pickup.
Four-wheel anti-lock brakes are standard as are front airbags for front seat occupants. And the Dodge Dakota received high marks from in government crash tests for front passenger frontal and side impact protection.
The suggested base price for the 2006 Dodge Dakota Laramie Quad Cab with the 3.7 liter V6 and four-speed automatic is $26, 660. There's a long list of options to choose from, including those two V-8's, that can take the as-delivered price somewhere north of $30,000.
The 2006 Dodge Dakota pickup is the next step in Dodge's efforts to combine truck-like utility and ruggedness with the civility and comfort of an automobile. Their latest attempt has moved them that much closer to the bulls-eye.