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2006 Dodge Dakota

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2006 Dodge Dakota Review

A great choice for those who like trucks with a bit of a car feel.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

Introduced in 1987, the Dodge Dakota is a truck that can handle light-duty hauling, while still providing a carlike ride and handling. The 2006 model offers three engine options for varying levels of power and several different trims. It is a solid option for those who want interior room but also need to haul cargo.

The Range

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

What's New

The Dodge Dakota was redesigned in 2005, but the 2006 model still has plenty of updates. There is an optional sunroof and an upgraded audio system with an auxiliary jack for portable music players. The Quad Cab’s rear doors open almost 180 degrees. There is also a revised four-speed automatic transmission designed to improve fuel economy on V-6 models. The TRX package comes with distinctive wheels and offroad tires, while the R/T package features a V-8 engine and an upgraded appearance. The Night Runner package has a head-turning, blacked-out paint job.

Exterior

The 2006 Dodge Dakota features the trademark Dodge large crosshair grille and familiar dropped-fender look. The standard Club Cab has rear-opening access doors and a 6.5-foot bed, while the extended Quad Cab has full-size doors and a 5.3-foot bed. It comes in three different trim levels. The base ST has 16-inch steel wheels, while the mid-grade SLT adds alloy wheels and chrome bumpers. The high-end Laramie adds automatic headlights and chrome trim to the package. Optional packages include the TRX package with offroad tires, monotube shocks, and tow hooks; the R/T package with 17-inch chrome wheels, a hood scoop, and distinct exterior detailing; and the Night Runner package with a blacked-out exterior color theme. It is available in two-wheel (2WD) and four-wheel drive (4WD), and 4WD models get a taller ride height, limited-slip differential, a shorter rear axle, and skid plates. It does not have a long-bed option.

Interior

The 2006 Dodge Dakota have the most interior room in its class. The rear seats also flip up for extra storage. Simple controls are easy to navigate. Options include heated cloth or leather seats, steering-wheel-embedded audio controls, an Alpine SoundBox stereo system, and satellite radio. Unfortunately, there is a lot of cheap plastic trim inside. The Club Cab has forward-facing rear seats, but the Quad Cab is recommended if the driver is carrying more than one adult passenger. The Quad Cab can seat up to six. Interior storage goes from 30 cubic feet in the Club Cab to 37 cubic feet in the Quad. The ST trim comes equipped with air-conditioning, a CD player, and cloth seats. The next-level SLT trim adds a split-fold rear bench seat; and power windows, mirrors, and locks. The top-line Laramie adds leather seats and audio controls embedded in the steering wheel.

Performance & Handling

The 2006 Dodge Dakota feature rack-and-pinion steering. The standard engine is a 3.7-liter V-6 putting out 210 horsepower (hp) with 235 lb-ft of torque. Upgrade to the 4.7-liter V-8 and get either 230 hp with 290 lb-ft of torque or 260 hp with 310 lb-ft of torque. The V-6 engine is hooked to either a four- or five-speed automatic transmission. The V-8 comes with either a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual. All trucks come in either 2WD or 4WD. Four-wheel drive comes with either the traditional part-time 4x4 transfer case or a first-in-class, full-time 4WD that ensures traction in all situations. Extensive wind tunnel development makes this truck very aerodynamic. Towing capacity is 7,150 pounds with the high output V-8 engine. The V-6 is short on power and slow to merge, while the base V-8 is outclassed by V-6 engines in other trucks. Overall, it provides a quiet ride and can handle bumps well. The ride is a bit stiff, but it takes corners nicely.

Safety

The 2006 Dodge Dakota comes with electronic brake force distribution and a rear-wheel Anti-lock Braking System (ABS). Four-wheel ABS is optional. There are also standard multi-stage front airbags, optional side-curtain airbags, and an electronic accident response system. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded it a perfect five stars for driver safety, and four stars for front passenger protection in frontal impacts.

EPA Fuel Economy

Dodge Dakota 2WD V-6 four-speed automatic: 17/20 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota 2WD V-6 six-speed manual: 16/20 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota 2WD V-8 five-speed automatic: 15/18 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota 2WD V-8 six-speed manual: 15/19 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota 4WD V-6 four-speed automatic: 15/18 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota 4WD V-6 six-speed manual: 16/19 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota 4WD V-8 five-speed automatic: 15/19 mpg city/highway
Dodge Dakota 4WD V-8 six-speed manual: 15/18 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Roomy interior
  • Plenty of model and trim options
  • Towing capacity

You Won't Like

  • No long-body models
  • Cheap interior accents

Sum Up

A great choice for those who like trucks with a bit of a car feel.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Chevrolet Colorado
  • Ford Ranger
  • GMC Canyon
  • Toyota Tacoma
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