Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), also known as "sticker" price, is a recommended selling price that automakers give a new car that is above the invoice price paid by the dealer. It is a price that does not include any options that can be added to a particular car style. When shown as a range, the prices are starting MSRPs, without options, for multiple styles for that model.
This price range reflects for-sale prices on Cars.com for this particular make, model and year.
Best Bets get above-average mpg, class-average or better reliability, class-average or better crash-test ratings, and our recommendation.
These city and highway gas mileage estimates are for the model's standard trim configurations. Where there are optional features, packages or equipment that result in higher gas mileage, those fuel-economy estimates are not included here.
Expert Reviews 1 of 2
By Jim Flammang
September 1, 2005
Vehicle Overview "Bigger, bolder and tougher." That's how Dodge described its Dakota pickup truck, as redesigned for 2005, promising best-in-class horsepower, torque and towing capabilities. A V-6 is standard, but the Dakota can be fitted with either of two V-8s. Club Cab and Quad Cab models are offered. Dakotas are available with rear- or four-wheel drive in three trim levels: ST, SLT and Laramie.
Four new editions debut for 2006: TRX, TRX4 Off-Road, R/T and Night Runner. A sunroof is now optional for Quad Cab pickups, Club Cabs have full-swing rear doors, and automatic-transmission modification promises improved gas mileage with the V-6. A new Alpine SoundBox stereo system is optional.
Exterior Club Cab models have a 6.5-foot bed, while the Quad Cab gets a bed that measures 5 feet 4 inches long. Squared-off styling on the hood, grille and fender edges gives a distinctive look. Laramie models display several chrome pieces that don't appear on other models.
The new TRX gets unique 16-inch aluminum wheels, painted monotube shocks and tow hooks. The TRX4 Off-Road adds an anti-spin differential, skid plates and an upgraded axle ratio. Dodge describes the Night Runner as "intimidating" with its blacked-out color scheme, which includes black 17-inch chrome wheels. A sport appearance package on the R/T includes a hood scoop, chrome exhaust tips and 17-inch chrome wheels.
Interior Quad Cab models can be fitted for six-passenger seating rather than the usual five-passenger capacity. With the 60/40-split rear seats folded, Club Cab storage space totals 30 cubic feet, versus 37.1 cubic feet in the Quad Cab. Club Cab models have forward-facing rear seats and rear-hinged access doors.
Under the Hood A 210-hp, 3.7-liter V-6 is standard. Stepping up a notch, the available 4.7-liter V-8 produces 230 hp and 290 pounds-feet of torque. Topping the performance list is a high-output 4.7-liter V-8 that delivers 260 hp and 310 pounds-feet of torque. Transmission choices include a four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic and six-speed manual. Either a part-time or full-time four-wheel-drive transfer case is available.
Safety Rear-wheel antilock braking is standard; four-wheel ABS is optional. Side curtain-type airbags that protect passengers in both rows of seats are optional.
Driving Impressions A V-6 Dakota is overtaxed — short on power and sluggish for passing and merging. The V-8s are more suitable on upgrades. After only a slight delay at start-up, the V-8-equipped Dakota delivers a steady, satisfying stream of power. Automatic-transmission shifts are a bit more noticeable than in the V-6 model, but they're seldom annoying.
Performance with the high-output engine isn't appreciably quicker than with a regular V-8. When pushed, its automatic transmission slams hard into the next gear. Dodge's manual gearbox is pickup-truck typical with its slightly mushy feel, but it works with a well-behaved, easy-engaging clutch.
Four-wheel-drive versions ride with pleasant smoothness on good pavement. The suspension reacts quickly to bumps and recovers promptly. On narrow two-lane roads, the Dakota maneuvers quite handily and with a satisfying steering feel. Rear occupants in the Quad Cab sit with their knees up and have minimal foot room.