1997 Dodge Dakota consumer reviews

$12,725–$13,185 MSRP range
side view of 1997 Dakota Dodge
78% of drivers recommend this car
Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.2
  • Interior design 4.1
  • Performance 4.2
  • Value for the money 4.2
  • Exterior styling 4.4
  • Reliability 4.2
Explore the 1997 Dodge Dakota


Want a bulletproof truck? Don't just pick one from the dealership lot, special order one, or find one like mine, with all the available heavy duty options including V-8, 5-speed manual, four-wheel drive, limited-slip differential, 3/4 ton springs, Bilstein shock absorbers, larger brakes, four-wheel ABS, tow hitch with 6,000lb rating, oversized tow mirrors, heavy duty cooling and electrical package, anti-roll bars front and rear, extended cab, contractor's rack, etc. And then drive it 200,000 miles with minimal servicing other than the usual oil and coolant changes, etc. Styling wise, this second-generation Dakota has classic truck lines, lots of analog instruments, bed large enough to hold 4x8 plywood, comfortable front seats with a fold-up armrest, and SIX seat belts (back seat primarily for kids and dogs), nice steering wheel. Performance wise, it's narrower than a Ram so parks easier, but same length so has a stable, long wheelbase, lots of torque, purrs along on cruise control. Anything missing? Would be nice to have more controls on the steering wheel, better designed dash board.


Attractive truck, not fun in traffic

We bought the long bed, extended cab, standard trans., Sports package. Beautiful exterior and interior design. It was a mistake to get the manual shift for us because we never hauled anything w/ it. It had to come to a complete stop before putting it into first. Not too many mph between shifts. Poor gas mileage, terrible in parking lots, (did not parallel park easily), and was a nightmare in stop and go traffic or on hills (like in SF). Drove like a much larger truck. But, it was easy on the eye.


Great little truck

My 97 Dakota 4x4 has the 5.2L V8 and NV3500 manual transmission with 266,000 miles on it. The only oddball mechanical issues I?ve encountered are the valve cover bolts like to work themselves loose after awhile and the transmission has always been a bit quirky. It hasn?t had a super easy life but it?s never been abused and has held up very well. The 5.2 is easy to work on, but the transmission can be a bear to open up without a few special tools and taking them in to have them rebuilt is nearly as expensive as buying a new one, so if you have transmission issues just buy a reman! The front axles on these are vacuum operated are notorious for not fully engaging/disengaging when shifting between four wheel drive because they develop a vacuum leak so keep an eye and ear out for that as well.


dakaton 97 318 engine

it's a fine truck and easy on gas and depend..i had the truck for 2 years and had no problem with it . it's white and red. it's very depend. it's been own by me and a friend.


Just an excellent little truck

I bought this truck in 98. Had 8000 miles on it. Has 160,000 now. I just love this truck. Has only let me down once. Runs great. Still go from oil change to oil change without adding any oil. I've kept up on all service recommendation. Still looks & runs like new.


it was excellent

my dad bought this truck back in 1998 and it was the truck i was brought home in when i was born and then my grandparents drove it for a long time then back in 2008 my grandma had a heart attack in it and smashed it up good but all that damage was cosmetic and it ran till about 2011 when it overheated and lost all compression but it is a excellent truck did all that we threw at it


Great truck

I had this truck for about half a year and never had a problem except for a transmission leak and the exaust. I highly recommend this truck


One of the Best trucks I've owned.

Purchased this truck ( 1997 Dodge Club Cab Sport 4X4 5.2L V8, 5 speed Manual Transmission) in 1999. It has towed everything from a motorcycle trailer to a 28 foot travel trailer with no problem. The only maintenance required was to repair a intake manifold leak. Replace the intake gasket and was good as new. I've put about 110,000 miles on the truck and has never failed to return me home. I can't say that about many of the other cars I've owned. I have used this truck as a daily commuter vehicle for many years. It has been reliable and comfortable. With the 5 speed manual transmission it's fun to drive. When I don't need this truck I plan on giving it to my grandson. It's been a very good truck.


Worst vehicle I've ever owned.

I've spent nearly as much money having this thing fixed as I paid for it. So far I have had to have the timing chain replaced, and the clutch replaced, I've changed the totally worn out spark plugs, and the bad oxygen sensors, flushed the cooling system. The radiator is plugged and will not drain, the heater core is also apparently bad as it will not make much heat. All things that the dealer should've done in my opinion and I haven't even had it a month. If I weren't disabled and had extremely limited funds I would get rid of it. Being totally unfamiliar with it and having never owned that brand of vehicle before I didn't know anything was wrong.


Not to Shabby but reliability issues

I bought this truck in 2001 with 76k mi it now has 172k mi. It has been a decent truck over the years. But I have had several issues with ball joints, wheel bearings, brakes (several different issues), and in dash sensors switches. The biggest issue I had though was that if I towed up hill I could but the pedal to the floor and still lost speed, and I have the V6 Magnum. I have kept up with the maintenance of the vehicle but from the start this was an issue. Now the vehicle has cosmetic issues too. Rust every where especially underneath the vehicle. had to replace a brake line the rusted through, not very safe. Also the clear coat is peeling right off making the vehicle ugly. I really liked this truck for looks and value but the performance and reliability are an issue, beyond the age. Otherwise it has been a good truck but time to upgrade.