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2000 Dodge Dakota

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Key specs

Base trim shown

Pickup Truck

Body style


Seating capacity

215” x 65.6”


Rear-wheel drive



10 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2000 Dodge Dakota trim comparison will help you decide.

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2000 Dodge Dakota review: Our expert's take

By Anita And Paul Lienert

Part of the charm and appeal of the Chrysler PT Cruiser – apart from the fact that it looks like nothing else on the road – is the image it evokes of vehicles in our past, from gangster-era cars to `50s panel trucks.

But nostalgia isn’t always the magic ingredient. It’s one thing to establish a retro look, as Chrysler has done so successfully with vehicles like the PT Cruiser and the Prowler. It’s another to create a retro feel by stepping away from modern technology – in effect, stepping backward into a time warp, where straight-line acceleration takes precedence over agility and ride comfort. Sometimes the gambit works, as in the case of the Dodge Viper, a primeval performance car that’s as thrilling to drive as it is to look at (at least, according to Paul). And sometimes, as in the case of the $20,890 Dodge Dakota R/T, the end product feels merely like an anachronism, a throwback whose dubious virtues are vastly outweighed by its all-too-obvious shortcomings.

He: I think I can sum up the good things about the Dakota R/T in a few words: Looks good, feels quick, sounds great. Oh, and it’s relatively cheap compared with other super trucks, such as the $30,000 Ford SVT F150 Lightning. I don’t mean to knock the R/T concept, which Dodge is using to promote its image as an affordable performance-oriented brand. It’s the execution that leaves me shaking my head.

She: I’m shaking my head over the fact that there are still auto companies trying to market products like the Dakota R/T that have absolutely nothing to offer real people. Even worse, a silly toy truck like the Dakota R/T is so clearly aimed at guys – specifically guys who never quite got all that Woodward Avenue street-rod stuff out of their system – that it’s bound to turn off most women.

He: You can talk about the practical side of trucks all you want, but I do understand the basic premise behind the Dakota R/T. Dodge wanted to cram all the go-fast goodies it could into its midsize pickup, and keep the price tag as reasonable as possible. It’s really that simple. Unfortunately, what they’ve come up with is a truck that is amazingly fast in a straight line on smooth pavement. But it’s not particularly comfortable, and once you get on a rough surface, this pickup can get mighty squirrelly. Even expressway on-ramps can feel dangerous.

She: I think that, like most guys, you secretly like the idea of a simple red truck that looks cool, doesn’t cost that much and doesn’t do much more than go really fast. Sorry, but that whole concept doesn’t push my buttons. I talk to a lot of women who do like pickups, but this is one vehicle that would not be a good choice for everyday driving. I mean, what were they thinking with the Dakota R/T? This truck costs more than $20,000 and it still has crank windows! It looks like an economy car into which someone stuffed a giant engine, but forgot to add even the basic amenities. You like that?

He: C’mon, give Chrys ler some credit. They did beef up the Dakota a bit to take the bigger engine – a 5.9-liter pushrod V-8 that churns out 250 horsepower and a whopping 345 pounds-feet of torque, and sounds like a real hot rod coming out of the big-bore, free-flow exhaust. Of course, it’s offered only as a two-wheel-drive with a four-speed automatic transmission and a limited-slip rear axle. The engineers lowered the chassis by an inch, retuned the suspension and fitted some fat 17-inch tires.

She: Maybe I’m getting spoiled by all the fancy four-door pickups and expensive utility vehicles we’ve been driving. But didn’t the regular-cab Dakota seem awfully confined? And who thought up that dreadful all-black cabin? Even for macho guys, didn’t that monochrome look go out about 20 years ago? And those heavy-duty shocks always left my teeth chattering by the time I drove to the end of the block.

He: You want macho? I’d suggest you check out the SVT Lightning. It costs another $10,000, but it’ far more civilized, with even more brute force than the Dakota R/T. But I’ll be kind. I still think the Dakota R/T has merit with its looks, feel and sound.

2000 Dodge Dakota R/T

Anita’s rating: Subpar

Paul’s rating: Acceptable

Likes: Looks good, feels quick, sounds great (Paul). Surprisingly affordable for all that performance (Paul).

Dislikes: Primitive-looking inside. Anachronistic muscle-car flavor doesn’t translate well in 2000. Big engine means dismal fuel economy. Rough ride, skittish once you leave smooth pavement. Virtually no appeal to women and practical consumers (Anita).

Type: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive, two-passenger pickup.

Price: Base, $13,555; as tested, $20,890 (inc. $520 destination charge, less $650 package discount).

Engine: 5.9-liter V-8; 250-hp; 345 lb-ft torque.

EPA fuel economy: 12 mpg city/17 mpg highway.

12-month insurance cost, according to AAA Michigan: $964 (Estimate. Rates may be higher or lower,depending on coverage and driving record.)

Where built: Warren, Michigan.

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.1
  • Interior 4.2
  • Performance 4.3
  • Value 4.6
  • Exterior 4.5
  • Reliability 4.4
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Most recent consumer reviews


Boyfriend loves his truck. Me, not so much!

Is it supposed to have power steering? That's my BIG complaint. It's just too hard to steer. That's the only reason I don't want to drive it.


2000 dodge Dakota V6

My experience with these trucks are good because I had one in the family since it was new and it has been trough xxxx and back! They are very reliable. But they suck in the winter with snow due to no weight in the rear. Id recommend it it's fun to drive but in snow id recommend it to a more experienced driver.


2000 dodge Dakota v8

I am so blown away at the power/performance that my 4.7 v8 2000 Dakota has. The 4x4 has been A God send those winter (philly) with all the snow we’ve had. Now here’s the killer part... I paid 450 dollars for it, 109,000 miles with a little rust on frame. But it passed Pa inspection. Keeping this little truck forever!!!!

See all 46 consumer reviews


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Maximum age/mileage
6-10 MY and/or 75,001-120,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
3 Month 3,000 mile Max Care Warranty
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