2002 Dodge Dakota

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$1,090–$9,818 Inventory Prices
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Key Specs

of the 2002 Dodge Dakota. Base trim shown.

2002 Dodge Dakota Overview

By Cars.com Editors
Vehicle Overview
The base, Sport and SLT price classes replace last year’s decor groups for Dodge’s midsize pickup. The Dakota is likely to be redesigned next year, along with the Durango sport utility vehicle. A new “value-priced” SXT model includes graphite bumpers, fascia, grille and fender flares, along with sporty, 16-inch aluminum wheels.

Though the Dakota is generally classified as a compact, it is larger than its foremost rivals: the Chevrolet S-10, Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma. Some observers in the auto industry consider the Dakota to be the only midsize pickup.

Four engines remain available: a four-cylinder, a V-6 and a pair of V-8s, with either a five-speed-manual or four-speed-automatic transmission. The top performer is the Dakota R/T (road and track), which is equipped with a 250-horsepower V-8, front and rear stabilizer bars, unique suspension tuning, P255/55R17 tires and a stance that’s 1 inch lower than usual.

In 2000, Dakotas earned major changes to the exterior. It was at that time that a four-door Quad Cab (crew-cab) body style was introduced. A redesigned dashboard and other interior modifications followed. The Chevrolet S-10, GMC Sonoma, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma are also available with crew-cab styling, which offers four conventional, front-hinged doors.



Exterior
Basic Dakota styling is patterned after the full-size Ram pickup. Regular-cab, Club Cab and Quad Cab body styles are available. The four-door Quad Cab rides the sa...
Vehicle Overview
The base, Sport and SLT price classes replace last year’s decor groups for Dodge’s midsize pickup. The Dakota is likely to be redesigned next year, along with the Durango sport utility vehicle. A new “value-priced” SXT model includes graphite bumpers, fascia, grille and fender flares, along with sporty, 16-inch aluminum wheels.

Though the Dakota is generally classified as a compact, it is larger than its foremost rivals: the Chevrolet S-10, Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma. Some observers in the auto industry consider the Dakota to be the only midsize pickup.

Four engines remain available: a four-cylinder, a V-6 and a pair of V-8s, with either a five-speed-manual or four-speed-automatic transmission. The top performer is the Dakota R/T (road and track), which is equipped with a 250-horsepower V-8, front and rear stabilizer bars, unique suspension tuning, P255/55R17 tires and a stance that’s 1 inch lower than usual.

In 2000, Dakotas earned major changes to the exterior. It was at that time that a four-door Quad Cab (crew-cab) body style was introduced. A redesigned dashboard and other interior modifications followed. The Chevrolet S-10, GMC Sonoma, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma are also available with crew-cab styling, which offers four conventional, front-hinged doors.



Exterior
Basic Dakota styling is patterned after the full-size Ram pickup. Regular-cab, Club Cab and Quad Cab body styles are available. The four-door Quad Cab rides the same 131-inch wheelbase and measures the same 215 inches in overall length as the Club Cab (extended cab). Because the Quad Cab devotes more space to passengers, it comes with a shorter, 5.25-foot cargo bed instead of the 6.5-foot bed available on regular-cab models. Nevertheless, Dodge claims it is the largest cargo bed among four-door compact pickups; this model is capable of handling a payload of up to 1,770 pounds. A Quad Cab Dakota can tow as much as 6,200 pounds.

Although regular-cab models use the 6.5-foot cargo bed, they have shorter dimensions for both the wheelbase and overall length than the Quad Cab. Regular cabs measure 196 inches long on a 112.1-inch wheelbase. Unlike other extended-cab compacts, no rear doors are offered on the Dakota Club Cab. Buyers who want more than two doors must turn to the Quad Cab.



Interior
All models can be equipped with either a front bench or a pair of bucket seats. A floor console for models with front bucket seats includes three cupholders, an armrest and a group of storage bins. Club Cab and Quad Cab models have split rear benches with cushions that fold for extra storage space. A pullout cupholder sits under the backseat.

Because the Quad Cab’s interior is about a foot longer than the Club Cab’s, its backseat is vastly roomier. Space is adequate for adults in the Quad Cab’s rear seat, but they are likely to be cramped in the Club Cab. Tall rear doors that open 90 degrees on the Quad Cab make it easier to get in and out of the rear seat. The front passenger seat slides forward on Club Cabs, but it’s still awkward to squeeze into the backseat. Elastic straps on the undersides of the cushions are handy for securing ice scrapers, umbrellas and other small items.



Under the Hood
A 120-hp, 2.5-liter four-cylinder serves as the base engine for two-wheel-drive regular cabs and Club Cabs. Because it’s really too small for this truck, the four-cylinder power plant is seldomly used in the Dakota. Most other models have a 175-hp, 3.9-liter V-6 as standard equipment.

Dakotas are unique among compact pickups because they can be fitted with V-8 engines. A 235-hp, 4.7-liter V-8 is available for all three body styles. A 250-hp, 5.9-liter Magnum V-8 — which is bigger than the V-8s in some full-size pickups — is available for all body styles, and a special 250-hp version goes into the sporty Dakota R/T. Transfer-case operation on four-wheel-drive models relies on a convenient dashboard switch. Four-wheel antilock brakes are standard on the new “value-priced” SXT and come as optional equipment on all other models.

 
Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
From the cars.com 2002 Buying Guide

Latest 2002 Dakota Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.1)
Interior Design
(4.4)
Comfort
(4.3)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Latest Reviews

(4.0)

Spacious and Powerful

by TruckBaby from CA on June 7, 2018

This truck has been great for all of my needs. It comfortably seats 5 people for a road trip, and has the towing capacity to boot. Overall, very useful, comfortable and reliable - I?ve never ... Read full review

(5.0)

Nice Comfort Luxury Of A Sedan In A Truck Form

by oopsiedood from Florida on January 15, 2018

This truck is a luxury to drive, rides nice and comfortable, like a sedan. Only thing not great on gas mileage. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2002 Dodge Dakota currently has 12 recalls

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2002 Dodge Dakota has not been tested.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Dakota received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker