2003 Dodge Dakota

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$16,845

starting MSRP

2003 Dodge Dakota

Key specs

Base trim shown

Overview

10 trims

Starting msrp listed lowest to highest price

Wondering which trim is right for you?

Our 2003 Dodge Dakota trim comparison will help you decide.

2003 Dodge Dakota review: Our expert's take

Vehicle Overview
Only V-6- and V-8-powered versions of Dodge’s midsize Dakota pickup truck are available for the 2003 model year because the four-cylinder engine has been dropped. A new Stampede Appearance Package will be added during 2003; offered on regular cab and Club Cab Sport models, this option group includes ground-effects side moldings, wheel flares, 16-by-8-inch aluminum wheels and a rear stabilizer bar.

All-disc brakes are now standard for the Quad Cab, 4WD and performance-oriented R/T models. Newly styled cast-aluminum 16-by-7-inch wheels are installed. Dodge now offers a five-speed-automatic transmission that features a dual-ratio second gear, which teams with the 4.7-liter engine.

A value-priced but boldly styled SXT model tempts budget-minded shoppers. The lineup also includes base, Sport, Sport Plus, SLT and SLT Plus trim levels. The top performer is the Dakota R/T (road and track), which is equipped with a 250-horsepower V-8 engine, front and rear stabilizer bars, unique suspension tuning, P255/55R17 tires and a stance that’s 1 inch lower than usual. Dakotas were last redesigned for the 1997 model year.

Exterior
Basic Dakota styling is patterned after the company’s full-size Ram pickup. Regular cab, Club Cab (extended-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. Because the Quad Cab devotes more space to passengers, it comes with a shorter, 5.5-foot cargo bed. The Quad Cab version can tow as much as 6,050 pounds.

Although regular-cab models use a 6.5-foot cargo bed, they have shorter dimensions than the Quad Cab for both the wheelbase and overall length. Regular cabs measure 196 inches long overall on a 112.1-inch wheelbase. Unlike other extended-cab compacts, no rear doors are offered on the Dakota Club Cab. The value-priced SXT model includes graphite bumpers, fascia, grille and fender flares, along with sporty 16-inch aluminum wheels.

Interior
All Dakotas may be equipped with either a front bench or a pair of front bucket seats. Club Cab and Quad Cab models have split rear benches with cushions that fold for extra storage space.

Because the Quad Cab’s interior is about a foot longer than the Club Cab’s length, its backseat is vastly roomier. Space for adults in the Quad Cab’s rear seat is adequate, but they will likely be cramped in the Club Cab. Tall rear doors that open 90 degrees on the Quad Cab ease entry and exit.

Under the Hood
A 175-hp, 3.9-liter V-6 serves as the base engine, but Dakotas are unique among compact pickups because they can be fitted with V-8 power plants. A 235-hp (230 hp in California), 4.7-liter V-8 is available for all three body styles. A 245-hp, 5.9-liter Magnum V-8 — which is larger than the V-8s in some full-size pickups — is available for all body styles. A special 250-hp version goes into the sporty Dakota R/T. Three transmissions are available: a four-speed automatic, a five-speed automatic and a five-speed manual. A dashboard switch controls transfer-case operation on four-wheel-drive (4WD) models.

Safety
Four-wheel antilock brakes and roof-mounted side curtain-type airbags are optional.

 

Reported by Jim Flammang  for cars.com
From the cars.com 2003 Buying Guide
Posted on 1/29/03

Consumer reviews

Rating breakdown (out of 5):
  • Comfort 4.0
  • Interior design 3.9
  • Performance 3.9
  • Value for the money 4.2
  • Exterior styling 4.2
  • Reliability 4.1

Most recent consumer reviews

4.9

My 1st ever Dodge.

This truck handles very well. Even though it's an 03 it only had 97k miles on it. Handles great, no play in steering, good acceleration, and being its a 6cyl the gas milage is good.

5.0

Great truck, not too big, tows and commutes

Plenty of room for 6 footers, takes a lot of rugged use by young men and dogs, dependable and solid, fold up seats in rear - dogs go right in or 2 people and groceries! Great truck.

4.7

I think it’s an amazing vehicle

I think it’s an amazing vehicle, comfortable and easy to drive. Plenty of power and get up and go which was just what I was looking for!

See all 38 consumer reviews

Warranty

New car and Certified Pre-Owned programs by Dodge
Certified Pre-Owned program benefits
Maximum age/mileage
5 model years or newer/less than 75,000 miles
Basic warranty terms
3 months/3,000 miles
Powertrain
7 years/100,000 miles
Dealer certification required
125-point inspection
Roadside assistance
Yes
View all cpo program details

Have questions about warranties or CPO programs?

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