Daimler-Chrysler should retain my services as a walking, talking, and breathing billboard. I offer this in earnest, as I am currently driving my third Dodge Dakota pick-up truck. Not only am I faithful to Dodge, but I am also patriotic about my loyalty; my first Dakota was white, my second one was blue; and my current wheels boast shiny apple red. It bemuses me when I think about this nationalistic trail of red, white and blue – or should I say white, blue, and red…? At the risk of sounding trite, I felt like a “star” when I first drove my very first brand new shiny red vehicle off the lot with 18 miles on the odometer.
The Dodge Dakota is a pleasant little mid-sized truck. Dodge’s creation is larger than the Ford Ranger or the Chevrolet S-10, for example, but smaller than the Dodge Ram, Ford F-150, or GMC full sized pick up. It is this mid-sized hybrid that affords the Dakota most of its charm and appeal. The body style continues to morph throughout the years, just as most other makes and models do; my current 2000 model has the rounded, aerodynamic fenders and bumpers reminiscent of the 60’s Dodge Ram models. My first two rides modeled the defined box-like style and were standard cabs. However, I will not ever own another truck that does not have at least a club or quad cab. My red ride provides a reasonably spacey club cab, albeit it a bit snug when boarding individuals with more bulk, or older persons.
I suppose I was first attracted to this make and model of vehicle when my teenaged nephew rolled his older Dakota — after having had several fender benders in the resilient little vehicle. Although rolling multiple times before coming to rest on its wheels, its tough exterior did an excellent job of protecting my young nephew’s seat-belted body. It was shortly after this incident that I traded for my first Dakota, although it was five years old. It served me well for several years until it was actually stolen by an ex-boyfriend and was unfortunately never located. I expect that the faithful little vehicle would have served me for many more miles than the 100,000+ that was on it when the thug – suspected as having made a key on the sly – made off with my first little gem.
Many folks have claimed that Dodge trucks have left a trail of transmission problems, but I suppose I have drawn a lucky card each time, as none of my trucks – up to this point, I must add – have suffered such a deficit. Furthermore, my history of putting three clutches in a previously owned five-speed manual transmission sports car have not held true for my Dakota. It is now seven years old, has over 100,000 miles on it, and has the original clutch!
Conversely, and on a critical note, I must add that the six-cylinder engine provided in the current truck will definitely be upgraded to a V-8, and possibly even four wheel drive, in the event I decide to spring for Dakota Number Four. This decision is due to ownership of a mid-sized truck that is a bit too large for the six cylinder engine, resulting in weakened gas mileage and sluggishness when pulling weight such as my pretty color coordinated two-horse trailer. More than once, my sweet little Dakota has fallen prey to down-shifting all the way to second gear as it struggled to lug two saddle mares up an incline; on one occasion, I completely “overshot the runway” when pulling a loaded two-horse trailer. I immediately realized that I had to allow the ton of horse flesh to push the truck past my targeted driveway until I could downshift and ease the brakeless trailer to a halt. This can prove quite dangerous, obviously, when a motorist has traffic behind them! Another reason that I tritely state that “I could have had a V-8” is that owners of the V-8 four wheel drive models have reported gas mileage comparable to my current approximate 16 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. Again, this appears to be caused by the smaller motor having to compensate for the heavier body of the truck. Although my five speed manual transmission helps with this matter, it does not improve the gas mileage.
It is obvious that the 2007 model’s body style is returning to sharp vertices and edges analogous of the 90’s model, albeit with smoother and more provocative styling. I am still pondering whether or not this new style appeals to me for a future purchase. Moreover, I doubt that Daimler-Chrysler will send me a discount voucher towards the purchase of my next Dakota in consideration for my biased review, but I do hope that they continue to manufacture this attractive, durable, and popular model for years to come.