Photo: Dodge 2005 DODGE DAKOTA LARAMIE QUAD 4WD Completely redesigned for 2005, the Dakota has a new platform, suspension, steering and braking
2005 DODGE DAKOTA LARAMIE QUAD 4WD Completely redesigned for 2005, the Dakota has a new platform, suspension, steering and braking systems, and new interiors. As is often the case, the new generation is bigger than the old. The Dakota is available with two- or four doors, two- or fourwheel drive and in five different trims. Cab and bed Front entry and exit are easy but you have to be careful not to hit your head on the edge of the roof, which is a bit low. The seats are very comfortable thanks to the long cushion and high backrest. Drivers get a very good driving position, but the passenger will find that the transmission tunnel crowds their feet. The rear doors open nearly 90o for easy access but again, you must watch your head on the way in and out. Comfort is just average because of the low cushion, and there are no grab bars above the doors. The 60/40 split seatback folds to provide more storage space. The bed is 160 cm (5 ft. 4 in.) long and well designed, with several tiedowns and channels for horizontal and vertical separators. Unfortunately, the tailgate does not lock. Convenience and safety The cab is well finished in good-quality materials. Soundproofing is adequate. There are numerous storage spaces including a very roomy centre console, which compensates somewhat for a small glove box that has just enough room for the owner’s manual. Don’t look for the towing capacity in the manual—it’s not there. DaimlerChrysler makes it available on their Web site to consumers who have a computer and Internet service. Instruments and controls are well laid out except for the wiper control on the turn-signal stalk, which obliges you to take your left hand off the wheel to use it. The wipers do not have a MIST mode. All controls except the steering-wheel-mounted cruise control buttons are lit at night.
The climate control system is very efficient, though the fan is a bit noisy from the second setting up. Intermediate positions between the different settings ensure better air distribution, a highly appreciated feature that fewer manufacturers make available. Safety-wise, the Dakota offers two front airbags, good visibility on all sides and four head restraints that unfortunately do not have enough adjustment to protect tall people. The low-beams are bright enough, but not the highbeams. Engine and transmission Despite its 230 horses and 290 lb-ft. of torque, the 4.7-litre V8 has to work hard to power the vehicle. Acceleration is rather pallid and a heavy load makes matters worse. You have to be hard on the accelerator to get decent performance, and fuel economy suffers as a result. The five-speed automatic transmission is ultra-smooth but slow to downshift. Well-geared, it runs the engine at 1700 rpm at 100 km-h. The transfer case works very well and is easy to use. On the road The suspension generally provides a smooth ride with well-controlled firmness and no harshness. Though the Dakota holds the road well, some bumps cause front-end pitch. When the road gets rough, the vehicle tends to drift, especially in curves, and the rear end can hop. The suspension has a good, solid feel. The power steering is well weighted, stable, precise and relatively quick. It provides a bit of road feel and has a short turning circle. The powerful brakes displayed good fade resistance even after a number of high-speed emergency stops. Our inspection at a CAA-Quebec technical inspection centre showed that the engine and transmission dipsticks are hard to reach, there is no light under the hood and the hood lock needs to be modified to make it easier to use. The Dakota is very sturdily built underneath but is not rust-proofed. The ventilation valves for the differentials are high and well-located.
Conclusion With a choice of two models and several trim levels, the new Dakota has what it takes to attract mid-size pickup buyers. A more civilized vehicle than before, the Dakota also boasts good quality fit and finish. PROS: comfortable front seats, roominess, sturdy undercarriage, ultrasmooth transmission, fast wipers, driving position CONS: uncomfortable rear seat, power (230-hp V8), unlit controls, no MIST setting, wiper control, poor rust-proofing 2005 DODGE DAKOTA Engine: 12-valve, 3.7-litre V6; 16-valve, 4.7-litre High-Output V8 Horsepower: 210 hp @ 5200 rpm; 230 hp @ 4400 rpm; 260 hp @ 5200 rpm Torque: 235 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm; 290 lb-ft @ 3600; 310 lb-ft @ 3500 rpm Transmission: 6-speed manual; 4- or 5-speed automatic Suspension: independent/solid axle Brakes: disc/drum Length: 555.8 cm Width: 188.7 cm Height: 174.2 cm Wheelbase: 333.5 cm Weight: 1,948 to 2,041 kg Tires: P245/70R16; P255/65R16; P265/70R16; P275/60R17; P265/65R17 Towing capacity: 3,243 kg Air bags: Standard front, optional head curtain Fuel consumption with 230-hp V8, automatic transmission and 4WD: Transport Canada rating City: 16.3 L/100 km (17 mpg) Highway: 11.1 L/100 km (25 mpg) Test result: 16 L/100 (18 mpg) Test temperature: 17oC to 30oC Fuel tank capacity: 83 litres Acceleration: 0-100 km/h: 10.3 seconds
60-100 km/h: 8.2 seconds
Competition: Nissan Frontier, Toyota Tacoma Warranty: Full basic coverage: 3 years/60,000 km Powertrain: 5 years/100,000 km Surface corrosion: 3 years/60,000 km Perforation damage: 5 years/160,000 km Emissions control system: 3 years/60,000 km (full coverage); 8 years/130,000 km (catalytic converter, electronic control module ) Factory replacement parts: Rear bumper: $409 Brake pads: $167 Front fender: $386
Front brake disk: $163 Muffler: $208
Average insurance premium (Quebec City, replacement cost endorsement, claim-free insurance record, male or female driver 30 to 40 years old): $947 to $1,338 Price according to trim line: Club Cab ST: $24,720 Club Cab SLT: $26,940 Club Cab Laramie: $33,215 Quad Cab ST: $27,185 Quad Cab SLT: $29,295 Quad Cab Laramie: $35,660 Main
options: 4WD: $3,570 to $3,770, depending on trim 4-wheel ABS: $520 Air curtains: $460 Limited-slip differential: $405 Front seat heaters: $375 Towing package: $675
Price as tested: $43,755 Freight and preparation: $1,050 Dealers: Quebec: 56
© August, 2005. All rights reserved. CAA-Quebec