Compact pickup truck; Built in USA
  • crew cab
  • ext. cab
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $5,900 – $22,500*


2005 Dodge Dakota


2005 Dodge Dakota


2005 Dodge Dakota

Pros:
  • Trailer-towing capability
Cons:
  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Fuel economy
  • Rear-seat room (Club Cab)

Dakota impresses with refinement, available all-wheel drive, and curtain side airbags. They’re a bit too big for easy daily commuting, but a V8 model is a terrific choice if you tow or do heavy hauling and don’t want the bulk of a true large pickup truck. That earns Dakota a Recommended nod.

Overview

Dodge completely redesigned its compact pickup for 2005. With the redesign came a Dakota that approached near-full-size proportions. The ’05 Dakota shared the 1997-2004 model’s wheelbase, but was four inches longer overall and up to 600 lb heavier. It was available in Club Cab and Quad Cab body styles; regular-cab models were no longer available. Club Cabs had a 6.5-foot cargo bed and rear-hinged back doors that do not open independently of the fronts. Quad Cabs had a 5.3-foot bed and four side conventional doors. Dakota Quad Cab seat up to six passengers, Club Cab seat up to five.

A 210-hp V6 was standard. A 230-hp V8 or High Output 260-hp V8 were optional. A 6-speed manual transmission was standard with the V6 and 230-hp V8. A 4-speed automatic was available with the V6; a 5-speed automatic was available for the 230-hp V8, standard with the 260-hp High Output V8. Dakota was available with 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Both had low-range gearing. The 4WD setup should not be left engaged on dry pavement. Traction control was not available. Dakotas came with standard rear-wheel ABS; 4-wheel ABS was optional. Curtain side airbags that cover both rows of occupants were optional. Also available were satellite radio and Chrysler’s UConnect, which uses the audio system as a hands-free link to cell phones.

Yearly Updates

2006 Dakota
For 2006, Dodge added two new trim packages, TRX (2WD) and TRX4 (4WD). Both included off-road tires and a limited-slip differential. Also added was an optional sunroof on Quad Cab models. Midyear, all four-door models got rear doors that opened wider and Mitsubishi began selling a retrimmed version of the Dakota called the Raider.
2007 Dakota
Remote engine start was newly available on 2007 versions of Dodge’s compact pickup truck.
2008 Dakota
The 2008 Dodge Dakota gained more available power and freshened interior and exterior styling. New for ’08 was a 302-hp 4.7-liter V8. It replaced V8s of 230 and 260 hp. The V8 came only with automatic transmission.
2009 Dakota
Dakota lost its all-wheel-drive option for 2009 and its available manual transmission. Newly offered for ’09 was Dodge’s Crate ‘N Go system, which included collapsible and removable interior storage containers.
2010 Dakota
The 2010 Dodge Dakota received a slightly revised suspension, but was largely unchanged otherwise.
2011 Dakota
The 2011 Dodge Dakota sees no major changes for what will likely be its final model year in its current design.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Initially, a 210-hp V6 was standard. A 230-hp V8 or High Output 260-hp V8 were optional. A 6-speed manual transmission was standard with the V6 and 230-hp V8. A 4-speed automatic was available with the V6; a 5-speed automatic was available for the 230-hp V8, standard with the 260-hp High Output V8. Dakota was available with 4-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Both had low-range gearing. The 4WD setup should not be left engaged on dry pavement. New for ’08 was a 302-hp 4.7-liter V8. It replaced V8s of 230 and 260 hp. The V8 came only with automatic transmission this year.

ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.7/226
Engine HP 210
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 235
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
4-speed automatic
16/22
16/22
ohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.7/287
Engine HP 230-302
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 295-329
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
5-speed automatic
15/20
15/20
15.6
ohc V8
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.7/287
Engine HP 260
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 310
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed automatic

14/18

Road Test

No opportunity to test acceleration with 260-hp V8. Dakotas, Raiders with 230-hp V8 have good power with either transmission, but lack the expected passing reserves. V6 versions seem underpowered for anything but daily commuting and light loads. Dakota towing capacity ranges from 3150 to 7150 lb. Test Dakota 4WD Quad Cabs with 230-hp V8 and automatic transmission averaged 11.6-13.4 mpg. V6 and 230-hp V8 use regular-grade fuel. Dodge recommends premium for 260-hp V8.

For a pickup, the ride is smooth and composed in any configuration with little of the bounding and jiggle typical of the class. Sport and 4WD models add some choppiness over broken surfaces. Steering has direct feel, lacks typical truck sloppiness. Body lean evident in turns, but well-controlled for a pickup. Four-wheel ABS a worthwhile investment over standard rear-only arrangement. Road noise impressively hushed. Some wind rush at highway speeds. Well-muted engines sound refined in rapid acceleration, though V8s are quieter overall.

Large gauges easy to read. Most controls logically placed, readily accessible. Sadly, interior materials look and feel low grade. Hard shiny plastic covers most surfaces, and some controls lack quality feel. Spacious cabin has plenty of head and leg room. Available crew cab front bench seat will accommodate three passengers in a pinch. Crew cabs offer three-abreast rear seating, but only two adults will fit comfortably. Head and leg room adequate for adults under 6 ft, but taller riders will want more leg room. Extended cab’s available forward-facing jump seats best suit those under 5-ft-3, as there’s little leg room. Ample center-console and door-pocket storage. Folding rear seats add to extended cab utility.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2005 Dadge Dakota 4WD Quad Cab V8, automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 3
30%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 6
60%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 5
50%
Cargo Room - 5
50%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 52

Specifications

crew cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
131.3 218.8 71.7 68.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1640 22.0 6
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.9 38.4 41.9 36.4
ext. cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
131.3 218.8 71.7 68.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1750 22.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.6 36.5 41.9 32.1
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2005 Dakota ext. cab

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Engine noise
Description: The serpentine accessory drive belt may make a chirping noise and show wear at the outer edge because the alternator pulley is not in alignment with the other pulleys, requiring the pulley to be shimmed out. (2005-06)
Poor drivability
Description: The vehicle may have difficulty backing up on a steep hill requiring reprogramming the powertrain control module. (2005-06)
Starter
Description: The remote starter may not work because of a failed hood switch. (2005)
Transmission leak
Description: The transmission solenoid/pressure switch leaks fluid causing a check engine light, requiring replacement of the solenoid and electrical connector. (2004-05)
Vehicle noise
Description: Snapping or clicking noise from steering column may be due to defective upper bearing retainer. (2005)
Water leak
Description: The rear floor may become wet due to leaks in the sealer for the rear window (backlight) which must be resealed. (2006-07)
Water leak
Description: The rear floor may become wet due to leaks in the sealer for the rear window (backlight) which must be resealed. (2006-07)
Electrical problem
Description: The Hard Drive radio may lock up with only volume control function requiring reflash. (2007-10)
None
Description: The engine may not start, or may start and stop, when using the remote start feature due to a bad hood switch. (2005)
Transmission problems
Description: Transmission may suffer delayed engagement after sitting overnight due to split in the filter in fluid cooler return line. (2005-06)
Transmission problems
Description: Vibration that feels like driving over rumble strips while driving at a steady speed is caused by defective transmission torque converter. (2007)
Fueling problems
Description: The vehicle may be hard to fill because the nozzle shuts off repeatedly unless an improved fuel vapor tube is installed. (2005-09)

Recall History

2005 Dakota w/ side curtain airbags
Description: Improperly tightened side-curtain airbag could result in improper side-curtain airbag deployment in an accident. Dealers will inspect and tighten affected fasteners.
2006 Dakota
Description: Static electricity can cause the turn signal, headlamps or wipers to malfunction. Dealers will flash the instrument-cluster computer to correct the problem.
2006 Dakota
Description: Improperly installed cup plug on 42RLE automatic transmission could prevent transmission from shifting into Park. Dealers will install a bracket on affected vehicles.
2006 Dakota
Description: The ABS electronic control unit (ECU) may cause the rear the rear brakes to lock up prematurely during certain braking conditions, resulting in a crash. Dealers will replace the ABS ECU.
2007 Dakota w/automatic
Description: The powertrain control software can cause a momentary lock up of the drive wheels if the vehicle is traveling over 40 mph and the operator shifts from drive to neutral and back to drive. If the drive wheels locked up, loss of vehicle control could occur. Dealers will reprogram the powertrain control module free of charge.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.