2010 Dodge Dakota Receives Shock Therapy

2010 Dodge Dakota Receives Shock Therapy

It's no secret that big incentives and modern features in full-size pickups have played large roles in the decline of the midsize truck segment, but the aging Dodge Dakota has been hit harder than most small rigs. The Dakota's year-over-year sales in 2008 were down by almost 50 percent. The Ram's little brother needs help to keep it going until Dodge's future "lifestyle" pickup arrives, so for 2010, Dodge is giving the Dakota some shock therapy.

Next year's Dakota receives new front shocks and springs and rear spring assemblies for improved ride and handling. The suspension improvements are welcome additions following the Dakota's last major revision in 2008, which gave it a restyled nose, interior refinements and a new 290-horsepower, 4.7-liter V-8.

The 2010 Dakota also gets a few new colors added to its palette: Bright White, Flame Red and Mango Tango replace Stone White Clear, Detonator Yellow and Sunburst Orange.

Dodge is dropping the Dakota's Getrag six-speed manual transmission that was standard last year with the 3.7-liter V-6, along with that powertrain's 3.21 rear axle. Next year, the 3.7-liter V-6 comes standard only with a four-speed automatic. The 4.7-liter V-8 continues to offer a five-speed automatic.

The 2010 Dodge Dakota hangs onto its best-in-class towing rating of up to 7,250 pounds (extended cab, 2WD, short box, 4.7-liter V-8), an increase of 200 pounds over the 2009 model.


If they would drop the 5.7 Hemi in it and make a reg. cab R/T edition, I would buy one.

@Ronald F.Pickle:

This is not Burger King

If they'd put a more efficiant engine in it, I might buy one. It doesn't get any better mileage then the Ram so why buy the Dakota? I say put a six speed in it and a direct injection V6.

i, personally, hate the look. too cheap looking. i liked the early 2000's model better.

I have to agree with Jesse. The earlier models with their softer lines looked better.

Who designed that front bumper? Did they do it on a cocktail napkin during happy hour at the local bar? Geez Dodge, give this thing a face lift like it's larger brother and make it shine.

its really not a bad truck. its just the ugliest truck on the market. if they kept everything the same and changed the body sales would be closer to the toyota tocoma, and maybe even pass it. this is the kind of mess that got chrysler in trouble. when this thing was introduced somebody should have said something. i wonder if some of the executives felt the same way i do. they should make it look more like the ram 1500.

They should put anti-lock disk brakes on all fours of the Dakota like the 2003-4 Dakota models. Besides the Ram and the Durango have 4-wheel disk brakes. Rear drums belong on small economy cars. Also, they need to make it look more like the Ram and put a Hemi in it like they did the Durango.

It is also vastly overpriced. If its virtually the same price as a full size, whats the point?

Like people,Dakota got big and fat and outlived its usefulness.Remember,Dakota came along when Dodge also had RAM50,so they had 3 classes of trucks covered.There isnt that big of a difference between Dakota and RAM anymore.Dakota should move downmarket,and a smaller,car based pickup could take the low ground.Leaving RAM alone to handle the large/HD market.

i own a 2003 4x4 reg cab, 6cyl 5sp.,posi 3.92 gears, have had no prob. 56,000mls, get aprx 16.5 in town 19.5hyw. this truck is the greatest off road stock truck i have ever owned, it flies on the beach and is great in the mud, have upgade shocks, tires, and have cranked the bars in the front, to level, the only thing i regret is not getting the v8. don't like the new dakota but the new ram is nice, but my next new truck will prob. be the new f-150, strong, no fed $$$$$$ meaning OWR MONEY,would never buy any japsrap, i don't buy into the BS that they are any better, stay away from the kool-aid, you American? buy American

This truck is ugly, underpowered, inefficient, and so close both in price and in size to a full-size truck that you'd pretty much have to be nuts to buy one over a Ram.

A suspension upgrade and new colors aren't going to sell this thing.

This isnt going to help sell anymore dakotas. They keep playing with the shock feel and spring rate, since day one. Come on, be done with it already. This truck needs about 3 more inches of ground clearance to be useful, because its too huge, and entry and departure angles stink. Now they are doing away with the 6 speed getrag?? Thats a good tranny, and the one I have in my 06 dakota. I would never invest in one of there automatics. Looks like there making the dakota worse for 2010. I say good ridance to it.

"would never buy any japsrap, i don't buy into the BS that they are any better, stay away from the kool-aid, you American? buy American"

The Tacoma is way better than the Dakota...

Nice front torsion bars on the lower control arms and nice rear lower shock mounts...

4 speed auto for the V6, and 5 spd for the V8? Isn't that taking a step backwards? Should've been more like the 5 spd auto for the V6 and a 6 spd for the V8. I've never really been a Chrysler fan but this truck is, yeah i don't even have a word for it. It looks to me like a Caliber front end, with a Sebring hood and a Ram body.

How is it underpowered? It comes with a 300+HP V8 and 5 speed auto. It has the same drivetrain (Engine, Transmission, front and rear axles) as the Ram. Its also the ONLY Midsized truck that can handle the same sized Plow Assembly as a half ton truck (good for us northerners with long narrow driveways). I agree about the pricing and mileage- BUT the Frontier and Tacoma's also get horrible gas mileage in the lower teens AND cost in the Upper 20's. The downfall of the dakota has been its styling and especially its interior. The Tacoma has a car like interior, and todays softer truck buying crowd wants this (look at every half ton made today, they all have car like interiors). I have an 03 dakota with 77k miles on it and it off roads, tows, hauls, and Plows EVERY year of its life and has given me ZERO problems. The 4.7 and 545RFE Tranny are Stout and powerful.

Shocks aren't going to help. It's not even in the top 10 which is pretty bad specially with the ancient Ford Ranger being a top 7 best seller.

I have to agree with an earlier post. There's little difference in price and size to the Ram. A major flaw that most manufacturers make is to keep enlarging their vehicles instead of just improving them.
Likewise, the prices keep going up, but the quality of materials somehow keeps slipping. Brake rotors that warp or rust, updates to the gauges that only make them look like they should say Mattel on them. This isn't exclusive to Dodge, many of them (Ranger) have done/do this.
If they expect products to keep selling, they have to improve upon previous designs, not making them look and feel cheaper.

I have had three Dakotas, 2002 Ext Cab with 4.7L 4x4 awesome truck, 2005 4.7L 4x4 Crew Cab soso truck, 2007 Crew Cab 3.7L 4x4 piece of crap, seems like they get cheaper as the years go by. but i do get 18-19 mpg with the 3.7L if it had 3:42 gears not 4:10 i would get in the low 20's Dodge needs to improve quality standards and MPG if they want to continue selling them. Better yet put a small Diesel in it and they wont be able to make them fast enough.

I have a 1992 8' bed regular cab Dakota. If I could get a new one with a regular cab and an 8' bed I would buy it. However, they don't make that. So to get that I have to go with a full sized truck. I don't need a full sized truck--I haul large loads, but not heavy ones. To get a full sized truck into my garage, I would have to stop, open the window and pull in one of my side mirrors, then reverse that on the way out. Pain. But I also don't need a truck with extra seating. I've got a van for that. Gratefully, my Dakota is made like a tank and has had almost nothing go wrong in its long life, so I keep driving it.

"The Dakota's year-over-year sales in 2008 were down by almost 50 percent"
Everyone I talk to that owns the pre-2008 hates the new body style.... maybe that's why sales are down....

I agree with most that the earlier models style was much nicer looking and I have test driven the new Dakotas and the interior defineatly has room for improvement, it looks cheap. If Dodge came back with the R/T model and a Hemi engine that is something I would be interested in.

I had a 1993 Dakota Sport Reg. cab with the 2.5L-I4, 5-Spd manual and 2WD. I could register 30MPG with it. Absolutely LOVED IT. IMHO - If an I4 manual tranny were to be offered again, I would seriously consider getting another. Until then ... Sorry.

I have to agree with the earlier posts, they keep making the midsize Dakota bigger and bigger,remember it's the midsize and now the MPG is no better than the new and improved Ram fullsize. Please i fail to understand why they want to kill off a great truck. I own a 2004 sxt Reg cab. They have turned the 2010 Dakota into the ugly stepsister who will not be invited back after 2010,almost a sure bet. Please explain Dodge, what was your master Plan.

I just bought the 2010 dakota extended cab 4.7L 5 speed auto. I moved down from a 2003 Ram 2500 quad cab. Kids are gone now don't need 4 doors, getting rid of the overhead camper and looking for a small light weight trailer. I like the smaller and lighter feel after driving the beast for some years now.

I've always felt that dropping the 2-door version of the neon killed that car in the same way that dropping the regular cab version of the dakota hasn't helped it sell. My theory is that you can draw people into the dealership with the promise of cheaper, more efficient vehicles and then end up selling them a loaded 4-door. =)

Personally, i would only drive a regular cab truck because i like small light vehicles and don't feel comfortable in a full-size truck despite my 6'4" height. My 2000 dakota reg cab 4.7 5-speed gets 20 mpg Hwy, weighs 3700 lbs, and will outrun any stock pony car (with a few hundred in mods).

My hope is that they build the unibody 'lifestyle truck' with enough layers of steel to keep the 300 hp corsair 4.7 from ripping it apart and make that the new Dakota R/T. Of course making a unibody that stout would make it a legendary indestructible model that people cherished for decades, but since when have the big 3 done that?


I am an owner of a 98 dakota and i love the truck... but i will never own one of the newer models. What were they thinking when designing the front end. The early 2000 and late 90's models had that nice rounded look. I just want to know why one of the best looking mid size truck was beat with an ugly stick.

I think the only way Dodge will ever improve sales is to actually admit their mistakes with their products, support the low quality of their defective products (Shocks, Brake Rotors) by replacing them, and stop trying to swindle their current customers on these issues. I would never by Dodge again because of these issues. Funny how every body points a finger at Toyota but at least they realize and admit they are becoming like American car makers. Maybe Honda or Nissan would be a better choice.

I have a 2001 Dakota v6 4x4 5speed. 174,000 miles and counting, i bought it new for 14,900. To me the Dakota died in 04, that was the last year of the best dakota. They need to shrink it just a touch, make a truck designed to kill Tacomas. 4 or v-6 5 speed autos or 6 speed manuals, electric lockers, the coil over rear suspension with alot of travel, one hell of a transfer case and screw you toyota!! 4.7 L Sohc is a damn fine engine, I would use that cranked up in a SRT or the off road kit. If they can come out with a Ram to fight the Raptor (in progress), then they can make the Dakota we all want to see, not a goddamn Ridgeline wannabe (that what it sounds like is in the works), but A Tacoma killer!! Maybe even a 4BT cummins turbo diesel 4 banger option would be nice too!!

Admit their mistakes like the way Toyota, Honda, and Ford did it with how they recalled the certain models from US. I guess it's an effective strategy. But they would have to make a statement that doesn't require a whole lot of honesty. Just the right info will do I guess. Or owners who already bought this may resort to having the best car care or repairs when something goes wrong, or resort to getting the unwanted dodge dakota parts. Lots of these are out in the market.

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