First Look: 2011 Dakota

2011 Dakota (MAIN)
The new Dakota gets two new important standard safety features: side curtain airbags and antilock brakes. Also, three new exterior colors are available: Hunter Green Pearl Coat, Deep Cherry Red Crystal and Light Graystone.

Other than that, the Ram truck is much the same as the 2010 model. The Dakota got new front and rear suspension components to improve ride quality and handling in 2010, but there's no change to payload or towing figures.

The Dakota starts at $23,110, a $355 increase over the 2010 model. Destination tacks on another $740. For more information check out our research page. Dakota pickup production will end in 2011, according to Fred Diaz, president and CEO of Ram Trucks. There are already 354 2011 Dakotas on sale on


Side curtain airbags and antilock brakes? Those would have been notable features 10 years ago.

antilock brakes 10 years ago yes ...side you crazy no trucks had them 10 years ago

Not sure how the new name thing is working here.
So, are we calling this the 'Ram Dakota'?

@ Greg
I believe the new 2012 will be called that.

@ Mike/Colin
Don't you mean 4 wheel ABS? I believe rear wheel was standard for several years.

Dakota pickup production will end in 2011 - so get your collector's edition Dakota now while quantities last.

I guess you can add Ranger, SportTrac, Colorado and Canyon to that list :(

still ugly pickup..ram change name but not the model...please ram do something...

Plenty of vehicles had side airbags around 2001. Even Jeep had them as an option on their Grand Cherokee. Like I said, antilock brakes and side airbags would have been the cat's meow about 10 years ago, now they're pretty much expected as standard features (and I believe are required come 2013).

U.S. Auto manufacturers say that no one in America buys small trucks.....well maybe if they put some real effort into them we might be willing to buy them. I mean, we've got the Dakota that is just getting antilock brakes (hello 1995), the Ranger that has had the same engine since 1990.....the only one that is relatively modern is the Colorado/Canyon, and that hasn't changed much in 7 years.

$23,000 is ridiculous for a mid size truck.They seriously need to decontent the thing and get it under $20K if they expect any sales at all.The success of the original Dakota was due to it being everything to everybody....4 or 6 or even 8 cylinders,manual or automatic,2 or 4 wheel drive,short/long bed,extended cab,base strippo/upmarket/sport/Shelby models....colors and stripe options,and a lot of parts sharing with other Chrysler products to get costs down.Dakota for years now has been a shell of its former self.Simply a case of a manufacturer not even aware of its own mistakes,and blind to the competition.This also lead to the demise of Mitsubishi Raider...cost.Mitsu should have sourced from someone else,like Ranger or even Tacoma.

"U.S. Auto manufacturers say that no one in America buys small trucks....."

....... From them. I see lots of Tacomas around. And lots of used Rangers and S10s.

I admit to loving the first-generation Dakota. Mine was a POS that left me stranded and I sold it at 32K. But it sure looked good and was JUST the right size.

This truck, at least, is less homely than the ugly 2nd Gen. Dakota it replaces.

@ Paul All Ram brand truck have rear wheel ABS standard equipment. 4 wheel ABS was the option.
I have owned 2 Dakotas. A 06 and a 92. Both were great little trucks. Seems odd to make these changes in the last year of production though.

I would buy a small truck if someone made one.

"U.S. Auto manufacturers say that no one in America buys small trucks....."

That is a false statement. Many Americans buy them in Brazil and other South American nations...

Thier is a reason for that. Thier small trucks are nothing special hence nobody buys them where the Tacoma has many more options and configurations the domestic brands lack and the result is simple. Tacoma is the best seller and safest in class!

In order to sell you have to invest in many models and configurations to attract buyers, where the domestics fail Toyota wins...

but ugly I loved the 3rd gens my 2002 had rear abs so im sure that is just a typo the dakota was a genius idea not a joke like a ranger or s10 but a little smaller and easier to drive than a full size with the deletion of the regular cab and the ugly stylings of the post 2004 dakotas killed it plenty of small companies chose it over a ranger or s10 for work b/c its a little bigger yet still cheaper than a full size but w/ no regular cab, price drop in 1500's and increase in the dakota all the selling points of it are gone r.i.p kotas... RAM, DODGE, CHRYSLER, MOPAR W/E YOUR CALLING YOURSELVES WE WANT A MINI TRUCK W/ A MINI CUMMINS

Nice to know about the coming Dakota. I was in search of such model mini truck. Its attractive price is very awesome to buy it. Thanks for this well construction model.

$23,000 for a midsize truck is ridiculous alright. Hell, you can get a fullsize regular cab pickup with the small V8 and get just as good or even better gas mileage than this gas-guzzling Dodge for about the same price or cheaper than $23,000. Or pay a few thousand more and get a fullsize extended cab.





It's true Americans dont want small trucks !!!

The Tacoma is bigger than a Dakota !

Toyota Tacoma
74.6 inches wide
221.3 inches long

Dodge Ram Dakota
71.7 inches wide
218.5 inches long

You brag Toyota is the best selling compact truck,well yes ! It's also the biggest !

American companies do make small trucks the GM Canyon/Colorado are extrememly small is the Ford Ranger and sales are dragging.

Most people go to a Dodge/Ford/GM dealer thinking they want a smaller truck,they look at the full size trucks and fall in love and buy a full size ! Especially the Dakota is pricey,the same price as a Ram 1500 !

You said "Many Americans buy them in Brazil and other South American nations" Are you seriously ill ?What dont you get ? I dont think there are many full size Dodge/Ford/GM truck dealers in Brazil !!! Stop sniffing glue !

People buy the tacoma because its the biggest small truck around....simple...Americans dont like small trucks...

I will misses small pickup are fateful Dakota is dying, Ford Ranger is dying Chevy Colorado is dying and GMC Canyon is dying. if you watches Clint Eastwood have shot and killed many outlaw gangs for western films. if Western outlaw are gone. if small pickups are gone. I think American people are very complains to Volkswagen say no about VW Amorak coming to US. I think Ford, GM and Chrysler are real greedy to US Market.


How is Ford/GM/Chrysler greedy ?

Stop sniffing glue my friend !

With your theory,VW is greedy as they are planning to increase car sales in North America ! VW is greedy ! Again,with your theory VW should get out of North America,they sell cars here because VW is greedy,they have a huge market in Europe and other places,VW is greedy for wanting to sell vehicles in North America !! Fact is small trucks dont sell well in North America..US & Canada We want and like full size trucks ! VW is greedy and I believe you are delusional ! VW is greedy for using a rebadged Chrysler minivan to increase VW's sales..VW is greedy and using Americans !!

Gooey Bum:

If I may put words in Matt's mouth, I think what he's trying to say is that Ford/GM/Chrysler are greedy for selling us the trucks they think we should buy, rather than the trucks we want.

Case in point: I don't need or want a vehicle that's substantially or more powerful than my Ranger, but I'd need to buy an F-150 to get some of the features I want -- like a 4-doors with a 6' bed.

I'm quite happy with the 1000lb-ish hauling capacity of my Ranger, and with the towing capacity provided by my 2.5L motor. And I value MPGs more than I value being able to look down on other vehicles. Don't get me wrong, the F-150 is a great truck and I recently helped a family-member buy one because it was perfect for her purposes. But all I want to do is haul a few sheets of plywood and bring my wife and my 8-month-old son along. There's no reason that I need a vehicle as large or as capable as the F-150 for that.

And, yet, it seems like Ford is concerned that selling me the nice little truck that I want will eat in to their F-150 sales, and their line is clearly set up to nudge me to buy one. Maybe I'll get an old Nissan Frontier and put a ute-bed on it.

The simple fact is the people that want to buy AND are willing to buy a small truck are a very small minority. They might not be a minority on this particular website, but in the overall U.S. population they are a tiny percentage. If it was a good business decision to continue to make a small pickup, they would do it. The fact that ALL the major American companies have decided that it is no longer a good business decision says something. The fact that most of you on here are complaining about the small trucks being discontinued but yet aren't going out and purchasing the small trucks that are being offered should clue you in on one of the many reasons it isn't a wise business decision. Customers have proven time and time again that they are not willing to repeatedly spend money on small trucks. Simply case of supply and demand. If there isn't enough of a demand in order to justify supplying it, then they won't supply it. And the demand for a product such as a vehicle requires more than just a few thousand people.

@ Luke - I see your point but the auto companies ARE selling us what we want. We live in an affluent society.
Most of us are in a position where we can buy what we want as opposed to being forced to buying only what we need.
It boils down to wants or needs, and can you afford the difference.
Look at full size 4x4 SUV's. For years the domestics made a killing selling them.
That is what people wanted.
Did most of those people need one?

The problem is, Americans DO want small trucks--trucks the size of the old RAM D50/Mitsubishi pickup of the late 70's early 80's. What's happened is that the mid-sized trucks of today are the size of the full-sized trucks then, and the full-sized trucks have grown huge.

If you ask me, assuming the Mahindra ever gets into the States, it will have a market segment all to itself--a compact pickup with a heavy carrying capacity.

"The fact that most of you on here are complaining about the small trucks being discontinued but yet aren't going out and purchasing the small trucks that are being offered should clue you in on one of the many reasons it isn't a wise business decision."

I own a 1998 Ford Ranger. It's a 12 year old truck. It's a good basic machine and has as much hauling/towing capacity as I need. Though, after putting 100k miles on it for a total of 180k miles, there are a number of things that I would improve, and I wouldn't mind having a higher trim-level. But I'm basically happy with it.

However, when I look at the 2011 Ford Ranger, there are no substantive improvements. There are a few things, of course, like electronic traction control -- but it's really just paying $20k for the same truck that I already have. Buying another Ranger would be silly.

Now, if they'd put a small diesel in the Ranger, I'd be pumped about spending money on the thing. If they'd put Subaru-style all-wheel-drive, that would be perfect for the way I use it (all weather driving, but with limited off-roading). And, of course, if they jack it up, no sale -- I'm short, and my truck should be short too.

(Really, the main thing I'd improve for the Ranger is to eliminate the wheel wells and have a flat cargo area. Maybe I'll convert mine to a flatbed. Oh, and maybe I'll blot on a high-tech looking radio so it feels all technologically up to date, despite manual locks, windows, and transmission.)

Hey Gooey? Dakota just now got ABS standatd? IIRC almost every other truck has had it standard for years now. Please welcome the Dakota to the 90' 2010-11

They should stick a box on the back of the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee / Dodge whatever and call that the new Dakota. Ditch this ancient, ugly Dakota as it exists.



DAKOTA HAD ANTI LOCK BRAKES IN 1989....before GM,Ford,imports !!!

Re-read buddy !!! It's 4 wheel antilock..they had 2 wheel antilock standard in the late 80's !!! They had 2 wheel antilock but now its 4 wheel antilock standard was option before(mainly base models had 2 wheel)..basically the base model 6 banger trucks only had 2 wheel anti lock since tthe cheapy model comes with 4 wheel anti lock..the v-8 and slt trim 6 shooter's and 8 cyl always had 4 wheel anti lock since 1991....Get a clue !!


Sorry, I think you are wrong...Look at GM's small trucks they are real small old S-10 size and people dont want them.. The new Colorado is only 2 inches wider than an old 1980's Chevy S-10 ! And the bigger more powerful engines today get better gas mileage than older engines of the 80's-90's ect..even a new v-6 gets better gas mileage than a 80's 4 banger in a similar (weight) vehicle.

Fact is people want bigger,more powerful trucks today..Yes,there are some people who still want small trucks but that market is small,as seen in sales numbers..

I don't know why Dodge changed the Dakota for the worse they had a great looking truck form 1997-2004.Its as if they didn't care about the truck any more.The present truck needs a complete makeover.Not side airbags and ABS.Who are they kidding.Hey look at the Tacoma,Frontier even though Ford hasn't redesigned the Ranger they were smart enough not to mess with it looks they made it better.Dodge decided to not compete with the Dakota anymore.Defying logic in my view.

Gooey - Never said the Dakota didn't have all wheel ABS ever. I said everyone else has had All wheel ABS standard, i.e. not optional or rear wheel only, for years now. Where in the article does it say cheapy model only now comes with std 4 wheel ABS? It doesn't. It says 4 wheel ABS i s now standard. Like everyone else has had it for years. Get a clue.

So Dodge - Ram or Dakota? :-D (sarcasm)

@Gooey Bum, That's the length of the long wheelbase Tacoma. Do you know for certain that is the biggest seller? I looked at lots and didn't see that many. Ended up buying a 2007 QC Dakota 4x4 4.7 H.O. Had the 3.92 gears. Couldn't see a truck that size with the Tacoma engine! But I don't guess they are buying them to tow much. Tacoma leaf springs are flat like Frontier ones, not alot of capacity there. I'd never hook up 5,000 pounds of total weight race car on a double axle trailer behind one! I got rid of my Dak cause the water kept getting in the cab one way or the other, the bouncy ride, and not alot of towing stability. Since the Ram has coils, and they work ok, with the drawback of payload (which the Dodge could change with air bags) The Dak should get the coils! Fix the front ride..maybe the frontend of the new Darango...and, a smaller version of the hemi, like, maybe 5.2 ish, with MDS...the thing could be getting 22-23 MPG. And it needs the availability of the long bed of the Dak club cab. I did end up looking at the Frontiers, that's what I'd buy if I wanted a small/midsize truck but 5,000 plus pounds behind those trucks is a strecth in the hills.

They still have the lame 3.7 V6! They need to either put a pentastar v6 or a 3/4 of a 5.7 hemi in there. They need a competitive v6!

Anti-lock brakes new for Dakota? Where did this come from. I bought a '94 Dakota Sport 4x2 new back in June '94 and it came standard with the 3.9L V6, 5 speed AX-15 tranny, and ABS. Traded it in 2004 for a 2001 Dakota Quad Cab 4x4 with the 4.7L V8 that also had ABS. So ABS is not new for the Dakota.

I'm just wondering what will happen in the future. Ford will stop building the Ranger for the US after 2011, GM will stop building the Colorado/Canyon after 2012, and the Dakota is still questionable after 2011. I have no use for a Full-size truck. From what it looks like; Toyota, Nissan, and maybe Mahindra will be the only small trucks available. I have heard that VW may bring the Amarok to the US by assigning the building of it to the new Chattanooga, TN facility.

I want a 4x4 small or midsized truck with 2 doors, V8 or V6, and 5 speed manual trans.

Nobody offers such a beast anymore, and I refuse to drive a 4 door truck!

Whatever happened to the days of rubber floor mats, no radio and 3 on the tree?

Take all the creaturey-comforty crap out and give me a real (affordable) truck....

I'm going to start collecting older Dakotas before they all end up in the crusher.

I've pretty much engineered all the factory defects out of my 94, I'm keepin' it forever......

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