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2006 Dodge Dakota Truck

2dr Club Cab 131 ST

Starting at | Starting at 16 MPG City - 22 MPG Highway

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  • $20,340 original MSRP
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Printable Version

2006 Dodge Dakota Truck

Printable Version

2006 Dodge Dakota Truck

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2006 Dodge Dakota

Source: New Car Test Drive

Overview

The Dodge Dakota is a mid-size pickup with a full-size attitude. Dakota is the largest pickup in its class and the only mid-size truck available with a V8. Dodge claims its 7150-pound maximum towing capacity is by far the best in class.

The Dakota looks big. Completely redesigned for 2005, it's larger than before and looks almost as big and tough as the full-size Dodge Ram. With sales of basic small trucks in steady decline, the market is headed toward bigger, more powerful, better-equipped pickups. (If you want a small, basic truck, you have a choice between the Ford Ranger and used pickups.)

The current Dakota is substantially longer than the previous-generation (pre-2005) version, with styling that mirrors the recently redesigned Durango SUV. Getting in is easy, and the redesigned interior is comfortable and convenient with controls that are easy to reach and operate. The Club Cab version of the Dakota achieved a five-star safety rating in frontal and side-impact crash tests conducted by the federal government.

For 2006, the rear doors on Club Cabs have been redesigned to open wider. Otherwise, changes between 2005 and 2006 are limited to packaging: A new sunroof and new sound systems are options for 2006 Club Cab models. An auxiliary audio jack has been added to allow playback from personal audio devices, such as an iPod. Sirius Satellite Radio now comes standard on 2006 Laramie models. Special-edition packages have been added to personalize your 2006 Dakota.

If you want a pickup that's big and brawny, but not as big as a full-size, you should visit your local Dodge dealer. Dakota is available with a choice of V6 and V8 engines. Underway, the Dakota is smooth and quiet. The optional 4.7-liter V8 burbles subtly in the background when cruising, but really scoots when the throttle is mashed. Yet its fuel economy is rated within 1 mpg of the standard V6's. The steering is light for easy maneuverability in crowded parking lots and the Dakota responds quickly on mountain roads and tracks nice and straight on the highway.

Model Lineup

Dodge Dakota comes in two body styles: The Club Cab is an extended-cab version with small, reverse-opening rear doors to access the rear compartment and a 6 1/2-foot bed. The Quad Cab is a crew-cab style with four full-size doors and a 5-foot, 4-inch bed. Each can seat five to six passengers, but back-seat riders will be much more comfortable in the Quad Cab. Both bodies are built on the same 131.1-inch wheelbase.

Three trim levels are available, ST, SLT, and Laramie.

The standard engine is a 3.7-liter V6. It comes with a six-speed manual transmission. An optional four-speed automatic ($1,095) is available for ST and SLT; the Laramie comes standard with the automatic. A 4.7-liter V8 engine is available for all models ($785-$860). A high-output version of the 4.7-liter V8 is available for the SLT and Laramie. With either V8, a six-speed manual transmission is standard; a five-speed automatic is optional.

ST Club Cab ($19,785) and Quad Cab ($21,185) come standard with air conditioning, AM/FM/CD stereo with audio auxiliary jack, tinted rear windows, front disc/rear drum brakes with rear-wheel anti-lock (ABS), and 16-inch steel wheels.

SLT Club Cab ($21,540) and Quad Cab ($22,940) are upgraded with cloth bucket seats with a full-floor console, chrome bumpers, fog lamps, power mirrors, windows, and locks with keyless entry, 16-inch cast-aluminum wheels.

Laramie Club Cab ($24,750) and Quad Cab ($26,240) add leather bucket seats with six-way power driver's seat; Alpine AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio with six-disc changer, 288-watt amplifier, and Sirius satellite capability; leather-wrapped steering wheel with remote audio controls; auto-dimming day/night rearview mirror; UConnect Hands-Free Communications System with Bluetooth wireless technology; security alarm; Sentry Key engine immobilizer; an overhead console; and automatic headlamps.

Four-wheel drive is available for all models, traditional part-time 4WD (which adds about $2,850) or full-time 4WD with an electronically controlled locking center differential ($395) for SLT and Laramie models with V8 and automatic transmission.

Safety features: An Enhanced Accident Response System, or EARS, automatically turns on interior lights and unlocks doors in the event of an air bag deployment, so that medical or response personnel can help faster and easier. Side-curtain airbags for the front and rear seats are optional ($495); we recommend them because they are designed provide head protection. Head restraints and shoulder belts are provided for all seat positions. Seatbelts are your first line of defense in an accident, so always wear them.

Options include Sirius Satellite Radio ($195), the premium 276-watt, 288-watt, and new 508-watt sound systems, heated seats, four-wheel ABS ($495), towing packages ($455-$525), and 17-inch chrome wheels ($820). A sunroof is available for the Quad Cab. An optional hands-free communications system that uses Bluetooth technology integrates a compatible cellphone with the truck's audio system.

Option packages for 2006 include TRX, TRX4 Off-Road, R/T, and Night Runner. Each is available in the Club Cab or Quad Cab configuration.

TRX includes unique five-spoke/five-lug 16-inch aluminum wheels and Goodyear Wrangler off-road tires; tow hooks; a limited-slip differential; and TRX decal on the cargo box. The TRX package is available on 2WD ST, SLT and Laramie. TRX4 Off-Road includes everything in the TRX package plus painted shocks; an increased ride height of one inch; heavy-duty service package; skid plates; TRX4 Off-Road cargo box decal; and slush mats.

R/T is an SLT with the high-output 4.7-liter engine and: 17-inch five-spoke/five-lug chrome-clad aluminum wheels; hood scoop; sport appearance package (in Red Flame or Black only); body color grille surround; chrome exhaust tip; cargo box decals; R/T identification on headrests and instrument cluster; and Satin Silver accents for the center stack and door remotes.

Night Runner

Walkaround

The Dodge Dakota looks massive and menacing. The redesign for 2005 stretched the Dakota nearly four inches, with almost all that extra length devoted to front crush space and deeper bumpers to meet future crash standards.

The new size came with a new look, with sharper edges on the grille, roof, fenders, doors and bed; and fender lines deliberately extended halfway along the length of the door. The Dakota retains its family resemblance to the Dodge Ram and Durango, though it looks crisper and the grille is laid back, not vertical. The intersection of the front fenders with the multi-element, twin-lens headlamps and raked chrome grille makes the whole design work beautifully.

The frame, completely new for 2005, is eight times as strong in twist resistance and twice as strong in bending resistance as the old frame (which dated from 1997). Dakota's frame is shared in part with the Durango SUV.

A coil-over-shock independent front suspension is used on both 2WD and 4WD models, with conventional leaf springs at the rear. All models come with front and rear tow hooks and tie-downs in the bed.

Interior Features

The interior was redesigned for 2005 and continues with little change for 2006. Black-on-white gauges are outlined with chrome rings, and the central speedometer is about twice as large as the other two gauges. The angular center stack houses the sound system, climate controls and vents. The thick four-spoke steering wheel features audio and cruise controls. The designers added in more brushed sheet metal accents around the cockpit, and the whole design works very well in terms of usability, convenience, and reach. The plastic materials look good but not great, and interior fits and finishes were good.

The driver's seat looked good and felt good with its upper and lower support wings and good padding where it counts. Interior room, even for tall drivers is excellent.

Club Cabs have auxiliary rear doors that swing open nearly 180 degrees.

Quad Cabs feature four huge doors; the rear doors open out to nearly 90 degrees, so ingress and egress are very good. Quad Cab interiors are roomy. By making the Dakota larger, Dodge expanded the Quad Cab interior to nearly 56 cubic feet. The rear seats are deliberately stepped up on their bases so that rear-seat occupants can see out more easily, and they are split into 40/20/40 folding sections with two rear cupholders. Rear-seat room is generous for family use, with 33 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seat. A center console and lots of cubbyholes provide space to stash stuff.

Driving Impressions

We found the Dodge Dakota surprisingly quiet, smooth and civil in its behavior, more like a car than a truck inside. Thick glass, big mufflers, and generous sound insulation throughout the body and firewall help reduce noise.

The Dakota drives bigger than it looks, with a hefty, Ram-like way about it, a nicely muscular street swagger.

The V8 is worth every penny. The V6 feels a bit light on power for this big, heavy pickup and it doesn't offer a big fuel economy advantage.

The 3.7-liter V6 is rated 210 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. The 4.7-liter V8 generates 230 horsepower and 290 pound-feet of torque. The 4.7-liter High Output V8 is rated 260 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque, thanks to higher compression and more aggressive valve timing. Fuel economy differences between the V6 and V8 are not great when four-wheel drive and automatic transmissions are involved. A V6 4WD automatic is rated 15/19 mpg City/Highway by the EPA; a V8 4WD automatic rates 14/19. Most frugal is a V6 2WD with manual transmission.

Our Quad Cab with the standard 4.7-liter accelerated with uncommon vigor and a wonderful exhaust note. At highway speeds it settled down to a nice background burble in overdrive fifth gear. Its strong torque means plenty of low-down grunt for pulling payloads of up to 1,800 pounds or towing up to 7,150 pounds.

The transmission has perfectly spaced ratios for trucking, and worked without complaint, roughness or harshness, even in high-rpm full-throttle upshifts. With only two occupants and no load, it really scoots from the stoplight despite the nearly 4800-pound weight of the Quad Cab 4X4. For towing, there's a Tow/Haul setting that alters the shift pattern of the automatic transmission.

Dakota's rack-and-pinion power steering is a bit over-assisted for our taste, but the chunky steering wheel feels great in the hands. The truck tracks extremely well, responds quickly to inputs, and stays hunkered down during mountain road playtime. Its 265/70R16 B.F. Goodrich Wrangler tires gripped corners yet were quiet at highway speeds, adding a measure of plushness to the ride quality that we really appreciated. We liked the ride and handling, though like all pickup trucks it can get choppy over small, high-intensity bumps and ruts.

The Dakota comes with rear-wheel anti-lock brakes as standard safety equipment, but four-wheel ABS disc/drum brakes are optional. We deliberately tried the rear ABS on a straight, flat, dry road for several maximum-g stops with no load and no passengers, and it worked well, keeping the unladen, light-in-the-rear pickup straight and coming to crisp stops four times in a row without locking the rear wheels.

Summary

The Dodge Dakota is on the large end of the mid-size pickups. Dakota is unique in its class, with its brawny style, generous size, powerful V8 engines for towing, and plenty of room for a typical family.

New Car Test Drive correspondent Jim McCraw is based in Dearborn, Michigan.

Model Line Overview
Base Price (MSRP)
$19,785
Model lineup:
Dodge Dakota ST Club Cab 2WD V6 ($19,785); 4WD ($22,635); ST Quad Cab 2WD ($21,185); 4WD ($24,035); SLT Club Cab 2WD ($21,540); 4WD ($24,390); Quad Cab 2WD ($22,940); 4WD ($25,790); Laramie Club Cab 2WD ($24,750); 4WD ($27,600); Laramie Quad Cab 2WD ($26,240); 4WD ($29,090)
Engines:
210-hp 3.7-liter sohc 12-valve V6; 230-hp 4.7-liter sohc 16-valve V8; 260-hp 4.7-liter sohc 16-valve V8
Transmissions:
6-speed manual; 4-speed automatic; 5-speed automatic
Safety equipment (Standard):
front airbags with OCS on passenger side; rear-wheel ABS, EBD
Safety equipment (Optional):
four-wheel ABS; side-curtain air bags for front and rear seats
Basic warranty:
3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in:
Warren, Michigan
Specifications As Tested
Model tested (MSRP):
Dodge Dakota Laramie V8 Quad Cab 4WD ($29,090)
Standard equipment:
leather seats, six way leather power driver's seat, Infinity six-speaker 288-watt premium sound system with six-disc changer and MP3 capability, Sirius satellite radio, cruise control, fog lamps, overhead console, leather-wrapped steering wheel with remote audio controls; 16-inch aluminum wheels, fog lamps, tilt steering, dual rear seats, power windows, locks and mirrors
Options as tested:
V8 engine ($860); heated seats ($845); bedliner ($245)
Destination charge:
645
Gas Guzzler Tax:
N/A
Price as tested (MSRP)
$31,685
Layout:
four-wheel drive
Engine:
4.7-liter sohc 16-valve V8
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):
230 @ 4600
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm):
290 @ 3600
Transmission:
5-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy:
14/19 mpg.
Wheelbase:
131.3 in.
Length/width/height:
218.8/71.7/68.6 in.
Track, f/r:
62.8/62.9 in.
Turning circle:
44.0 ft.
Seating capacity:
5
Head/hip/leg room, f:
39.9/54.9/41.9 in.
Head/hip/leg room, m:
N/A
Head/hip/leg room, r:
38.4/56.0/36.4 in.
Cargo volume:
37.1 cu. ft.
Payload:
1210
Towing capacity:
6800 lbs.
Suspension F:
independent, upper and lower A-arms, coil springs over gas-pressure shocks, link-type anti-roll bar
Suspension R:
live axle, two-state multi-leaf semi-elliptical springs, staggered gas-pressure shocks, link-type anti-roll bar
Ground clearance:
7.9 in.
Curb weight:
4751 lbs.
Tires:
P265/70R16
Brakes, f/r:
disc/drum with ABS in.
Fuel capacity:
22 gal.

Printable Version

2006 Dodge Dakota Truck

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Opt

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Passenger On/Off Std
Side Air Bag Opt

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Opt
Fog Lamps Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Accident Prevention

Handsfree Wireless Opt

Security

Anti-theft System Opt
Printable Version

2006 Dodge Dakota Truck

Dodge Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

7-Years/100,000-Miles (whichever comes first). Powertrain Limited Warranty runs from the date vehicle was sold as new.

3-Month/3,000-Mile Maximum Care Warranty. Starts on the date of the CPOV sale, or at the expiration of the remaining 3/36 Basic New Vehicle Warranty.

A deductible may apply. See dealer for details or call 1-800-677-5782
Age/Mileage Eligibility 5 years / 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 125
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance Yes
Special Financing Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $100

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2006 Dodge Dakota Truck

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