2004 Dodge Dakota Review | Edmunds.com

2004 Dodge Dakota

Dodge Dakota Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.7 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 210 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2004 Dodge Dakota

  • Whether carrying five adults, cruising the interstate, transporting cargo or tackling off-road terrain, the 2004 Dodge Dakota is at ease no matter where it is or what it's asked to do.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Most powerful engine in its class, quick-shifting transmission, spot-on suspension both on- and off-road, easily accessible and accommodating cabin.

  • Cons

    Below-average fuel mileage, low-tech interior design, can get pricey if too many options are chosen.

  • What's New for 2004

    For the 2004 Dodge Dakota, a new 210-horsepower, 3.7-liter Magnum V6 replaces the previous 3.9-liter engine, while the R/T model (along with its ancient 5.9-liter V8) is dropped and a Stampede Appearance package debuts.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2nd dakota

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Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Dakota

This is my second Dakota and I love it just as much as my first one which was an 04. This on is the quad cab 4x4 slt with the 4.7 automatic. Runs great with 122k. It does everything I need it to do, whether it be hauling wood, going on a long trip, or pulling Jeeps out of the mud. Speaking of mud, it's difficult to get this truck stuck in the mud or snow. It was out in Nemo, the huge snow storm on LI in early 2013. I got through the terrible road/weather conditions with no problem whatsoever. It's a comfortable ride, and is very roomy on the inside which is great on those long trips. If you need a smaller truck that can do a full size truck's job, buy a Dakota.

2003 awd 4x4 slt, 4.7

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Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Dakota

This is my Second Dakota. It is a good all around truck. I have over 200,000 miles on mine. I noticed my gas mileage has gone down since i have had the ball joints replaced. I get 14 mpg in the city and about 19 mpg on the hwy. Outside of normal wear of parts this truck has served me well. For an AWD truck it handles good in snow, rain and mud. I have only had to put into 4 wheel drive when I get stuck in mud. The size of the truck works well for our family, we are all 5'8" or less and the truck seems roomy to us.

Fast truck

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Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Dakota

Put on many good miles on this truck with next to zero problems. The worst problem I have had was a radiator leak. Engine and trans are solid. This truck is fast and handles great. It can take a corner at 55mph. I moved from San Diego to NJ towing 3k lbs, averaged 80 mph and the truck felt like there was nothing there. It took on mountains like flat terrain. Great truck!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

03 dakota slt 4x4

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Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Dakota

I have an 03 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab (full 4 doors) with the 4.7 and 5 speed auto. Man what an awesome truck, for the money there is nothing close to it. Car will giddy up and go whenever called upon. Tows my boat with no issues and will beat anything else on the road. The only vehicle out there with a REAL v8 in a midsized truck, if it's got a 4 cylinder its not a truck! Toyota can't touch it and the ranger is too small, and in my opinion the sport trac is ugly, if you're looking for a good reliable truck get the Dakota. I average 17 mpg in mine with me stomping on it quite a bit, not bad.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

I love my dodge

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Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Dakota

I love driving my Dodge Dakota! If I had to buy another truck it would be a Dodge 6 cylinder! My only complaints are thay could have a little more seat padding, bigger glove compartment, more under backseat storage and better gas mileage! Also being better able to see lighted up dash area and radio information when the headlights are turned on and more room underneath the light between the sun visors.

Best truck i ever had

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Dakota

Sharp Looking ( RED ) Very Comfortable, No Problems just Standard Maintenance, Decent Mileage with 4.7 V8, 16 around Town 22 on trips

Full 2004 Dodge Dakota Review

What's New for 2004

For the 2004 Dodge Dakota, a new 210-horsepower, 3.7-liter Magnum V6 replaces the previous 3.9-liter engine, while the R/T model (along with its ancient 5.9-liter V8) is dropped and a Stampede Appearance package debuts.


Introduced in 1987, the Dodge Dakota filled the sizable gap between compact and full-size pickups. Although referred to as a compact, the Dakota is slightly bigger than most of its rivals. But it wasn't until 1997, when the Dakota was redesigned and adopted the handsome look of its bigger brother, the Dodge Ram, that people took notice. The following years saw the introduction of the potent R/T muscle truck (packing a 250-horsepower V8 along with a monochrome paint scheme and big wheels) and the Quad Cab, a true crew cab pickup with full-size doors and plenty of room for rear passengers.

The 2004 Dodge Dakota features a new V6 engine rated for 210 horsepower, while dropping the tire-spinning R/T. In addition, the company has added a Stampede package to the options list that offers a monochromatic paint and additional body cladding. As before, three cab configurations and a multitude of trim levels are available including everything from a basic, standard cab workhorse to a leather-lined 4WD Quad Cab that can serve as a family vehicle. If you're looking for a weak spot in the lineup, just check out the EPA mileage ratings, as the Dakota tends to be a gas guzzler compared to its smaller rivals.

The Dakota does, however, offer more room, more power and more capability than its competition, namely the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Ford Ranger and Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins. Everything from its towing capacity to its available V8 power and roomy interior are a cut above the smaller rigs. Although a redesigned model is expected to debut for the 2005 model year, the 2004 Dodge Dakota is still a very appealing truck with few shortcomings.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2004 Dodge Dakota is available in three body styles -- regular cab, extended ("Club") cab and crew ("Quad") cab -- and six trim levels: base; value-oriented SXT; flashy Sport and Sport Plus; and luxury SLT and SLT Plus. Base models are bare-boned work trucks with basic features like air conditioning, cloth seats and an AM/FM stereo, while SXTs are upgraded with interior carpet, bucket seats and a CD player. Sport and Sport Plus models offer color-keyed cloth interiors, an upgraded gauge cluster and additional options like keyless entry, power windows and a CD changer. The SLT and SLT Plus are the top-of-the-line models that offer everything from leather seats to larger wheel and tires. A new Stampede package, offered on Sport models, adds monochromatic paint, revised front and rear fascias, extended sills, a thicker rear stabilizer bar and 16-inch aluminum wheels.

Powertrains and Performance

Standard on all Dakotas is a new 3.7-liter V6 engine that's considerably more powerful than the 3.9-liter mill it replaces. This new V6 puts out 210 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. If even more power is needed, there is an optional (on Sport and SLT models) 4.7-liter V8 rated at 235 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The standard transmission on both engines is a five-speed manual while the V6 offers an optional four-speed automatic and the V8 a five-speed automatic. Although the V6 provides more than enough power for most applications, V8-equipped models are especially fast and can tow up to 6,600 pounds.


Rear wheel antilock brakes are standard on all models. Four-wheel ABS is optional, but side airbags are not available. In NHTSA crash testing, the 2004 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab earned four out of five stars for both driver and front passenger protection in a frontal collision. Side-impact tests resulted in a five-star rating for both front and rear passengers. The IIHS tested a standard cab model and gave the Dakota a "Poor" rating (its lowest) after conducting its frontal offset crash test.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Dakota's interior shows its age, but in terms of functionality, it works well. The quality of the materials is average, but their construction is solid. The gauges are large and clear and simple three-dial climate controls make temperature adjustments quick and easy. Quad cab models have enough room to seat four comfortably and there's plenty of storage room in the large center console.

Driving Impressions

Willing power plants, automatic transmissions that are rarely caught off guard and well-sorted suspensions make these trucks easy to live with, no matter what they're asked to do. On-road, the supple suspension swallows up bumps, yet doesn't have the truck wallowing through the turns. And off-road, the Dakota easily handles everything, even severely rutted and rock-strewn trails. All things considered, the Dakota offers the best combination of ride comfort and capability in the compact truck class.

Talk About The 2004 Dakota

Gas Mileage


  • 14
  • cty
  • 20
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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