2004 Dodge Dakota Regular Cab Review | Edmunds.com

2004 Dodge Dakota Regular Cab

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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

  Average Consumer Rating (19 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

Great truck

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Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Dakota

This was my first dodge. I bought it off a guy who put 130,000 miles on it. He drove on the highway to get to work every day, and he dropped the fluids religiously. The only issue I've had with this beast is that I had to replace the water pump (expected for mileage). Since I've got it, I've abused and pushed it past its limit, and it doesn't stutter. You tell it to do something, it'll go. Handles like a car.

Good all around truck

by on
Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Dakota

I bought the truck new and have had a blast with it. It has the Stampede package which caught my eye on the dealer parking lot. Bought it for fuel economy over my 79 Warlock and it has delivered promised fuel economy, 18 mpg for the daily 7 mile commute and 22 mpg on my annual trip to FL. The Stampede package really enhances the handling and styling. I tow two motorcycles regularly from state to state and the drive train is solid. Have 61,000 miles and have only had to do routine maintenance. Battery did quit suddenly at 5 years but that's about what you get from factory batteries. Wish I had gotten the extended cab but the styling didn't go with the Stampede package. Love this truck!!!

Gas hog

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Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Dakota

I bought this Dakota 4x4 standard cab 2 years ago. Boy what a mistake. This thing sucks gas so fast you can watch the gauge move about 13 mpg in the city. I had a 1990 Dakota and it was a fine truck so had no problems buying this one until I got it home. I am 6,3" tall and have no room to move in it, it's pretty but not a good deal. So far the battery, water pump muffler and tires have all taken leave, also the center caps that come with the wheels will not stay on had to get the chrome ones that Dodge has replaced them with. I drive this truck back and forth to work (22 miles a day) thats all I can afford at $4.00 a gallon and go through $40-50 a week. Poor in snow.

Fuel economy

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Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Dakota

I noticed right away I wasn't getting the proper fuel economy I thought I should get which was 12 city 15 hwy. I made some timing adjustments and a basic tune up, in 4 years the best hwy mpg I've gotten was 18 mpg. Don't expect any more than that. Another problem I've encountered is severe wheel hop at hwy speeds, it almost jumps off the road when you hit a bump. Very very unsafe. FYI... don't forget the change your ball joints, if they haven't already gone out, they will!

2003 dakota sxt regular cab

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Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Dakota

Fun truck to drive with the 5-speed manual transmission. Truck is perfect size between compact and full size. Too bad they stopped making the regular cab version.

'03 dakota

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Vehicle: 2003 Dodge Dakota

We purchased our '03 Dakota Reg. Cab SXT RWD for $13K. It was a nice "beater" car for my dad for work. But we have clocked on average of 12-15 mpg city and probably 19 highway. We had to replace the tires at 20k and then again and 45k. We were in a minor car accident with it where we tapped the back of another car on a freeway ramp, and it caused $400 damage. The plastic hood-release lever, broke off and had to get it replaced. The A/C conked out when he had 100-degree plus weather, which we took the repair shop and he found out that not only the cooling pump was shot but there was a cylinder- 6 miss-fire which could've been dangerous if it died on the highway.

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