2008 Dodge Dakota Crew Cab Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Dodge Dakota Crew Cab

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Dodge Dakota Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.7 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Four Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 210 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/18 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2008 Dodge Dakota

  • The 2008 Dodge Dakota midsize truck is a capable workhorse with a potent V8 engine, but it still trails the segment leaders with respect to general interior quality and body style selections.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Spacious cabin, class-leading V8 power, impressive towing capacity, respectable handling.

  • Cons

    Some low-grade interior materials, high price when loaded with options, limited body style configurations.

  • What's New for 2008

    The 2008 Dodge Dakota has a revised V8 engine this year. The optional 4.7-liter V8 now makes 302 horsepower and is said to be more fuel-efficient as well. On the inside, the Dakota receives a redesigned instrument panel, additional storage compartments, heated bench seats and the MyGIG multimedia system that includes a hard-drive-based navigation system. Other changes this year include new built-in cargo box utility rails, freshened front-end styling and a new limited lifetime powertrain warranty. There's also a new Big Horn trim (called the Lone Star in Texas) for 2008.

Full 2008 Dodge Dakota Review

What's New for 2008

The 2008 Dodge Dakota has a revised V8 engine this year. The optional 4.7-liter V8 now makes 302 horsepower and is said to be more fuel-efficient as well. On the inside, the Dakota receives a redesigned instrument panel, additional storage compartments, heated bench seats and the MyGIG multimedia system that includes a hard-drive-based navigation system. Other changes this year include new built-in cargo box utility rails, freshened front-end styling and a new limited lifetime powertrain warranty. There's also a new Big Horn trim (called the Lone Star in Texas) for 2008.


When it debuted two decades ago, the Dodge Dakota's "in-between" dimensions conveniently straddled the traditional compact and full-size pickup truck segments. The truck's popular alternative midsize configuration has continued through successive generations. And this tradition, along with the truck's solid performance, respectable utility and handsome good looks, has made it a popular choice for pickup truck consumers.

Now in its third generation, the 2008 Dodge Dakota continues the trend of being a midsize offering. And this year, Dodge has made a number of upgrades to make the truck more appealing. Most significant is its revised 4.7-liter V8. Offering better fuel economy, power and torque than the previous 4.7-liter engine, the new version is rated at 302 hp, a 31 percent increase, and 329 pound-feet of torque, a 13 percent increase. Dodge says additional refinements have reduced engine noise and made the engine smoother.

There are exterior and interior changes as well. Outside, there's a new front fascia, hood, grille, headlights and fenders. In back, the cargo box features enhanced utility through a new integrated rail tie-down system and protective surface along its top edge. Inside, the Dakota's cabin has been ergonomically enhanced and is more appealing than before with a new instrument panel, center console and cosmetic accents, along with handy new interior storage features. Chrysler's MyGIG multimedia system, which includes a hard-drive-based navigation system that can store digital music files, is another new addition this year.

These new additions, especially the new V8, are certainly worth noting. The 2008 Dodge Dakota is designed for drivers who use their truck daily for work, commuting or occasional towing duty, but don't need a full-size truck's extra hauling capacity, ungainly size and expense. For this it works well and is a top choice among domestic entries. However, although Dodge has somewhat addressed our earlier concerns about fuel economy and cabin design/quality, it remains a pricey choice that still doesn't quite measure up to the class-leading Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma in terms of refinement or available body styles. Be sure to check them out as well before committing to this truck.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Dodge Dakota midsize pickup truck is available in two body styles and seven total trim levels -- ST, SXT and SLT models, plus add-on TRX, Sport, Laramie and Big Horn/Lone Star packages. The extended Club Cab body features rear access doors and a 6.5-foot bed. The more spacious Quad Cab crew cab has four full-size doors, room for six people and a 5.3-foot cargo bed.

The basic ST comes standard with 16-inch steel wheels, cloth seats, air-conditioning, a CD player and folding 60/40-split rear seats in the Quad Cab. Stepping up to the midlevel SXT is a better choice for most buyers as it also includes alloy wheels, full power accessories, cruise control, a tilt steering wheel and rear jump seats in the Club Cab, and is more upgradeable with additional convenience and utility features. The top-of-the-line Dakota SLT provides foglamps, power front seats and satellite radio with the option to add V8 power, 18-inch chromed alloy wheels, heated front seats, the MyGIG infotainment system and a premium sound group with six-disc CD changer, remote audio controls and remote starting.

The TRX trim is very similar to the SLT but gives 2WD models the look and feel of an off-road truck, while 4WD TRX4s have functional upgrades like an off-road suspension, skid plates and a shorter rear-axle ratio. The Sport adds 18-inch painted wheels, a shorter rear-axle ratio, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and unique two-tone bolstered cloth bucket seats; the Dakota Laramie adds a V8 engine, automatic headlights, chrome exterior trim, leather-trimmed bucket seats and premium audio. There's also a new Big Horn (called Lone Star in the great state of Texas) trim; it's like the SXT but with additional exterior styling details.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2008 Dodge Dakota offers two engine options: the base 3.7-liter V6 with 210 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque, and this year's upgraded 4.7-liter V8 that generates 302 hp and 329 lb-ft of torque. The V6 is coupled to a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission, while the V8 drives through a modern five-speed automatic. Standard 2WD and part-time 4WD configurations are available, as is a full-time 4WD setup. Maximum towing capacity is best-in-class at up to 7,050 pounds when properly equipped.


Rear-wheel antilock brakes are standard on the Dodge Dakota; an optional Safety Group provides four-wheel ABS and full-length side curtain airbags. In government frontal crash tests, the extended-cab truck earned a perfect five stars for driver and front-passenger protection. (The crew cab Dakota is unrated.) In side-impact tests, the crew cab earned five stars for the protection of both front and rear passengers; the extended-cab pickup earned five stars for front occupants only. The Dakota scored a second-best "Acceptable" rating in frontal-offset crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Dakota offers a clean and attractive interior design with simple, easy-to-reach controls and ample storage. The revised instrument panel features a handy new storage bin over the glovebox and stylish touches like aluminum trim and white-faced gauges, but overall materials quality remains unimpressive when compared to the segment leaders. A new rear under-seat storage system in the Dakota Crew Cab includes a handy collapsible and removable cargo management system for loose gear. The Dakota's cabin is quite roomy, but even so we strongly recommend moving up to the Quad Cab if you regularly carry four or more adults.

Driving Impressions

The Dakota's V6 offers adequate power, but the new V8 is the engine you want if you have frequent towing or hauling in mind -- or even if you simply want to best the powerful V6s from Nissan and Toyota. The 2008 Dodge Dakota offers a smooth, quiet ride at any speed, and its cabin is well insulated from wind and road noise. A coil-over front suspension and rack-and-pinion steering give this truck a nimble, carlike feel when cornering, and body roll is minimal even around tight turns. The Dakota even maintains its composure on harsher terrain thanks to its well-calibrated suspension and a stiff hydro-formed frame.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Great concept. bad build. too

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Vehicle: 2008 Dodge Dakota Laramie 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (4.7L 8cyl 5A)

I Loved Dakotas. I owned a 94 4WD 3.9L V6 Dakota. Really fun to drive. Great size. In 2004 I purchased a 2000 4.7L V8 4WD Dakota. I recently sold it with 170,000 miles. It still ran great. My favorite year for Dakotas. Last year I purchased a 2008 4WD Dakota with the 4.7L. I traded it in 4 months later for a new RAM. They upgraded the 4.7L to 302 hp yet it is slower than my 00 Dakota. The 08 is to heavy. Defeats the purpose of mid size or small size truck. The ground clearance is too low. The 4WD is stiff; in addition the turning radius in 4WD is as bad as I have ever experienced in a truck. The truck is almost unbearable to drive off road. The suspension is too weak to carry the weight

Update to previous rating

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Vehicle: 2008 Dodge Dakota SLT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A)

Since last review with wiring problems, I've had my Dakota on two out of state trips, and pull a 2800 lb. boat and trlr. fishing. I now trust my truck. I'll do 72 on highway pulling boat with a/c on. May turn off air on big hills. I can get 19mpg when using cruise, which surprised me since I have a steady foot. Plan on getting 265 tires, from the 245 stocked next spring if it's no issue. I also plan on getting another warranty, I have lifetime drivetrain, but will research because know how business can be. They'd rather tell you to sue, it's about money. Don't know any other truck that will fit in garage, with the power, Toyota can't be trusted now. Waiting for wagon etc. with power, mileage.

Break downs

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Vehicle: 2008 Dodge Dakota SXT 4dr Crew Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 6M)

Like my 2008 Dodge, Several time turn in for minor thing while under warr. Radio clock doesn't work, been reset about 6 times, gave up on turning it in to get fixed. Got 37,400 miles on it and rack and pinon when out along with power steering pump, $1,740 to fix it. Gas mileage average 16 to 18 on open highway, 3.7 6 cyl. with no load, pulling small boat, around 1,350 pounds, about 12 to 14 miles a gallon. Power on 3.7 is low, will not stay in overdrive going up small hills. Second Dodge Dakota I own. Warr should be better, keep oil change and maintenance back the book, if you go over 60 miles pass oil change, warr. is void. Turn mine in and had 12 miles before void warr.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful


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Vehicle: 2008 Dodge Dakota TRX 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A)

my 2004 was way better.this was nothing but problems since the day I bought it.awesome look,great power and roomy.thats all.many numerous factory tsb's and defects.mechanically and cosmetically.too many problems,that a rep was sent in.they didn't do anything,and wanted me to file suit against them.BEWARE.traded it in less than a year of having it,with only 9000 miles.nice looking,but I was also stuck with a brand new lemon with numerous,numerous problems.please stay away.factory tires are junk also.

2nd dakota

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Vehicle: 2008 Dodge Dakota SLT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A)

Bought this 08 crew cab to replace my 01 ext. Cab due to growing family. I loved my 01, and this one is starting to grow on me. The new 4.7 has much more power than the prior version. I have 28k on the truck, and no mechanical problems yet. I guess my 2 gripes with the 08 are the interior feels a little cheap (few rattles from arm rest and more plasticky overall than my 01). And the 05 to current dakotas sit too low to the ground, esp. Compared to Tacoma and frontier. But I like it overall and would buy my 3rd Dakota in the future. Mpg 16-17 in mixed driving, similar to my 01 4.7, except with about 70 more hp.

Lots of power

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Vehicle: 2008 Dodge Dakota SXT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 6M)

I bought this truck in January 2009 just before Chrysler went under. Like many truck guys I'm very brand loyal for better or worse. This is the third Dakota that I've owned and I've always liked the mid-size handling and the available V8 power. In those areas, the truck doesn't disappoint - acceleration and handling are impressive. The new V8 and the 5 speed automatic seem well suited to each other. The interior, like all past Dakotas, seems to be cheaply made though I've never had anything break off or not work. Maybe it's just me but the optional heated bucket seats are like riding on a piece of 2x12 - next to no cushion at all which is a pain in the butt (literally) on long trips.

Talk About The 2008 Dakota

2008 Dodge Dakota Discussions See all Started By

My 2008 Dakota is soon to be going in to the dealer for its first 5 year inspection as related to the lifetime warranty....

The Rampage is just a concept, but I feel should definitely replace the Dakota for 2008, as the Dakota is ugly, underpowered, and is about as popular as eye snot!...

I saw today in the Detroit News that the Dakota will get redesigned in 2008 to look less like the Ram. Cosmetically, a new front end design and an interior redo. The best part of all is a significant ...

Read more about the 2008 Dodge Dakota

Gas Mileage


  • 14
  • cty
  • 18
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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