Used 1996 Dodge Dakota Extended Cab

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1996 Dodge Dakota
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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Until Toyota launched its T100, Dodge led the pack with a pickup truck that ranked somewhere between compact and full-size. Nothing changed for 1996, aside from the addition of a more powerful four-cylinder engine and three new exterior colors, but the midsize Dakota continues to attract an eager following. Toyota still doesn't offer a V8 engine, giving Dodge a modest edge on that score. In fact, Dodge gives buyers a choice of three engines: a new 120-horsepower 2.5-liter Magnum four, a 175-horsepower 3.9-liter Magnum V6 (standard on 4x4s and Club Cabs), or the optional 220-horsepower 5.2-liter Magnum V8. Unless you rarely carry any cargo to speak of, go for one of the upper engines and skip the four cylinder.

A driver's airbag is standard, and antilock braking is available. Inside, Dakota's styling will transport you back into the go-go eighties, though the driving position is fine and you know you're unquestionably inside a truck, not a car--especially with that long manual gearshift protruding from the floor. The standard three-passenger bench seat feels better than optional buckets, which aren't as supportive as some. Gauges are small but complete, in a vertical, squared-off dashboard of dated design.

Club Cab models are the most popular, though what you get is an extremely low back bench that runs across the width of the cab, its split-folding feature standard. Front occupants in Club Cabs have a 60/40 split bench with center armrest. Behind the front seat is 25.2 cubic feet of cargo space.

Payloads can reach 2,600 pounds with a regular 4x2, and 2,000 pounds for the Club Cab. An SLT package includes a tachometer, carpeted mats, cassette player, and lower bodyside moldings. The Super SLT adds air conditioning and tilt steering, and a Sport Package features a body-color grille.

Crash tests have proven the Dakota to be among the safest of small pickups. Dodge offers a good value here, and a shortbed Sport equipped with the V8 is a serious straight-line performance pickup. Still, this design is a decade old, and an all-new truck featuring Ram-like styling is due within a year or two. Drive the Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma before settling on a Dakota.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Dodge Dakota.

Good truck for the $
jkf, 2/24/2010
All things considered not a bad truck in a 140k miles. Bought used with 30k miles and 2k later transmission went and was repaired under waranty - no problems since. Have the 5.2l V8 with positraction. Used the truck for hauling a 4500lb boat just about every good weather weekend and commuting to work. Replaced dist pickup at 65k and 120K, O2 sensor at 120k due to a "21"error code, and blower resistor at 110k. Aside from normal wear items such as tires, brakes, plugs, fan belt, radiator hoses etc. no other problems - very reliable. Been using Mobil 1 at 7.5k oil changes and does not leak a drop of engine or tranny oil. As with all these dakotas, the headliner fails, and fuel gauge is whacky.
My Baby
Greg Svatora, 12/4/2005
Purchased truck in high school, drove through college, now married and still running. Truck is amazing in all weather. Only minor problems over 110,000 miles, including the standard crap Dodge transmission. I mostly drive unloaded but tow cars probably 1500-2000 miles/yr and it works great. Can't wait to get some money to put some performance stuff in her. I get great mileage, 20 mpg with the 5.2L on straight highway miles, 16-17 on normal driving. Little tip...Firestone Destination LE tires are amazing on this truck.
DODGE Dakota
Ford lover, 6/12/2008
Owned the truck 6 months, first dodge I ever bought. My dad talked me into buying it. I learned 2 things from this truck. 1. I will never buy a dodge and 2. when the check engine light comes on, it's junk. Get rid of it. I have put more money into this truck than i did my 300.00 1988 ranger that has 300,000 Miles. I really do hate this truck.
Best truck ever made
BlAcK wIdOw, 11/5/2008
My father bought this truck in 2002, my uncle got it after he died, and I recieved it almost 2 years ago. This truck has been put through its paces. It was an escort truck, hauling truck, towing people, wrecked twice (haven't had the money to fix it yet), it has 200,000 on her and still going strong. The only things replaced is the regular maintanance. Other than the headlight which happens to be a tin can since that area is caved in. The most durable and reliable truck ever.
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Features & Specs

MPG
14 city / 17 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
175 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
175 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
175 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
175 hp @ 4800 rpm
See all Used 1996 Dodge Dakota Extended Cab features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1996 Dodge Dakota
Used 1996 Dodge Dakota Extended Cab Overview

The Used 1996 Dodge Dakota Extended Cab is offered in the following styles: 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB, Sport 2dr Extended Cab SB, 2dr Extended Cab SB, Sport 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB, SLT 2dr Extended Cab SB, and SLT 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Dodge Dakota Extended Cab?

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