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.
America's first midsized pickup, the 1996 Dodge Dakota gets a more powerful standard four-cylinder engine, revised sound system, and three new colors.
Read what other owners think about the Used 1996 Dodge Dakota.
I bought this truck 3 months ago for $2500.00 and its the best $2500.00 I've ever spent.Truck has 180,000 and runs like a champ.The 6th dodge I've owned and as you can see it will always be this way. Dodge Dakota best truck on the road.
4.13 out of 5 stars
Good truck for the $
SLT 2dr Extended Cab SB
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.
5 out of 5 stars
SLT 2dr Extended Cab SB
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.
4.88 out of 5 stars
Love my truck
Sport 2dr Regular Cab SB
My truck is as reliable as the sun,
hasnt given one moments trouble and i
would be afraid to drive to the north
pole in it if there were roads! This is
the truck i want to be driving when i'm
The Used 1996 Dodge Dakota is offered in the following submodels: Dakota Regular Cab, Dakota Extended Cab. Available styles include 2dr Regular Cab LB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLT 2dr Regular Cab LB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), WS 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.5L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.5L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), WS 2dr Regular Cab LB (2.5L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLT 2dr Regular Cab SB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), Sport 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.5L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLT 2dr Extended Cab SB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), WS 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), Sport 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), Sport 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), 2dr Extended Cab SB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLT 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLT 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLT 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), Sport 2dr Extended Cab SB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), and WS 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (3.9L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M).
Pre-owned Dodge Dakota models are available with a 3.9 L-liter gas engine or a 2.5 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 175 hp, depending on engine type.
The Used 1996 Dodge Dakota comes with rear wheel drive.
Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual.
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