Used 1997 Dodge Dakota
- Dual airbags, tight turning circle, Ram styling, roomy cab, simplified model lineup, optional V-8 engine, optional ABS
- No third door option, cannot use rear facing child safety seat in front seat because passenger airbag cannot be switched off
Edmunds' Expert Review
Frankly, the Dakota was getting about as stale as Halloween candy on April Fool's Day. The exterior was still ruggedly handsome, but the interior was an ergonomic throwback to 1980. SLT models had horrific fake wood that looked like it had been ripped from a '70s tract home basement. Seat comfort was marginal. The best thing the Dakota had going for it was an optional 5.2-liter V8 engine and class-leading bed size.
Now that Chrysler in flush with cash, the Dakota has received a complete makeover for 1997. The most obvious difference is the styling of the new truck. Call it mini-Ram, inside and out. The exterior isn't as attractive as the Ram, mostly because the front end doesn't gel right thanks to a multitude of cutlines around the grille and headlight assemblies. From certain angles, the ellipsoidal grille looks tacked on rather than integrated with the lights and front bumper, giving the truck an oddly proportioned appearance.
Inside, user-friendly controls and displays pass the same work-glove ease-of-operation test that the Ram does. Seats are king-of-the-road high, and infinitely more comfortable. Club Cab models will carry up to six people. Dual airbags are standard, but it is important to note that the passenger airbag cannot be switched off. This means that rear-facing child safety seats can never be used in the front seat of a 1997 Dakota. Babies and young children will need to ride on the rear bench of the Club Cab model. Can't afford a Club Cab? Shop for a Ford Ranger or a Mazda B-Series. They've had passenger airbags since 1995, and they offer a switch to turn off the airbag. Kinda makes you wonder what Chrysler was thinking.
Here's another mystery. The Club Cab offers no third door option. Seems odd from the company that pioneered the fourth sliding door on minivans and is planning a four-door full-size Ram Club Cab for 1998. To get this convenience, you've got to buy a Chevy S-10 or GMC Sonoma. Press materials indicate that the new Dakota is equipped with side door guard beams, but makes no mention that these beams pass 1999 side-impact standards for trucks. Why didn't engineers just but the stronger beams in from the get-go, rather than wait a couple of years? Dodge had a chance to build the perfect compact pickup, and blew it.
Still, it's a nice piece of work. Base, Sport and SLT models are available. Regular cab 2WD models feature a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder engine that provides 120 horsepower. Club Cab and 4WD models get a 3.9-liter V6 good for 175 horsepower and 225 foot-pounds of torque. Optional on all models is a 5.2-liter V8 engine that makes 230 horsepower and 300 ft-lbs. of torque at 3,200 rpm. Crammed into a regular cab shortbed with 2WD, the V8 transforms the Dakota into a storming sport truck.
Overall, the new Dakota is quite satisfying. However, we can't help but think some short-sighted thinking and cost-cutting went into the design because of the lack of several major safety and convenience features. Makes us wonder about the integrity of the stuff that isn't quite so obvious.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
Used 1997 Dodge Dakota Overview
The Used 1997 Dodge Dakota is offered in the following submodels: Dakota Regular Cab, Dakota Extended Cab. Available styles include SLT 2dr Regular Cab SB, SLT 2dr Regular Cab LB, 2dr Regular Cab SB, Sport 2dr Regular Cab SB, SLT 2dr Extended Cab SB, Sport 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB, Sport 2dr Regular Cab LB, Sport 2dr Extended Cab SB, 2dr Extended Cab SB, 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB, Sport 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB, SLT 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB, 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB, 2dr Regular Cab LB, and SLT 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB.
What's a good price on a Used 1997 Dodge Dakota?
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Which used 1997 Dodge Dakotas are available in my area?
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1997 Dodge Dakota for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1997 Dodge Dakota.
Can't find a used 1997 Dodge Dakotas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.
Find a used Dodge Dakota for sale - 4 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $9,050.
Find a used Dodge for sale - 12 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $19,477.
Find a used certified pre-owned Dodge Dakota for sale - 4 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $15,955.
Find a used certified pre-owned Dodge for sale - 2 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $20,432.
Compare prices on the Used Dodge Dakota for sale in Ashburn, VA to other major cities
Should I lease or buy a 1997 Dodge Dakota?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.