2002 Dodge Dakota Review

Pros & Cons

  • Available V8 power, commodious cabin, commendable performance on road and off.
  • Poor fuel consumption with V8, upper trim levels can get pricey if loaded up with options.
List Price Estimate
$1,145 - $2,285

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Edmunds' Expert Review

If one word could best describe the 2002 Dodge Dakota, comfortable would be it. Whether carrying five adults, cruising the interstate, transporting cargo or tackling off-road terrain, the Dakota is at ease no matter where it is or what it's asked to do.

Vehicle overview

The Dodge Dakota offers more room, power and capability than the other trucks it ostensibly competes against. We say ostensibly because the Dakota is unique; it is not as small as the true compacts, such as the Toyota Tacoma, nor is it as big as full-size pickups like the Ford F-150. With a ruggedly handsome presence and a roomy, comfortable interior, the Dakota is available in three body styles: regular cab, extended ("Club") cab and crew ("Quad") cab.

A multiplicity of engines assures that there's a powertrain geared for any purpose. We're not sure the 2.5-liter inline four deserves the "Magnum" moniker considering its lightweight output of 120 horsepower, but on a base regular cab with a five-speed manual, it earns 20 city/25 highway EPA fuel economy estimates. The more popular choice is the 3.9-liter V6 that pumps out a more respectable 175 horsepower and 225 pound-feet of torque. Next up the power ladder is the 235 horsepower 4.7-liter V8 that churns out 295 pound-feet of twist. Still not enough for ya? Then how about a 5.9-liter V8 with 245 or 250 horses (depending on application) and 295 pound-feet of twist.

OK, now what about trim levels? Along with the new entry-level SXT, there are base, Sport, SLT and R/T to choose from. The base model has antilock brakes and a stereo with cassette player, but other than that, it's pretty bare-bones. The Sport adds alloy wheels and cloth seating. The 3.9-liter V6, cruise control, air conditioning and chrome bumpers and grille come on the SLT. And the fired-up R/T has the 250-horse 5.9-liter V8, a sport-tuned suspension with 17-inch alloy wheels, an anti-spin rear axle and color-keyed bumpers and grille.

You'll likely have to keep reminding yourself that this is indeed a compact pickup -- everything from its towing capacity and stance to its power and interior seems bigger than the norm. A 40/20/40 split seat is standard (but you can opt for high-back buckets), and rear passengers travel on a 60/40 split-folding bench seat, creating seating for six in Quad Cabs. Optional audio equipment, featuring two- and three-band equalizers and steering wheel-mounted controls, give the Dakota a more upscale feel, but those wanting the ultimate luxury-hauler should look into a Quad Cab with the optional leather interior.

Both two- and four-wheel-drive versions are available, and the independent front suspension works effectively with the Dakota's rack-and-pinion steering for a confident yet comfortable ride. Underneath, you'll find front disc brakes with optional ABS and rear drums with standard ABS (you can upgrade to slightly larger rear brakes when opting for ABS).

Thanks to its wide selection of engines and body configurations, the Dakota is one of the best pickups currently sold. If you're in the market for a compact pickup, a test drive is certainly in order.

2002 Highlights

A new value-priced 2002 Dodge Dakota SXT debuts and includes 16-inch alloys, automatic tranny, air conditioning, bucket seats and CD player. An appearance group consisting of graphite-colored bumpers, grille and fender flares is also fitted to the SXT.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2002 Dodge Dakota.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Dakota sxt v6 regular cab
Best and most reliable truck ever owned. When I first got it, needed a computer and some maintenance after that it runs like a champ and it does what I ask it to do and never lets me down. The 3.9 v6 magnum starts right up in sub zero temps in the middle of brutal Maine winters and runs strong. The truck gets up and goes with the 3.92 rear , while its missing top end power. The 4wd in the truck is awesome with good clearance and it out classes any fords, chevys, and toyotas offroad. Take this truck to rugged Maine north country offroad through mud holes , rivers and mountains every summer to go camping and its never giving me a problem. Very good looking truck and fun to drive.
Good Truck
Bought this truck used and it now has 115,000 miles on the 3.9 V-6. The truck does not use any oil and runs well. The 5 speed manual has nice gear spacing and is easy to use. I average 18-19 around town and 20-22 on the highway. The quad cab is useful and it does what I need it to do. Good truck Dodge!
I purchased this truck new, and have done the maintenance. (4.7 V8, automatic) It's the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned. 148,000 miles and counting. Cost per mile for maintenance and repairs is only $0.025. 19.6 MPG since the day I bought it(I have a soft tonneau on it). It still looks good and has no squeaks or rattles. I'm very happy with this truck.
Best vehicle I've owned
Roger vlietstra,04/26/2010
I bought this truck new in 2002 and have loved it all the while. Only had to replace an o2 sensor. My previous truck was an Isuzu and the Dakota is a million times better. I haul welders, tools and a trailer, so it gets used. I expect to get another 8 years out of it. I get about 13 mpg with tools in and about 17 mpg empty. I put an extra leaf spring in it to help haul the weight which was a great idea.

Features & Specs

17 city / 22 hwy
Seats 3
5-speed manual
120 hp @ 5200 rpm
14 city / 20 hwy
Seats 3
5-speed manual
175 hp @ 4800 rpm
14 city / 20 hwy
Seats 3
5-speed manual
175 hp @ 4800 rpm
14 city / 18 hwy
Seats 3
5-speed manual
175 hp @ 4800 rpm
See all Used 2002 Dodge Dakota features & specs


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

More about the 2002 Dodge Dakota

Used 2002 Dodge Dakota Overview

The Used 2002 Dodge Dakota is offered in the following submodels: Dakota Club Cab, Dakota Regular Cab, Dakota Quad Cab. Available styles include 4dr Quad Cab SLT 2WD SB (3.9L 6cyl 5M), 4dr Quad Cab SLT 4WD SB (3.9L 6cyl 5M), 2dr Club Cab SLT 2WD SB (3.9L 6cyl 5M), 2dr Club Cab SLT 4WD SB (3.9L 6cyl 5M), 4dr Quad Cab Sport 2WD SB (3.9L 6cyl 5M), 4dr Quad Cab Sport 4WD SB (3.9L 6cyl 5M), 2dr Club Cab Sport 4WD SB (3.9L 6cyl 5M), 2dr Club Cab 4WD SB (3.9L 6cyl 5M), 2dr Club Cab Sport 2WD SB (3.9L 6cyl 5M), 2dr Club Cab 2WD SB (3.9L 6cyl 5M), 2dr Regular Cab Sport 2WD SB (2.5L 4cyl 5M), 2dr Club Cab 2WD SB (2.5L 4cyl 5M), 2dr Regular Cab SLT 2WD SB (3.9L 6cyl 5M), 2dr Regular Cab Sport 2WD SB (3.9L 6cyl 5M), 2dr Regular Cab SLT 4WD SB (3.9L 6cyl 5M), 2dr Club Cab Sport 2WD SB (2.5L 4cyl 5M), 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (3.9L 6cyl 5M), 2dr Regular Cab 2WD SB (2.5L 4cyl 5M), 2dr Regular Cab 2WD SB (3.9L 6cyl 5M), and 2dr Regular Cab Sport 4WD SB (3.9L 6cyl 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 2002 Dodge Dakota?

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Which used 2002 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) 2002 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 AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2002 Dodge Dakota.

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Find a used Dodge Dakota for sale - 9 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $9,043.

Find a used Dodge for sale - 9 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $10,307.

Find a used certified pre-owned Dodge Dakota for sale - 5 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $20,677.

Find a used certified pre-owned Dodge for sale - 12 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $18,281.

Should I lease or buy a 2002 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.

Check out Dodge lease specials
Check out Dodge Dakota lease specials