2008 Dodge Dakota Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious cabin, class-leading V8 power, impressive towing capacity, respectable handling.
  • Some low-grade interior materials, high price when loaded with options, limited body style configurations.
List Price Estimate
$3,671 - $5,672

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2008 Dodge Dakota models

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.

2008 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2008 Dodge Dakota.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2nd dakota
bluedak,12/18/2009
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.
Luv the new Dakota
Phil in the Burbs,08/01/2008
Just picked up my 08 Dakota. Turned in a Ram for this little beauty. Very impressed with the looks, interior, and drive-ability of this truck. This is a very capable truck in a smaller package. Very easy for the wife to maneuver in traffic. Vehicle fit and finish is excellent. Better on gas than my old Hemi. Interior is very quite and the upgraded stereo is very crisp and clear. Really like the Sirius radio option. Had an issue finding room to store all my gear from the Ram. Solved by mounting on of the collapse-able bins from interior to the truck bed with sheet metal screws.
Great Truck
builder04,12/26/2008
This is my 3rd truck in 5 years, and I must say my favorite. I bought the v6 because I drive so much and its better on gas. Love the looks of this truck, and the interior is like a luxury car. Never liked the exterior of the Dakota till the 08 came out. They are giving 08's away, mine was 10k off MSRP. The quad cab is very roomy, drives and handles way better than my 06 Titan. This is the top of the small truck class. I looked at and test drove a Canyon Z71 and a Nismo Frontier, and I was surprised that I liked The Dakota so much better.
Awesome Truck
EMT Ryan,08/11/2009
I was looking for a nice truck that was fully loaded, but wasn't too large. After comparing all of the models available, I noticed that the smaller, almost car-sized trucks were comparable to price of the Dakota. After taking it for a quick test drive, I immediately noticed that the V6 Magnum had the power that could be used if needed. Great interior - almost nice enough to be considered luxury - and all the features you could ask for. Great ride all in all. I average 18-22mpg combined, which isn't too bad for a truck this size. Towed my 16 foot, 1500lb boat with no effort. Nice stock stereo system. New design for the exterior makes the truck look much nicer. Great truck for the money!

Features & Specs

See all Used 2008 Dodge Dakota features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    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
    Marginal
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Acceptable

More about the 2008 Dodge Dakota

Used 2008 Dodge Dakota Overview

The Used 2008 Dodge Dakota is offered in the following submodels: Dakota Crew Cab, Dakota Extended Cab. Available styles include ST 4dr Extended Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 6M), SLT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), SLT 4dr Crew Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), SXT 4dr Extended Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 6M), ST 4dr Crew Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 6M), TRX 4dr Crew Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), TRX 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), SXT 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 6M), SXT 4dr Crew Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 6M), SLT 4dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 6M), ST 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 6M), ST 4dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 6M), SXT 4dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 6M), SLT 4dr Extended Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 6M), TRX 4dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 6M), Laramie 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (4.7L 8cyl 5A), Laramie 4dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (4.7L 8cyl 5A), Sport 4dr Crew Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), Laramie 4dr Extended Cab SB (4.7L 8cyl 5A), Sport 4dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), Laramie 4dr Crew Cab SB (4.7L 8cyl 5A), Sport 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), Sport 4dr Extended Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), TRX 4dr Extended Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 6M), LoneStar 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), LoneStar 4dr Extended Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), BigHorn 4dr Crew Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), LoneStar 4dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), LoneStar 4dr Crew Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), BigHorn 4dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), BigHorn 4dr Crew Cab 4WD SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A), and BigHorn 4dr Extended Cab SB (3.7L 6cyl 4A).

What's a good price on a Used 2008 Dodge Dakota?

Price comparisons for Used 2008 Dodge Dakota trim styles:

  • The Used 2008 Dodge Dakota Laramie is priced between $4,900 and$4,900 with odometer readings between 198522 and198522 miles.
  • The Used 2008 Dodge Dakota Sport is priced between $8,939 and$8,939 with odometer readings between 141831 and141831 miles.

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 2008 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) 2008 Dodge Dakota for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2008 Dakotas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $4,900 and mileage as low as 141831 miles. 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 2008 Dodge Dakota.

Can't find a used 2008 Dodge Dakotas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Dodge Dakota for sale - 7 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $22,829.

Find a used Dodge for sale - 10 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $19,489.

Find a used certified pre-owned Dodge Dakota for sale - 8 great deals out of 18 listings starting at $7,923.

Find a used certified pre-owned Dodge for sale - 6 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $19,604.

Should I lease or buy a 2008 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.

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Check out Dodge Dakota lease specials