Used 2010 Dodge Dakota Crew Cab Review
When the Dodge Dakota debuted in 1987, it bridged the gap between compact and full-size pickups. The midsize pickup was born, and since then, other car companies have followed suit. Over time, consumer tastes have become more refined, with shoppers expecting more from pickup trucks than just pure utility. In recent years, however, the Dakota has lagged behind the competition in that regard.
Dodge hopes to remedy some of that with the 2010 Dakota. Previous models suffered from a harsh highway ride that transmitted every road imperfection to the passengers' posteriors. This year, refinement comes in the form of revised shock absorbers and springs to deliver a more compliant ride.
Fortunately for the Dakota, some of its best attributes return unchanged. Topping that list is the Dakota's class-leading towing capacity, which tops out at 7,200 pounds thanks to a brawny V8. Also receiving high marks are the pickup's innovative rear under-seat storage bins and comfortable seating. But there are still some downsides to the Dakota, notably its cut-rate interior. Even by pickup truck standards, the cabin is woefully behind the times and saddled with plenty of cheap plastics and flimsy switchgear.
As a workhorse, though, the 2010 Dodge Dakota still stands tall. Only the Chevy Colorado and its GMC Canyon twin come close, but they still lack the Dakota's towing and hauling capabilities. On the other hand, when it comes to interior refinement, the Dakota is bringing up the rear behind the likes of the Honda Ridgeline, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma. Unless your truck will be pulling a trailer for the majority of its miles, we think you'd be happier in any of the alternatives.
performance & mpg
A 3.7-liter V6 is standard on every 2010 Dodge Dakota, producing 210 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic is the only transmission available with this engine. Rear-wheel drive is standard on all Dakotas, with four-wheel drive being optional (standard on the TRX4). Fuel economy registers an EPA-estimated 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined for rear-drive models, while four-wheel-drive mileage drops slightly to 14/15/18 mpg. When properly equipped, maximum towing capacity with the V6 is 4,950 pounds.
Optional on all but the base ST is a 4.7-liter V8 that produces 302 hp and 329 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic is standard. In performance testing, a 4WD Dakota Laramie crew cab with the V8 accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds. Estimated fuel economy with the V8 and 2WD is 14/19/15 mpg. Opting for 4WD drops those numbers by 1 mpg. When properly equipped, a V8 Dakota can tow 7,200 pounds.
Rear-wheel antilock brakes are standard, while an optional Safety Group provides four-wheel ABS and full-length side curtain airbags. In government frontal crash tests, both the extended- and crew-cab Dakotas earned a perfect five stars for driver and front passenger protection.
In side-impact tests, the Dakota crew cab without side curtain airbags earned five stars for the protection of both front and rear passengers. The Dakota scored a second-best "Acceptable" rating in frontal-offset crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In the IIHS's side-impact test, a crew cab without side airbags received the second-worst rating of "Marginal."
With the standard V6 under the hood, power delivery is merely adequate and feels rather anemic compared to V6-powered models from Nissan and Toyota. For those with frequent towing or hauling needs, the bigger V8 is the only engine that should be considered. The previous year's suspension delivered a harsh ride and the steering had a numb and lifeless feel, though in off-road conditions, the Dakota soldiered on unabated. The 2010 Dodge Dakota looks to remedy its on-road woes with upgraded springs and shock absorbers, but we have yet to put the new suspension through its paces. With any luck, on-road comfort will improve while the off-road abilities remain.
In general, pickup trucks aren't expected to have high-quality interiors, but even by this low benchmark, the 2010 Dodge Dakota disappoints. However, we do like the bigger Ram 1500's cabin, and with any luck, some of those features will trickle down to the smaller Dakota. Until then, buyers will have to contend with a cheap, industrial cabin feel, with surfaces and switchgear made out of low-budget plastics.
On the upside, the Dakota's interior design is mostly straightforward. Switchgear is where you'd expect it to be, while the climate controls and the standard stereo are easy to use. The Laramie's optional audio and navigation touchscreen is a different story, as its smallish screen and frustrating menus make simple tasks difficult.
The standard bench seats are very comfortable, while the available power seats offer a wealth of adjustability. The crew cab's comfy backseat bottom features a 60/40 split, and when raised provides a flat loading surface. In all but the ST, that surface features a pair of milk-cratelike boxes that pop up to hold various loose items -- a thoughtful and useful touch.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.