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Avg. Price Paid:$8,569 - $14,947
Original MSRP: $20,470 - $32,135
MPG: 16 City / 20 Hwy
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2008 Dodge Dakota Interior

This interior review was written when the 2008 Dodge Dakota was new.

With available seating for up to six passengers, the 2008 Dodge Dakota ranks near the top of its class for class-leading passenger capacity, ergonomic design and large cargo hold. Yet despite this year's redesign, reviewers are still disappointed in the cabin's overall comfort and styling.

Car and Driver describes the interior modifications as "less effective" than the other recent changes and comments at length: "For what it's worth, the instrument panel, the center console, and the accent finishes are new, but the cheap, hard plastics the box-in-box-in-box design, and the dreary gray atmosphere echo so many other of Chrysler's recent interior atrocities."

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Seating

The 2008 Dodge Dakota remains the only compact pickup that can seat six, but rear-seat comfort is still lacking.

While the ST Extended Cab's standard seating arrangement can accommodate a maximum of two passengers, optional seating expands its capacity to five. SLT and Laramie Crew Cab trims maintain standard seating for four, but are also expandable to five. With standard seating, every Crew Cab is able to accommodate five passengers. Optional seating, however, increases this capacity to six. Depending on which trim level drivers chose, seating is expanded by opting for either a 40/20/40-split front bench seat or rear 40/40-folding split seat.

Most are generally pleased with the front-row seating in the Dakota. According to the Arizona Republic, it's "quite roomy up front." But BusinessWeek finds the "front seats don't feel any roomier than a Tacoma's, Ranger's, or Colorado's." In the front cabin, interior dimensions include 39.9 inches of headroom (39.7 inches in the Extended Cab), 41.9 inches of legroom, 57.5 inches of shoulder room (57.4 in the Extended Cab), and 54.9 inches of hip room.

Many agree the Dakota's backseat is only suitable for two adults and is short on legroom. Consumer Guide finds the Crew Cab's backseat dimensions are only "adequate for adults under 6-ft," while the Extended Cab's "forward facing jump seats best suit those under 5-ft-3." Most attribute this problem to a lack of rear legroom and, for the Crew Cab, center headroom. The Chicago Tribune finds fault with the small rear-hinged access doors in the Crew Cab: "Only little kids can slip in without contorting the limbs," the reviewer says. "Two mini seats lift and lock against the seat backs to create more cargo space, but there's no leg room for adults, unless the driver and front-seat passenger pull their seats up to the dash."

In spite of a cramped rear cabin, Car and Driver and others report the rear seat's angled style allows for a "comfortable" ride. BusinessWeek notes, "The Dodge's advantage is in its rear seats, where leg space is ... nearly four inches more than in the Toyota." In the Crew/Extended rear cabin, interior dimensions include 38.4 inches/36.6 inches of headroom, 36.4/32.1 inches of legroom, 57.7 inches of shoulder room and 56.0 inches/52.5 inches of hip room.

Interior Features

Among the many standard features equipped on the ST Extended Cab are bucket seats and an AM/FM/CD stereo system with four speakers. Additional standard features equipped on the SLT Extended are a six-way power driver's seat, 40/40 folding-split rear seat, floor console and overhead console with mini-trip computer -- which A Car Place says is "easy to see and to use." Moreover, a one-year subscription to SIRIUS Satellite Digital Radio is included.

Further features standard on the Laramie Extended Cab include an upgraded stereo system with wheel-mounted audio controls. With the exception of an added rear 60/40-folding seat, interior features standard on Crew Cab trim levels are the same as the Extended Cab. Newly optional for 2008 (on some trims) is MyGIG, an information and entertainment system with a 6.5-inch LCD screen and voice-activated GPS navigation.

The Dakota also receives interior upgrades for this year, including a freshened style and layout. "The black-on-white instrument panel is easy to read and the ample storage areas are so numerous that you might find yourself trying to find uses for all of them," says Kelley Blue Book. However many others still find the cabin lacking. "The big disappointment about the Dakota is its interior design, which even on the upscale Laramie features acres of unattractive hard plastic," says BusinessWeek. "The speedometer and other instruments are plain looking." According to BusinessWeek, the center console has some nice features, "including three big cupholders and an iPod dock," but "the plastic it's made of looks cheesy." Motor Trend concludes, "Yes, the cabin is still swimming in cheap, hard plastic -- the Dakota seems forever destined to that fate. However, the materials do look better now, fit and finish has improved, and more features have been added."

Cargo

While every Dakota Crew Cab maintains 46.5 cubic feet of cargo room behind the first- row seat, Extended Cab trim levels maintain just 39.1 cubic feet of cargo room. Truck Trend explains, "Dodge has improved storage by designing the rear seats to flip rearward against the seatbacks to create a cavernous pass-through rear-storage area."

The Crew Cab's "Crate 'N Go" rear-seat storage system is a favorite, and consists of two collapsible plastic crates that hide on the floor under the rear seats. "Lift the seats, pull up the plastic walls, and you have a crate to hold groceries or kids' gear," explains the Chicago Tribune. "The crates remove to take in the house or store in the garage -- and look for them soon in other Chrysler vehicles." BusinessWeek calls the system "ingenious" and one "that other companies may want to imitate."

Additional cargo room is also afforded by Dakota's standard pickup box and map pocket. Moreover, SLT and Laramie trim levels feature a standard overhead and center floor console, which the Washington Times says is "quite large, providing a covered space for items you wish to keep out of sight." This floor console is optional for the ST. Despite the praise for the cargo area, BusinessWeek says the glove box is "tiny, and the open storage bins above it don't compensate for its lack of size."

Review Last Updated: 3/11/09

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