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#3

in 2010 Compact Pickup Trucks

Avg. Price Paid: $11,992 - $18,046
Original MSRP: $22,755 - $33,180
MPG: 15 City / 20 Hwy
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2010 Dodge Dakota Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

What gets reviewers most excited about the 2010 Dodge Dakota's performance is its available V8 engine, but with competitors now also offering V8s, that's not the trump card it once was. If you really need V8 power, be sure to check out the GMC Canyon and Chevy Colorado as well.

  • "The Dodge Dakota is no longer the only vehicle in the compact/midsize pickup class to offer a V8. However, the Dakota maintains its best-in-class maximum towing capacity of 7,100 pounds." -- Edmunds

Acceleration and Power

Every Dakota trim except the Laramie comes standard with a 3.7-liter V6 engine that makes 210 horsepower and 235 pound-feet of torque. While auto reviewers concede that the V6 is adequate for daily driving, many agree that it isn't strong enough for heavier towing and hauling. The top-of-the-line Laramie comes with a 4.7-liter V8 engine (optional for the other trims). The V8 has 302 horsepower and 329 pound-feet of torque.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Dodge Dakota 2WD trim level with the V6 engine and manual transmission achieves fuel economy of 16 mpg city/highway. With the V8, it makes 14/19 mpg city/highway. The Dakota 4WD trim level similarly achieves15/19 mpg city/highway with the manual V6 and 14/19 mpg with the V8. Both engines are mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.

  • "V8 Dakotas have good power in around-town driving, and adequate highway passing reserves. With either transmission, V6 Dakotas and all Raiders are underpowered for anything but daily commuting and light loads." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The V6 offers adequate power, but the 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. " -- Edmunds
  • "Be it people or cargo, the V6-propelled, 4500lb Dakota isn't the choice of the aficionado. Or anyone else, for good reason: with a meager 235lb-ft of torque and a wheezing 210 horses underfoot, an unladen Dakota barely motivates itself." -- The Truth About Cars
  • "The V8 engine makes the Dakota quick, especially considering a Laramie four-by-four with a crew cab weighs more than 4,800 lb." -- BusinessWeek
  • "The optional V8 makes easy the sometimes challenging task of passing slow-moving traffic on rural two-lane highways." -- Kelley Blue Book

Handling and Braking

According to most reviewers, the Dakota's ride and handling aren't anything to write home about, good or bad.

  • "The Dakota proved surprisingly sharp through our lane-change exercise, but its braking performance leaves a lot to be desired." -- Car and Driver
  • "A sophisticated driver may notice a small amount of rear-axle ride harshness over uneven pavement. Others may feel the Dakota rides as well as most cars." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "It doesn't handle especially well -- throw it hard into a curve and it rolls and feels as if it might tip over -- but boy is the ride smooth, both on the highway and in town." -- BusinessWeek
  • "The driver enjoys natural brake pedal effort that's very progressive. Well done, Dodge." -- Cars.com

Towing and Hauling

The Dakota can tow up to 7,250 pounds when properly equipped, which is well ahead of many competitors.

Next Steps: 2010 Dodge Dakota

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