Saturday, September 5, 2015

2008 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab SLT 4x4 Review, First Impressions

Note, this is a USED vehicle and the picture shown is approximately the appearance of same and not a representation of the exact vehicle. Translated it means that I was too lazy to take pictures of the truck, Vehicles of the same year, make and model will have different amounts of care, wear and tear, as well as options and configurations. Your results will vary, but hopefully this will give you a good baseline in which to start.
Chrysler has not assembled a mid sized pickup for the North American market since 2011 to date. This truck will have the options listed, sans the factory radio that was replaced with an aftermarket unit before I got a hold of it. Hence there will be no reviews on same. I will not "evaluate" equipment that is not factory in the interest of leveling the playing field.
As mentioned before, this is a mid sized truck with four full doors, seats five with a 64 inch bed equipped with side rails installed from the factory. It has a sliding rear window in the back, electric windows in the doors, power locks, anti lock brakes, a power driver's seat, power mirrors, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, cloth seats. an overhead console with info center, four gauge cluster, automatic transmission, part time four wheel drive, fog lamps, a single power outlet, as well as a 3.7 liter six cylinder engine. Everything works!
The truck is considered a mid size, having a bed that is about five and a half feet wide. It is longer, wider and taller than a four wheel drive Ford Ranger with a 4.0 liter v-6 that I drove for work a year and a half ago. The interior is also roomier, which isn't saying much as the Ranger was one of the most difficult vehicles short of Mrs. Grace's Pontiac to get into without tucking your chin into your wishbone. Ahem!
The Dakotas of this year came in only two models, the one pictured here which is close to what I drive, the crew cab and the extended cab. The extended cab has vestigial "jump" seats which are designed more for my son's stuffed animals than actual human beings. The crew cab is a far better choice if you plan on hauling family or things you don't want in an open bed.
Even with the 64 inch bed, there's plenty of room for hauling things such as tools and the like. The height of the bed is low enough so you don't need a step to get up into it, or reach into same. The optional rails and movable cleats also allow you you to secure cargo in the bed. The factory drop in bedliner feels a bit on the soft side, but does a good job of protecting the bed and cargo. One thing you won't find in the Dakota's bed are stake holes for building walls or installing a ladder rack.
Under the hood in this truck lives a 3.7 liter V-6 that provides 210 horsepower and is more than adequate for hauling and passing. While the 4.7 liter gets the same mileage with 30% more power it also has 16 spark plugs. The grille comes up with the hood and there's no need for a prop rod on this hood either. What's underneath is pretty straightforward as far as maintenance is concerned. Even the spark plugs look pretty easy to get to save for one partially obstructed by an A/C line. Air filter access is also very easy.
Changing the headlight bulbs is a bit of a pain in the butt as you have to cram a 10mm socket between the bumper and headlight. It's not intuitive and short of a magnetic tool, you're going to drop screws. The headlight assemblies are also pricey at the dealership if you break them. The taillights are a bit easier as are the cargo and third brake light.
The inside of the vehicle is what this writer would call just right. It's about the size of a mid-sized auto, but the floors are going to be higher and the cabin will be shallower than a full-sized truck. The seats are decent sized with adequate thigh and shoulder support.
The ride on Michigan's moonscape motorways is pretty jumpy, and the ride is harsh over bumps. I can imagine that the shocks have something to do with this to an extent. If this is the case, I will report on it later. Maranatha!

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