2009 Dodge Dakota

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14 CITY / 18 HWY
Overall Quality
Overall Performance and Design
Predicted Reliability


What Changed for 2009:
  • SLT, Sport and rear-wheel-drive TRX models dropped
  • Big Horn/Lone Star models replace SXT
  • Crate 'N Go storage system standard on Big Horn/Lone Star
  • Aluminum wheels standard on Laramie
  • Cloth upholstery replaces leather as standard on Laramie
  • ST model gets tilt steering wheel
The Dodge Dakota, first introduced as a 1987 midsize pickup model, is now in its third generation. The Dakota is offered with two cab styles: Extended Cab and Crew Cab. The Extended Cab has rear-hinged rear access doors, while the Crew Cab has 4 full-size doors. There are also two cargo bed options. According to Dodge, the Extended Cab's cargo bed is the longest standard bed in the class at 78 inches, while the Crew Cab has a 64-inch cargo bed. Both feature built-in utility rails and a dual-position tailgate. The Dakota Crew Cab has the most interior room in its class, Dodge claims, with 37 cubic feet, and seating for up to 6. Dakota also has best-in-class towing capability (up to 7200 pounds), according to the automaker.

Model Lineup
For 2009, the Dodge Dakota lineup includes four trim levels: ST, Big Horn/Lone Star, TRX4 and Laramie. All but the TRX4 are available in 2- or 4-wheel drive (2WD or 4WD); the TRX4 is only 4WD. Standard equipment on the ST includes cloth upholstery; air conditioning; 4-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo; tilt steering wheel; 4-pin trailer towing connection; and P245/70R16 on/off-road tires on steel wheels. The ST Crew Cab also has a split-folding, 3-passenger rear bench seat. The Big Horn/Lone Star model (Lone Star is offered only in Texas) adds cruise control; power windows, locks and mirrors; dual rear seat; front-seat center console; fog lamps; Dodge's Crate 'N Go storage system; and P265/65R17 tires on aluminum wheels. Crate 'N Go includes two collapsible, removable milk crate-style bins under the rear seat. The off-road-oriented TRX4 adds tow hooks; skid plates; limited-slip differential; leather-wrapped steering wheel; pickup box utility rails; overhead console with compass, outside temperature gauge and trip computer; security alarm; Sirius satellite radio; 3.92 axle ratio; and P265/70R16 Rugged Trail tires on aluminum wheels. The Laramie adds to the Big Horn/Lone Star chromed body-side moldings; chromed grille and rear bumper; automatic headlights; 3.92 axle ratio; bedliner; power bucket seats; remote engine starting; 6-disc CD changer; steering wheel audio controls; and P265/60R18 tires. Options include heated front seats; heated bench seats; 40/20/40 split-bench front seat with folding center armrest; leather upholstery; sunroof; rear sliding window; trailer towing package; Class IV receiver hitch; 7-pin wiring harness; UConnect Phone wireless cell phone link; Sirius satellite radio; tubular side steps; and Dodge's UConnect GPS hard-drive radio with navigation system.

The standard powerplant in the 2009 Dodge Dakota is a 3.7-liter V-6 engine that delivers 210 hp at 5200 rpm and 235 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm. Power is transferred through a 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 4-speed automatic. With the 3.7-liter V-6 engine and 2WD, EPA fuel economy is estimated at 15 mpg city/20 mpg highway for models equipped with the 4-speed automatic transmission, and 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway with the 6-speed manual transmission. For 4WD-equipped V-6 engines, EPA estimates are 14 mpg city/18 mpg highway with the 4-speed automatic transmission, and 15 mpg city/19 mpg highway with the 6-speed manual transmission.

Optional for the Big Horn/Lone Star, TRX4, and Laramie is a 4.7-liter V-8 engine with flex-fuel capability (able to operate on E85 ethanol fuel and classified as an FFV). It delivers 302 hp at 5650 rpm and 329 lb.-ft. of torque at 3950 rpm. Power is transferred through a standard 5-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel-economy ratings are 14 mpg city/19 mpg highway with either 2WD or 4WD.

The Dakota's 4WD system works part time and has a 2-speed transfer case with low-range gearing. It should not be left engaged on dry pavement, according to Dodge.

The 2009 Dodge Dakota has standard advanced multi-stage driver and front passenger air bags and available head-protecting curtain side air bags. A rear-wheel anti-lock braking system (ABS) is standard, and 4-wheel ABS is optional. Other safety features include a tire-pressure monitor; LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren); child-proof rear door locks; brake-park interlock; and an optional security group with Sentry Key engine immobilization and integrated vehicle alarm.

In crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the Dakota Crew Cab and Extended Cab received a 5-star rating for the driver and front passenger in frontal crashes. Both body styles received a 5-star rating for the driver in side impacts. The Crew Cab was awarded 5 stars for the rear passenger in side impacts, but the Extended Cab model was not rated in this test. In rollover testing, both body styles received a 4-star rating for models equipped with 2WD and 4WD. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the Dakota Crew Cab a \"Good\" rating (the Institute's highest) for frontal offset crash protection, while the Extended Cab received an \"Acceptable\" rating in the same test. Both body styles were given a \"Marginal\" rating for side-impact protection. Models with front-seat lumbar adjustment received a \"Poor\" rating for rear crash protection, while those without the lumbar adjustment received an \"Acceptable\" rating.

Entertainment choices on the 2009 Dodge Dakota include an AM/FM stereo with in-dash 6-disc DVD/MP3 player; 6 Alpine speakers; and Dodge's UConnect GPS hard-drive radio with navigation system. Formerly known as MyGIG, the hard drive grows from 20 to 30 gigabytes for 2009. It stores music and picture files, as well as navigation map information. Files can be ripped from CDs or downloaded from a thumb drive via an integrated USB 2.0 port. The navigation system includes voice-activation and real-time traffic reporting via Sirius satellite radio. The system features a 6.5-inch full-color touch-screen display. Also included is Dodge's UConnect Phone, which provides voice-activated calls on Bluetooth-compatible phones.


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