Boasting new exterior and interior styling, the most interior room of any midsize truck and a number of best-in-class features and capabilities, the 2008 Dodge Dakota is designed to broaden its appeal to younger customers with active lifestyles.

Exterior changes include a newly styled hood, grille, front fascia, rear spoiler, fenders and headlamps. There is a new protective surface on top of the cargo box sides and built-in cargo-box utility rails.

The 2008 Dakota is offered in the following trim levels: ST, SXT, SLT, TRX, Sport and Laramie and available in two- or full-time four-wheel drive configurations. Cab choices include Extended Cab and Crew Cab body styles. Extended Cab models feature a 6' 4" cargo bed, while Crew Cab is outfitted with a 5' 3" bed.

Base power is generated by a 3.7L V-6. For 2008, the Dakota receives an all-new E-85 capable 4.7L V-8, which features a 31 percent increase in horsepower and a 13 percent increase in torque over last year's engine of the same displacement. Additionally, the new V-8 is more refined and fuel efficient. The vehicle also comes with a six-speed manual gearbox. Dodge's four- and five-speed automatic transmissions are also available.

The straightforward nature of the updated Dakota pickup comes through quickly –- even when driving the entry-level ST model. The standard engine coupled with the optional four-speed automatic transmission delivers strong and responsive acceleration. Handling and control are solid and predictable.

The core strength for all Dakota pickups begins with a hydroformed, durable and fully boxed ladder-type frame mounted on rubber isolators. Sophisticated suspension hardware delivers improved ride refinement and best-in-class towing capability.

Changes and enhancements inside the cabin include a new instrument panel, center console and accent finishes, a collapsible and removable under-seat cargo management system in Crew Cab models, (the center console now incorporates cupholders with modular inserts and pull-out bin for electronics), available heated bench seats and a newly optional Multimedia Infotainment System.

The optional power driver's seat provides short drivers with a command view and great outward visibility. Hand grips at both sides of the cab facilitate entry and exit. Modern, roomy interiors provide above-average comfort. The Extended Cab is the base offering, with forward-facing rear seating and standard rear-hinged access doors.

The list of safety features is long: Dual front airbags, rear anti-lock brakes, tire pressure monitor and full-size spare tire. SXT adds automatic power door locks and remote keyless entry. SLT adds alarm system, fog lights, engine immobilizer, garage door opener and remote keyless entry. SLT 4WD adds limited slip rear differential. Laramie adds remote control engine start and automatic headlamp control.

Optional safety features include navigation system.

 Quick Stats

  • Engines - 3.7L V-6, 210 hp; 4.7L V-8, 302 hp
  • Transmissions - Six-speed manual, four-speed automatic with overdrive or five-speed automatic with overdrive
  •  EPA fuel economy - 3.7L V-6 (2WD) 16 city/22 hwy. (manual); 17 city/22 hwy. (automatic); (4WD) 16 city/20 hwy. (manual); 15 city/19 hwy. (automatic); 4.7L V-8 (2WD) 16 city/22 hwy.; (4WD) 15 city/21 hwy.
  •  Payload capacity - 1,720 lbs.
  •  Towing capacity - 7,050 lbs.
  • MSRP starting price - $20,000