There's a lot of buzz surrounding the Dakota's successor, all seemingly tied to the idea of a smaller, unibody pickup. A fine notion, I suppose, but Dodge/Ram already has the makings of a solid mid-size truck with the current Dakota -- they just need to actually do something with it.
I understand it's hard to justify pouring money into a truck that's far outsold by its big brother, but it does seem a little ironic that the full-size Ram raises the bar for refinement in pickup trucks while the smaller Dakota lags nearly a decade behind. Apart from a mild cosmetic overhaul two years ago, the Dakota is almost as DaimlerChrysler launched it back in 2005. Which is to say it's an adequate vehicle, at best-the V-6 is remarkably strong, but the four-speed's manners are a little abrupt, the steering a bit twitchy at highway speeds.
Would a new, niche-forming small truck do wonders for the Ram brand? Perhaps, but if money's too tight to execute an ambitious program like that, the advances pioneered with the Ram (notably a classy interior and a ride quality that's literally carlike) should be shared with the Dakota.
Evan McCausland, Web Producer