I was pleasantly surprised by the power of Chrysler's aging 3.7-liter V-6 in the Dakota. Like Don, I appreciate the Dakota's size advantage over the behemoth full-size trucks we usually see. I'd actually like to see the Dakota shrink a little more so it's even with the Ford Ranger or the compact pickups of the 1980s. A turbo four-cylinder would make an ideal powerplant.
I'd trade the crew-cab configuration of our test truck for a slightly longer bed. The biggest improvement Ram could make to the Dakota is a more realistic sticker price. The mid-size pickup segment is a joke right now because it costs less to buy a comparable half-ton full-size truck by the time you make a deal with a salesperson.
Phil Floraday, Senior Web Producer