Dodge Dakota Gets Hellcat Engine Swap (Take Notes Ram)

The Dodge Dakota has been making headlines recently because many automotive publications speculate that American automaker Ram is releasing a Ram Dakota midsize pickup truck. This new small truck will bare some resemblance to its predecessor. Is this wild Hellcat engine swap something Ram should take note of in the future for a Ram Dakota?

2008 Dodge Dakota gets mighty Hellcat V8 engine swap

A black 2008 Dodge Dakota with a Hellcat V8 engine.
Greg Snyder’s 2008 Dodge Dakota with a Hellcat engine | Greg Synder

So, the 2008 Dodge Dakota originally had a V8 engine option, but it certainly wasn’t producing Hellcat power. Its 4.7-liter V8 engine option makes 302 horses, which isn’t bad at all for a midsize pickup truck. That’s more horses than a new 2023 Ford Ranger.

The Toyota RAV4 Prime also makes 302 horsepower with the help of electric motors. So, the Dakota always had great powertrain options. That being said, the Hellcat engine is a different animal entirely.

TheDrive.com claims that Greg Snyder, a crafty auto enthusiast, managed to swap a 2008 Dodge Dakota engine with a modern Hellcat engine. The Hellcat-powered midsize pickup truck now makes over 700 horses. That’s a power boost of nearly 400 horses from the 2008 Dakota’s most powerful factory engine option.

The 6.2-liter supercharged V8 engine and a Tremec six-speed transmission allow the American midsize pickup truck to go as fast as some new sports cars. Should consumers expect anything remotely as quick from a potential Ram Dakota? Probably not, but it’s exciting to know how quick Ram’s midsize pickup truck could be (with the right engine swap).

What we know about the Ram Dakota so far

If Ram does produce a pickup truck, it will likely have similar dimensions to its cousin, the Jeep Gladiator. Ram could go smaller to compete with the Blue Oval’s tiny Ford Maverick, but it isn’t likely. Car and Driver estimates a starting price of $30K. The automotive publication believes it will come with a standard six-cylinder engine.

Ram will likely offer an off-road Dakota trim because off-roading trims are the latest huge industry trend. There isn’t much information about a Ram Dakota, but consumers are excited because of the quality that the American brand delivers. The Ram 1500 is one of the most popular pickup trucks in the country because it’s comfortable and refined.

If the Dakota is closely related to the larger Ram 1500, chances are it will share the same pleasant ride quality and driving dynamics. If it’s more closely related to the Jeep Gladiator, then it could be a rugged truck with off-roading prowess. Either way, consumers are ready to see what Ram can bring to the table in the midsize pickup truck segment.

Ram needs to get in on the small truck action

A blue 2008 Dodge Dakota midsize pickup truck is driving on the road.
The 2008 Dodge Dakota | Stellantis North America

Ford is enjoying incredible success with the Ford Maverick. Order books opened and quickly closed for the 2023 model year because of overwhelming demand.

South Korean automaker Hyundai’s small truck, the Hyundai Santa Cruz, has drummed up plenty of excitement as well. There’s a clear demand for smaller pickup trucks. Many gearheads expect a Ram Dakota to arrive in 2023 as a 2024 model year. What other automakers will join in on the small truck fun in 2023?