Dodge is a popular car manufacturer and is well known for its classic American muscle cars as well as its popular trucks like the RAM, but not many people remember the Dodge Dakota. This mid-sized pickup truck even came with a sportier option that had an almost unheard of convertible top in the first generation, but it was too small to be full-sized and too large to fit in with the compact trucks of the time. With hundreds of thousands made over the long production run, you’ve likely heard of the Dodge Dakota before, but you wouldn’t name it as a response to a question about the Dodge pickup truck lines.
The Dodge Dakota
You might have heard of the Dodge Dakota as the Ram Dakota, and it does share the Dodge Ram badge. Dodge began producing the Dakota in 1986 and it remained so popular that it continued production up until 2011. Over the years there were only three major generations where the truck – which was surprisingly developed by Chrysler – saw major changes.
The Dakota had a wide variety of engine options over the year, giving it more or less horsepower depending on which drivetrain option you selected. Many of these options were various replacements of V6 or V8 engines, with a few inline-four engines thrown in there on rare occasions.
The first generation, which had its final production year in 1996, was only offered as a two-door with the option for an extended cab. It was also the only generation that offered the convertible top that set the truck apart from the competition.
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The second generation of Dakota lost the two-door convertible cab and gained the option for four-doors before the third generation abandoned the two-door body style together. The final generation was only offered in one body style, and that was the four-door regular cab. Each generation received a facelift that sets it dramatic apart of the last, each time making the truck look more modern, and more like the standard Dodge Ram.
A forgotten gem
Although the Dakota was relatively popular, it was nowhere near as big of a seller as the Dodge Ram trucks, and it didn’t compete well against mid-sized trucks offered by other competitors like Ford or Chevrolet.
The convertible option does give this truck some novelty, as there aren’t many trucks that you can find with a sporty convertible option. The market for convertible trucks was pretty niche, however, and it makes the concept of convertible trucks a thing of the past for many people.
You can still find many Dodge Dakotas on the used truck market, and some are so well kept that they could even appear at classic car and truck shows. They are still worth a decent amount of money, but you can usually find them for around – or under – $10,000.