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In recent years, there has been a resurgence in the popularity of compact and midsized trucks in America. For over a decade, there were no new compact trucks available from any automotive company in America. For those consumers who needed a small new truck, the only options available were the midsize Chevy Colorado, Ford Ranger, and Toyota Tacoma models, to name a few.

However, in the 2020s, the compact truck is back, with Hyundai releasing its Santa Cruz and Ford unveiling its Maverick to huge fanfare. Unfortunately, the reintroduction of compact trucks into the American marketplace has not been without issue, as most consumers have been unable to find a Maverick or Santa Cruz due to inventory issues. With this lack of availability, more consumers than ever before are looking to the used market to find a deal on an older compact truck. One option available for these compact truck consumers is the Dodge Dakota, which was in production from 1986 to 2011. With the last Dodge Dakota made over 10 years ago, buying one that will be reliable for years to come is important. With reliability in mind, here is the best Dodge Dakota model year available on the used marketplace under $20,000.

The 2010 Dodge Dakota is the way to go

According to U.S. News, the 2010 Dodge Dakota is the best Dakota model you can buy used today. This 2010 Dakota came in at No. 7 among all used compact trucks available today due to its excellent towing capacity and reliability. Today, a 2010 Dodge Dakota carries an average price tag between $8,160 and $12,096 on the used marketplace. For that price, you get a truck that got a perfect 5 out of 5 score in reliability, according to J.D. Power. Over the past thirteen years since its production, the 2010 Dodge Dakota has only had a handful of recalls, with most revolving around the vehicle’s airbag system.

The 2010 Dodge Dakota entered the market with revamped suspension, seating for up to five passengers, and a choice between rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. In a world of compact pickups typically equipped with small engines, the base model Dakota came standard with a V6 engine with a V8 engine available. The V8-equipped Dakota can even tow up to 7,250 pounds when properly equipped, making this compact truck a great option if you need some hauling power. The 2010 Dakota even has some rare creature comforts for its model year, with heated seats, navigation, and satellite radio available on some models.

Other alternatives to the 2010 Dodge Dakota

A red 2008 Dodge Dakota midsize pickup truck model at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show
Dodge Dakota | Scott Olson/Getty Images

The only downside of the 2010 Dodge Dakota is the lack of availability. By 2011, the Dodge Dakota was replaced by the Ram Dakota, and with this split between Ram and Dodge, the Dakota was discontinued shortly after the rebadging. According to GoodCarBadCar, the Dodge Dakota only sold around 13,047 units in 2010, which pales in comparison to the 100,000+ units sold in 2005.

It seems like when it comes to finding a good used 2010 Dakota, your only limit will be found in actually finding one for sale. If you aren’t married to the idea of having a 2010 Dakota in your driveway, U.S. News also has high rankings for the 2009 Nissan Frontier, 2010 Honda Ridgeline, 2016 Chevrolet Colorado, and 2015 Toyota Tacoma, all of which can be found under $20,000 in the used market.

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