2018 Dodge Dakota: The Dodge Is Back

In 2000, Dodge sold 177,395 Dakota’s for the year, move forward to 2011 and just 12,156 left the showrooms – the market didn’t just shrink, the bottom fell out.

What makes Dodge feel that the time is right to bring it back? For a start, America loves a truck, always has, always will, but with everyone leaning toward protecting the environment, the smaller trucks are finding favor again – people want the practicality of a truck, without the gas-guzzling nature of V8 monster that could tow the world and still have room in the cargo-bay.

2018 Dodge Dakota: Fact-VS-Fiction

Contents

1. Fact vs Fiction
2. Power Up
3. Style Conscious
4. Inside Out
5. When does release date expected

Truth be told, little official information exists about the new Dakota – we don’t mean about the specs, but whether the truck is actually going to make it to production. Industry insiders tell us that it will, and if speculation is anything to go-by, it would be a popular move for Dodge – we also feel that the time is right for a comeback.

However, Dodge do need to make it sensible – the original Dakota was the first midsize pickup to offer a V8 engine choice – we definitely don’t need that nowadays.

Also, despite being classed as midsize, it was always bigger than its competition like the Ford Ranger and Chevrolet S-10. When (if?) it comes back, the designers should take a lesson from some of their counterparts at other manufacturers like Honda; smaller doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

 

Speaking of smaller; many sites are quoting that the new 2018 Dakota will be listing for ‘around the $60,000 mark’ – this is nonsense.

When it was last produced, it listed between $23,210 - $33,635, but that was a few years ago. Given that it’s going to be going head-to-head with the likes of the Honda Ridgeline ($30,415), the price is going to have to compete, this means a price in the region of $30,000 – half of what is being claimed by these other ‘expert’ sites.

Power-Up

Again, there’s plenty of speculation regarding the power-train; diesel, V8, 5-speed manual transmission … about the only thing that seems to be somewhere near the truth is that we’ll have (at least) a 3.7 liter V6 engine. We’d expect to see power levels in the region of 240 BHP and a multi-speed automatic transmission fitted – it’s the only viable method of encouraging good gas mileage, and that is super-important – not just to the buyers, but to the legislators as well.

Forget about 5-speed manual transmission – never gonna happen.

We have also heard a whisper that there may be some sort of hybrid technology being introduced a little further in to the production schedule, but we haven’t been able to confirm that – whether it’s true remains to be seen, but it would make sense for Dodge to incorporate a hybrid in to the line-up.

2018 Dodge Dakota Style Conscious

We also know that the bodywork will have some form of aerodynamic styling. Admittedly, a truck will never have the drag-coefficient of a Bugatti Veyron, but every manufacturer needs to improve their overall gas mileage, as a commercial car-maker.

Even putting legislation aside, with a hotly contested segment, why would you choose something that only returned sub 20’s in the miles-per-gallon department? You wouldn’t.

Expect to see a fresh-new face on the Dodge Dakota – an improved looking front grille, LED headlamps and DRL’s and slightly aggressive styling.

Inside Out

The interior is going to be well-appointed and spacious. Dodge need to create a ‘want’ for the new Dakota – yes, the market is recovering, but for those that stuck at it, they already have the market covered – Dodge need to take sales away from another manufacturer, which is never an easy thing to do.

It’s expected that the base, entry-level model will be pretty utilitarian on the inside – not all fancy leather and wood trimmings, but those options will be available as extras – we know that there will be at least three different trims available.

Expect to see the usual array of technology (depending on trim or budget): adaptive cruise control, pre-collision, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear-view camera, maybe even automatic emergency braking – like we said – Dodge need to take customers from other brands, expect to see the Dakota being offered with plenty of toys.

When?

Despite Dodge remaining very tight-lipped about the new 2018 Dodge Dakota, we think that it’s going to debut at one of the larger auto shows this year – mid-year is likely and gives Dodge time to hit the showrooms in time for 2018.

Expect a national roll-out in the fourth-quarter of 2017, just in time to make it as a 2018 Model Year.

2017-04-4 by Luke Widmeyer