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Dodge Trucks Midsize – Will We Ever See The Dakota Return?

by Jordan Harris
Dodge Trucks Midsize

Are you interested to purchase a new truck and do you want to learn more about the Dodge trucks midsize? Well, if this is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover on this topic where we will learn everything about the Dodge Dakota.

Doing the proper research before you go out there on the market and purchase a new vehicle should be your top priority. Since there are a lot of makes and models and each of them is carrying some fair share of problems.

So, getting the right truck for example can be difficult if you want to get a midsize truck. There is the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Forester, Dodge Dakota, Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado, as well as other trucks. So, you get the point why proper research is needed. And if you already narrowed down your pick on the Dodge Dakota, you are at the right place. Because this article will be all about the past and also the future of the Dakota. And you don’t want to miss that.

First, we are going to learn what is a midsize truck and the pros and cons of having a midsize truck. After that, we are going to learn if Dodge still makes midsize trucks, and then we will discuss the generations of the Dodge trucks midsize, more specifically the Dakota. And after that we are going to see what the future holds about the Dakota and if we will see a new Dakota again. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

Dodge Truck Mid Size

Now before we start understanding the Dodge trucks midsize, let’s take a look at what is a midsize truck in general. What is the core concept for a midsize truck? Knowing this will help you differentiate midsize trucks from bigger trucks or smaller ones. So, let’s get into it.

If you didn’t know, vehicles fall into four different classes based on their size. There are subcompact, compact, mid-size, and full-size vehicles. Starting from the smallest to the largest vehicles out there.

And the Dodge truck midsize falls precisely in the mid-size category. This means that this vehicle isn’t too small and isn’t too large of a truck like the RAM 1500 or the Ford F-150.

Dodge Trucks Midsize

This makes the mid-size vehicles a lot more practical. Let’s say that you live in a house with a small garage. You don’t want to leave your car or truck out in the open weather. So, getting a smaller vehicle sometimes is a good compromise to make since you will be able to protect it from the elements.

Nevertheless, what is important for you to note is that all pickup trucks, whether compact, mid-size, or full-size, are light-duty trucks. This means that they are intended for light-duty use only. They are body-on-frame vehicles but still, they cannot achieve the same tasks as heavy trucks can.

In this category fall a ton of truck models. We are going to list the most popular ones. Namely, the Dodge trucks midsize like the Dakota, Ford Ranger, Chevy Colorado, Nissan Frontier, and Toyota Tacoma. All these are mid-size pickup trucks. So, keep this in mind. Now let’s take a look at the pros and cons.

Dodge Midsize Trucks Pros And Cons

Now before we start discussing more about the Dodge trucks midsize, let’s first take a look at the pros and cons of having a mid-size truck.

As with everything in this world, there are positives and negatives that you need to deal with when owning something. So, what are the pros and cons of owning a mid-size truck? Let’s elaborate on them in the following two chapters and then we will dive into the Dodge Dakota.


Before we dive into the Dodge trucks midsize, we are going to elaborate on the pros of owning a midsize truck. What are the benefits of having a truck like this? Let’s take a look.

The biggest benefit of owning a truck like this is probably the practicality. If you really need a truck for doing small things like getting groceries and doing small jobs. This type of truck will be perfect for you. These trucks are really good for small businesses as well or for using them as farm trucks.

We all need a farm truck and we don’t want to spend a whole fortune on getting a new one. So, a Dodge Dakota from the earlier generations might be the way to go if you want to do farming on a budget.

In addition to this, these trucks are really small and can fit almost every garage. In comparison, full-size trucks are really large. They are bulky, long, and sit too high. So, fitting them into tight places could be a problem. Especially if you live in the city and you have limited parking space. If you have one of these trucks, you will definitely see the benefits of having a Dodge mini truck.

And the last pro of having a Dodge truck mid-size is the ease of maintenance. These trucks are really easy to maintain and not to mention that they are dirt cheap as well. So, you don’t have big block engines that can be a real pain to maintain and if you want to drive a pickup truck on a budget, driving an early-gen Dakota might be a good idea. Now let’s move on to the cons of Dodge trucks midsize.


Now let’s take a look at the cons of having Dodge trucks midsize. What are the downsides of having to own a truck in general?

Well, the biggest con probably is fuel consumption. Pickup trucks are not the most fuel-efficient vehicles that you will come across. This is mainly because of their size and also because of their high drag coefficient that basically does not allow the air to slide as on a regular car. So, this ruins the fuel economy quite a bit.

The second con probably is the space inside of the truck. Mid-size pickup trucks are considerably smaller in comparison to standard full-size trucks. So, they often come in a regular cab. And in this regular cab, you can only sit three people max if you have a bench seat.

Newer generations of the Dodge Dakota came with 4-doors. But the space in the rear is pretty limited in comparison to the standard RAM 1500. So, keep this in mind because if you plan to sit a lot of passengers, you might be better with something bigger and more spacious.

And the last con that we are going to discuss is the lack of good towing ability. These mid-size trucks usually run smaller displacement engines that are almost car engines. This means that they are really bad at towing stuff.

So, if you want to get something for towing, then getting a full-size truck with a high displacement engine or a diesel engine might be your best bet. Overall, these are the pros and cons of Dodge trucks midsize. Now let’s take a look and learn if Dodge still makes these trucks.

Does Dodge Makes Midsize Trucks?

Now let’s learn something about the Dodge trucks midsize. Is Dodge making mid-size trucks nowadays?

The answer to this question is, no. Unfortunately, Dodge isn’t making trucks anymore. All the truck-making business was moved under the RAM badge. So, you will never in the future see a Dodge truck.

This is the case, since 2010 when the truck division was moved separately from Dodge under the new RAM division. They are still the same company though but the branding and all the marketing stuff are separated. But are they making mid-size pickup trucks?

The answer to this question as well is, no. RAM currently doesn’t produce mid-size pickup trucks. The last mid-size pickup by RAM was the Dakota.

Dodge Trucks Midsize

The Dodge Dakota in its last year became the RAM Dakota. In 2011 the Dakota ended its 25-year production run. This was mainly due to the loss of popularity of small trucks in the US.

For example, the Dakota in the year 2000 sold more than 177,000 units. And as the years went by, this number shrunk to about 12,000 units in 2011. So, you understand why RAM has decided to cut the Dakota from production and focus more on their full-size pickup lineup that indeed sells really well.

But are we are going to see new Dodge trucks midsize? Well, more on that we are going to cover later on in the article. Now let’s cover the last three generations of the Dakota.

Dodge Dakota Generations

Now let’s discuss more on the Dodge trucks midsize. More precisely, the Dodge Dakota and the generations of this truck.

As we said, there are three generations in total. In the following chapters, we are going to discuss more about the specs of these trucks as well as more on the common problems that these trucks have. So, if you want to learn more about these Dodge trucks mid-size, follow along.

First Generation Dodge Dakota 1986 – 1996

Now let’s dive into the first-generation Dodge trucks midsize. The first generation of the Dakota was introduced in 1986 as a competitor to the Ford Ranger. Back in the day, this segment of small trucks was booming.

These trucks were smaller than the standard full-size trucks and implemented a standard regular cab with two doors. They weren’t designed as modern trucks with comfort in mind. But with practicality and getting the job done quickly and effectively. And the Dakota was the perfect truck for this. This is why it sold really well throughout the 90s and early 00s.

Nevertheless, the first generation was in production till 1996 when it was replaced with the second generation.

What is interesting about the first generation is that it came with a variety of engines. Starting from a 2.2L inline-4, up to the 5.2L LA/Magnum engines producing 225 hp. In terms of transmissions, there were three of them. 3-speed and 4-speed automatics and a 5-speed manual.

The Dakota was not a powerhouse by any means. But it got the job done for what was designed. And that was overall practicality and helping owners to get things done.

In terms of dimensions, these Dodge trucks midsize came with a wheelbase between 111.9 and 130.9 inches and an overall length between 185.9 inches and 214.3 inches. So, we can say that there are a variety of options on the second-hand market.

In addition to this, there were special models such as the Dodge Dakota Sport with improved styling and features that most of the trucks in the lineup didn’t have.

Common Problems

Now let’s discuss more about the problems of the Dodge trucks midsize. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information on the first generation of the Dakota. Mainly because it is a really old truck.

But we performed a deep investigation and found that the most problematic is the 1994 and 1995 years of production. More precisely, these models suffered from issues with the engine such as stutter and stalling, and misfires. There were also problems with the fuel lines and the transmission tended to slip on the 1994 Dakota. In addition to this, the paint starts to peel on these early 90s models of the Dodge trucks midsize.

Second Generation Dodge Dakota 1997 – 2004

Now let’s get into the second generation of the Dodge trucks midsize. The second generation of the Dakota went into development in the early 90s but it was released for the 1997 model year and the model was sold up until 2004 when it was replaced with the third generation.

What is interesting about this model is that this model was a big step forward in comparison to the 80s styling of the previous generation. This new generation took a brave approach and implemented smoother lines that remind a lot of the design language used in the late 40s and early 50s.

So, people really liked it and sold extremely well. This model looks very similar to the RAM 1500 model. So, except for the size, you could not differentiate them.

This new model came with similar specs in terms of size. The smallest was the 111.9-inch wheelbase, the medium was the 123.9-inch wheelbase and the longest was the 131-inch wheelbase. The longest wheelbase model implemented a quad cab with four doors.

There were also a variety of engines used on these Dodge trucks midsize. Namely, the good old 2.5L AMC inline-4 that was the base engine. There were also V6 and V8 engines.

In terms of transmissions, the choice was also pretty large on the RAM midsize truck. Most of the transmissions used were 4-speed automatics and 5-speed manuals.

There were also a lot of different trim levels and the most popular was the Dakota sport truck. The sport trim sold really well on these Dodge RAM small trucks.

Common Problems

Now let’s discuss more about the problems that the Dodge trucks midsize from this generation had. So, what are the most common issues with this generation? Let’s elaborate.

The biggest problem with these trucks is issues with the suspension. Ball joints, and wheel hubs, all tend to fail really often.

Speed sensors are also failing really often and they can trigger the ABS light as well as the check engine light on the dash.

In addition to this, steering shaft bearings fail, exhaust system rusts out. Also, cosmetic issues with the paint peeling off, headlights turning all yellow, and the plastic interior falling apart. Just normal Dodge stuff from the early 2000s. Now let’s move on to the third generation of the Dodge trucks midsize.

Third Generation Dodge Dakota 2005 – 2011

Now let’s cover the last Dodge trucks midsize. And that is the third generation of the Dodge Dakota. This generation of the Dakota was introduced for the 2005 model year and was in production till 2011. This model was based on the same platform as the new Durango SUV.

And frankly, this Dakota was the first proper modern pickup truck in this segment since it is based on a platform that is still in production even today. Which is really good if you are asking me. And from all the generations, this probably drives the best and has the most features possible.

What is different with this generation is that it grew in size. There are no smaller wheelbases like the 111,9 inches. In this generation, the only option is 131.3 inches wheelbase. And you can choose whether to get a club cab or a quad cab.

The choice of engines also shrank a bit. In this generation, there are only two of them. 3.7L V6 and a 4.7L V8 engine. In terms of transmissions, there are three, two automatics, 4-speed and 5-speed, and a 6-speed manual.

Common Problems

On the third generation of the Dodge trucks midsize, there were no major problems to report. This generation unlike the previous one is a step ahead and had most of the issues that were troubling the previous generation patched.

But there were still minor issues reported on the Dakota. Some owners reported problems with the transmission and said that it didn’t shift properly and that it was slipping gears.

There were also reports on the engines as well. People complained about misfires, rough idle, check engine lights, and other issues.

In addition to this, rust development was pretty frequent on these trucks as well. More precisely the 2005 models. Also, a lot of owners reported that the truck started to shake under braking.

Overall, these problems mostly affect the early model years. So, if I were you, I would avoid the 2005 and 2006 model years because they have the most complaints on possible issues.

Go after the 2007 and onward model if you don’t want to deal with issues like these on the Dodge trucks midsize.

Next Generation Dodge Trucks Midsize

Now as we covered the generations of the Dodge trucks midsize, let’s see whether are we going to see a new generation of the Dodge Dakota. Will we see a new Dakota or not?

Well, this really depends on what RAM is planning, considering that Ford has released the Maverick and Hyundai released the Santa Cruz, as well as Nissan with the new Frontier, we can say that there is a market for these types of trucks. And hopefully, RAM will jump into this segment and create RAM midsize trucks.

For now, there is no information. But we hope that soon something will be released. Some people in the industry suspect that the new RAM midsize truck will be a unibody design. But these are only rumors, unfortunately. We cannot say anything until we get more data on the Dodge trucks midsize.

Ram Dakota Pickup: Need-to-Know Facts

  1. Ram considered resurrecting the Dakota nameplate on a mid-size pickup, but it has failed to materialize so far.
  2. The revived Dakota would have competed with the Ford Ranger, the Chevrolet Colorado, the GMC Canyon, and the Toyota Tacoma.
  3. Rumors suggested that the Dakota would be built in Toledo, Ohio, or at Ram’s factory in Saltillo, Mexico.
  4. Ram never announced how much the Dakota would have cost or what trim levels would have been offered.
  5. The Dakota’s base price would have aligned with key rivals such as the Ranger and the Colorado, with a starting price around $26,000.
  6. The Dakota’s engine options would have included a 3.6-liter V-6 and a diesel 3.0-liter V-6, probably paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and both rear- and all-wheel drive.
  7. The Dakota would have had an off-road-oriented model with a rugged appearance, beefier suspension, underbody skid plates (quite useful for the skid plate to protect catalytic converter), and knobbier tires.
  8. The Dakota might have been able to pull up to 7650 pounds and haul up to 1600 pounds in its cargo bed.
  9. The Dakota would likely have been equipped with standard and optional driver-assistance technology, such as adaptive cruise control, automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assist.
  10. The Dakota would have an average limited and powertrain warranty compared with its mid-size rivals, with no complimentary scheduled maintenance.

Conclusion To Dodge Trucks Midsize

In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the Dodge trucks midsize. First, we learned what is a mid-size truck and the pros and cons of having a mid-size truck.

Then we learned what is the Dodge Dakota and learned more about the three generations of this truck. We covered their specs, as well as their common problems, and lastly, we learned whether or not we are going to see a new RAM Dakota or possibly a different mid-size pickup truck introduced by RAM.

F.A.Qs On Dodge Trucks Midsize

Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

Is RAM And Dodge The Same

No, since 2011, these two brands are separated. But they are still owned by Chrysler which is owned by the FCA and the FCA is now owned by Stellantis. It can get confusing to understand but we can say that they are sister companies.

Does Dodge Still Make Trucks

No, Dodge is not making trucks anymore. This business is now under the new name which is RAM. So, RAM trucks are the new Dodge trucks.

Did RAM Split From Dodge

Yes, they split in 2011. But this doesn’t mean a lot since these two brands are still heavily connected. The new naming convention is only a marketing gimmick in order to boost their sales on the market.

Why Is RAM Not Dodge Anymore

Because Chrysler decided to create a separate truck division away from Dodge. Now Dodge focuses on cars and SUVs, while RAM is able to focus more on trucks.

When Did Dodge Stop Making RAM

The last year of Dodge RAM products is 2011. After 2011 all trucks produced by Chrysler are named RAM. This is the case because Chrysler wanted to create a separate division that will be truck focused.

Does Dodge Make A Midsize Pickup

No, currently they are not making mid-size trucks. The last mid-size truck made by this company was the Dodge Dakota which ended production in 2011 due to poor sales. But we hope that soon we will witness again the rebirth of the Dakota.

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