Built as a durable utility pickup for drivers seeking a smaller alternative to full-sized trucks, the Dodge Dakota featured smaller dimensions than the Dodge Ram but was also one of the most capable vehicles in its class. After a 1997 redesign that involved the adoption of a Ram-like front end, the Dodge Dakota was offered with a regular and Club Cab model.
With the regular cab version of the 1998 Dakota, a 6.5-foot and 8-foot bed box was available. For 1998, the performance ante of the medium-sized pickup truck was raised by the presence of an R/T version of the Dakota with a 250-horsepower 5.9-liter Magnum V-8 powerplant.
A 5.2-liter Magnum V-8 engine also available for the 1998 Dodge Dakota pickup truck. Before the Chevrolet Colorado SS models arrival in 2009, the Dakota was the only commonly available mid-sized pickup truck in the United States with a V-8 engine. Other powerplants available on the 1998 Dakota also included a 2.5-liter four-cylinder and a 3.9-liter V-6 engine.
Rear-wheel drive as well as a part-time four-wheel drive system allowed power to the ground. For the 2000 model year, a four-door Quad Cab version of the Dodge Dakota was introduced. Also in 2000, the trucks 5.2-liter V-8 engine was replaced by a new 4.7-liter displacement PowerTech V-8. Given a new look mirroring its full-sized Dodge truck counterpart, the Dakota was refreshed in 2005 with an all-new suspension. The regular cab version of the Dakota was discontinued on the newer model leaving the Club Cab and Quad Cab.
Engine choice for the 2005 Dodge Dakota consisted of a 3.7-liter V-6 or the 4.7-liter V-8 powerplant rated at up to 260 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque. In 2010, the truck division of Dodge was divided into the Ram brand. As a result, the Dakota could be considered a Ram product for its final two years on sale. With dropping customer popularity, the Dakotas production ended after the 2011 model year.