2006 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab Laramie
The Good :)
Bold and Modern Exterior. Powerful V8 Engine. Spacious Interior. Wide
Opening Rear Passenger Doors.
The Bad :(
Bouncy Ride. Seating Position is Very High. Steering Wheel is not
Telescoping. Too Much Plastic Inside. Two-Wheel Drive terrible in snow and
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As everything gets bigger in America, so
has the mid- size pickup truck. The all-new Dodge Dakota jump started the
midsize pickup market by delivering a bigger and more powerful truck than
anything in its class. The Dakota is featured in either an extended cab
version called the Club Cab or the four-door version called Quad Cab.
We test the high end Laramie Quad Cab which offers all the bell and
The bull horn design has
certainly come through in the all new Dakota. The huge front end is
sculpted and emits a powerful image from the massive center grill. The
large amount of chrome around the grill and on the bumper enhances the
truck's bling-bling appearance. The long hood is proportional in length to
the rear bed which makes the truck look balanced yet large. A fender line
blends into the side of the Dakota nicely and onto the flared out rear end
as well. The only things missing are built in side steps. Large 17x8 inch
aluminum chrome clad wheels and P255/65R16 tires make the truck appear much
larger than a midsize pickup. They also help you go off-road with plenty of
ground clearance. The truck bed is long and deep, great for putting extra
loads of chopped wood. Headlamps and tail lights look stylish and the
integrated fog lamps in the bumpers compliment the headlights nicely.
The Dakota offers the class
exclusive V8 engine with best in class torque of 310 lb.-ft. The V8 Magnum
engine offers 230 horsepower. Towing ability with this engine is also best
in class at 7,150 pounds. You can also opt for the standard engine which is
a 3.7 liter Magnum V6 that produces 210 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque.
We found the V8 to be powerful with good acceleration and something quite
fun for the overall look and feel of the Dakota. The engine is slow at the
drag strip going to sixty in 9.3 seconds however the torque makes up for
this by at least making you feel like you are moving right along. As for
gas mileage, our tests revealed a meager 12.6 miles per gallon.
The Dakota has a fully boxed,
hydroformed frame that provides greater stiffness and strength. It can
handle 1,730 pound payload and comes with the largest cargo bed at five feet
four inches. Ground clearance is about 8 inches. The independent front
coil-over shock suspension greatly improves ride quality over previous
The Dakota Laramie model is
equipped with a host of features on the inside as well. A 20.4 inch step
height makes getting in and out a bit hard but the wide opening doors do
make up for this climb. Upon the initial entry, we found the seats to be
comfortable all around. There is ample leg room and elbow room with a full
cabin of two adults in front and three adults in rear. The steering wheel
is positioned too far into the cabin and is very close to the driver. While
you can put your seat back the pedals are not adjustable and the steering
column is not telescoping.
Ride quality is good with a
precise steering feel and little looseness. The rack and pinion steering
also provided good road feedback to the driver. The interior is quiet and
free of squeaks and rattles. We found that some bounce still lingered after
going over a bump, here the suspension should be improved if this is going
to be a commuter vehicle. In our two-wheel-drive version, the power sent to
the light weight rear of the Dakota easily led to burn outs and tire
squeals. On slushy roads it was shameful to not be able to drive
confidentially with such poor traction. You may look big and bold but don't
go off road or try to pull someone out of a ditch in snow. This just gives
Dodge a bad name. Four-wheel drive or front wheel drive is necessary as
rear wheel drive is pretty much useless in a pickup truck.
The Laramie model features a
sunroof that brings in loads of light and is a good feature to have in a
truck. In addition, an array of new stereo
options for 2006 are available, such as an audio auxiliary jack that enables
playback of personal audio devices, a powerful 508-watt SoundBox, and a
six-speaker Alpine sound system with six-disc CD player. Also available is
the Sirius Satellite Radio and Bluetooth phone connection called UConnect.
Other standard features include automatic transmission, automatic headlamps,
leather trimmed bucket seats with six-way power driver's seat (the seat back
is not powered), leather-wrapped steering wheel with remote audio controls,
power windows and locks, auto-dimming day/night rearview mirror, security
alarm, Sentry Key engine immobilizer, and Overhead Convenience Group.
There is an abundance of storage space inside the cabin. The large center
armrest opens to reveal a large storage space big enough to store your
laptop. In the center dash there are many bins to put your personal items
like cell phone, notepad and change. The downside to all this storage room
is that there is a lot of plastic paneling everywhere. Even the dash is
made of hard plastic which doesn't feel or look good. However, the interior
does have a clean and modern appearance which is nice, but something should
be done change up the materials so everything is not hard plastic.
rear seats folded, 37.1 cu. ft. of storage space is available behind the
Dakota Quad Cab's front seat if the rear seats are in their folded
position. The driver's seat also offers 8.7 inches of travel so that
both tall and short persons can find a comfortable driving position. In the
front, there are 41.9 inches of leg room and 39.9 inches of head room. Rear
legroom is 36.4 inches and rear head room is 38.4 inches. There is plenty
of room for adults both in the front and rear.
The Dakota offers a host of
safety features such as anti-lock brakes, dual air bags, side curtain air
bags and electronic brake force distribution. The new Dodge Dakota received
five stars for driver's front impact test and four stars for passenger front
impact tests done by the NHTSA. The basic warranty on the Dodge Dakota is a
three year 26,000 mile limited warranty. Towing assistance is provided
during the warranty period.
Our Dakota had a base price of
$26,660. Options added were the five speed automatic transmission for $75.
The powerful and useful 4.7 Liter magnum V8 engine costs $785. The power
sunroof adds $850. Destination charged of $645 makes the total $29,015.
The all new Dakota is much
improved over the previous generation both in ride and comfort. Pickup
truck buyers will immediately notice the more refined interior and greater
use of technology such as integrated hands-free Bluetooth. Many of the
improvements are subtle and may go unnoticed; however, Dodge has created a
truck that is more civilized which should appeal to the weekend Home Depot
crowd yet still meet the high demands of professional tradesmen.