Finally! We've been waiting with bated breath for this day, and now, a four-door Dodge Dakota has arrived. And even better, the engineers went above and beyond the call of duty, making the Dakota's new doors full-size, which means getting people and cargo in and out is a no-brainer. This did force the bed to be downsized, but the vehicle length remains virtually the same as the Club Cab, 215.1 inches.
There's another bonus for the 2000 Dakota - it brings the Jeep Grand Cherokee's next-generation 4.7-liter V8 to its Magnum-power lineup. The two-wheel-drive Regular and Club Cabs get a mini-Magnum 120-horsepower, 2.5-liter four-cylinder, but all Dakotas have access to a 3.9-liter that cranks out 175 horsepower, a 5.9-liter making 245 horses, and that 4.7-liter, which makes a whopping 235. Only the 5.9-liter cannot be mated to a manual transmission, and the 2.5-liter is without an automatic option. If you're worried about having to tow with a compact truck, keep in mind the Dakota's 6,200-pound towing capacity. In other words, no problem.
You'll likely have to keep reminding yourself that this is indeed a compact pickup - everything from its towing capacity and stance to its power and interior seems bigger than the norm. A 40/20/40 split seat is standard (but you can opt for high-back buckets), and rear passengers travel on a 60/40 split-folding bench seat, creating seating for six in Quad Cabs. The interior is quiet, and Dodge has improved the comfort level of the seats this year, none too soon. Both two- and four-wheel drive are available, and on the four-bys, the independent front suspension was recently revised to improve an already solid ride quality. Steering was also switched to rack-and-pinion for better response. Underneath you'll find front disc brakes with optional ABS and rear drums with standard ABS (you can upgrade to slightly larger rear brakes with ABS). The transfer case remains in lever form, not a button, but is simple to engage. Three body styles are available: Regular Cab, Club Cab, and Quad Cab. Want the ultimate attention-gettin' Dakota? The Regular and Club Cab two-wheel-drives can take advantage of the R/T Sport Group that includes a 250-horsepower 5.9-liter V8, a lowered suspension, and a high-performance tire-and-wheel combo. The Dakota enters the new millennium with looks, power, and a much-desired four-door configuration. It sure seems like it could be a very happy new year for Dodge.
The biggest change this year is design oriented -- the 2000 Dodge Dakota is now available with four full-size doors, and with that comes a family name: Quad Cab. A 4.7-liter V8 has been added, but the 8-foot bed is gone. You can select from five more colors as well.