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The Dakota has always been sized above the compact (Ford Ranger, Chevrolet S-10) and below the full-sized (Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado) pickups and Dodge's own Ram. It is a conventional design with body-on-frame construction and leaf spring/live axle rear end. The Dakota has also long been the only midsize pickup with an optional V8 engine. One notable feature was the Dakota's rack and pinion steering, a first in work trucks.
The Dodge Dakota was conceived by Chrysler management as the first "mid-sized pickup" combining the nimble handling and fuel economy of a compact pickup with cargo handling capacity approaching that of full-sized pickups. To keep investment low, many components were shared with existing Chrysler products and the manufacturing plant was shared with the full-sized Dodge D-Model. The name Dakota means "friend or ally" in the Sioux Indian language.
The first generation of the Dakota was produced from 1987 through 1996. Straight-4 and V6 engines were offered along with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. Four wheel drive was available only with the V6. Both 6.5 ft (2 m) and 8 ft (2.4 m) beds were offered. Fuel injection was added to the 3.9 L V6 for 1988 but the output remained the same.
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Check out the Dodge Dakota wallpapers and Dodge Dakota Pictures (pics) collection below: