This truck purchase was the result of my husband changing jobs and losing his company car – a 2000 Ford F-150 extended cab 4x4. We’d hung on to his old truck, a 1996 Dakota 2x4, but it did not have an extended cab, so we had no place to put our two children. Enter the Dakota Quad Cab.
My husband still needed a truck for work, but we did not have the cash to invest in a full-sized vehicle, particularly since he needed the 4x4 and needed the Quad Cab. We chose the SLT Plus model, which added to the price considerably, but does come with the key comfort features—power doors, power locks, power windows, floor mats, and a CD player. The remote keyless entry is a “no noise” when you unlock and “horn beep” when you lock and has at least a 30’ range. They throw in fog lamps, too.
When we got to the dealership to take a test drive, I was initially put off by the larger size. It was definitely bigger than the old Dakota (but obviously smaller than the Ford F-150). My husband had to talk me into driving it. Once I got behind the wheel, however, I was pleasantly surprised. It was really no different to drive than my minivan (a Toyota Sienna). Acceleration and stopping distances were remarkably similar. The feel behind the wheel was similar, too. I didn’t feel I was up too high and had no trouble climbing into the cab, like I did with the F-150. And I was thrilled to learn that, even with the Quad Cab, this truck would actually fit in our garage.
But this IS a truck, so you would expect uncomfortable seats, a bumpy ride, and lots of noise. Wrong! The rear seats in this truck are definitely big enough to sit your averaged sized person comfortably (and the rear seats also flip up for storage). The front seats are comfortable enough for a long ride – plus there is a nice fold down center arm rest and a decent sized glove box. The only down-side is the alleged three across seating in the front. You’d have to have to be Lilliputian to fit in the center. But three averaged sized, or two hulking workmen, would fit comfortably in back. And noise was no problem. It is not dead quiet, but you can keep the radio at the same volume whether you are going 20 mph or 60 mph. And handling was nice too. Even in the back seat, the ride was smooth for city driving. It is a little bumpy off-road, but there are rear and front stabilizer bars to help compensate.
The bed is smaller, to accommodate the Quad seating, but it handles my husband’s work loads fine, since he is mostly hauling small machinery and the like. It would be tough for larger loads, but you can add optional MOPAR bed extenders if you choose. Still, if you have any intention of hauling passengers, the plain extended cab is not an option. It was too small even for my three year old to sit comfortably, much less a grown man. The Dakota Quad is much more sedan-like in seating room and comfort.
The 4x4 model is switch-on-the-fly, so you can run in 4x2 until you need the extra capabilities. This helps gas mileage, obviously, but even so, mpg stays around 14 mpg. That really is not much better than a full sized truck, and thus a disappointment.
And one feature I do not like is that all but the driver door locks automatically when you’re in motion. This means you have to unlock the doors each time you want to get out, a big pain to get used to when you’re constantly unloading kids.
All in all, this seems to be a good purchase. I am still waiting to see how reliable it is, though we purchased the extended warranty just in case. (Our past Dodge had a few stupid problems – a broken horn, door lock problems, but no major system faults) Speaking of which, it comes with a standard 3/36K warranty and a 7/70k on the power train.
It is an attractive truck, though the small bed looks a little odd. We will be adding a topper, so that will improve the proportions. We chose Forest Green with chrome and it looks sharp. The seats are taupe cloth and are comfy yet durable. The interior is well made, not cheap plastic, and everything is comfortably padded. It makes for a functional yet comfortable ride.
Amount Paid (US$):
2002Model and Options:
SLT Plus 4x4 Automatic