Ten years. Ten years I’ve owned what I consider the best truck ever built. The Dodge Dakota Quad Cab. The Quad cab Dakota was released in 2000 as the only quad-cab truck with a new, more powerful V-8. Dodge was advertising everywhere. I lived in Dallas at the time and I needed a truck that I could move clients in and out of easily and still have the power to tow more than 6,800 pounds. I know, today, those towing numbers seem low, but ten years ago they were the unbelievable.
The years passed. Dents came and were mended. Tires were bought, a radiator was replaced , and oil (synthetic of course) was changed. As a matter of fact, all the fluids were changed before their scheduled intervals. The truck cost me nothing in ten years but a radiator, maintenance, and wear items; brakes, tires, etc. Not too shabby. As a matter of fact, I think most of you reading this would be impressed, if not by my excessive maintenance, then, by the shear durability of the Dodge truck brand.
Sure, there were the red-neck jokes like; what’s the matter, couldn’t afford the whole truck? After all, the Dakota is not a full-size truck. It’s a truck you can actually park in congested parking lots. It’s a truck a five-foot-ten mountain of a man can get in and out of perfectly. It’s a truck that begs to you to use the “Bubba Rule”. Ask David Irwin about the “Bubba Rules. He’ll tell you it applies to enterprising folks who are sure tow limits are estimated not actual…Tyler’s full of them.
The point is, Dodge built an amazing truck in 2000. Maybe that’s why so little has changed structurally with the Dakota in the past ten years. Yeah, the skin is different. There are more gadgets to keep your attention. The satellite radio, nav-system, and heated seats make life more enjoyable. But, the heart of the Dakota has stayed the same. Check the V-8 option and you’ll receive a 4.7 liter motor that gets 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. The same as it was in 2000. Sure, there’s more power and torque, but little else has changed. Why mess with perfection?
When the new 2010 Dakota arrived, it was wearing the same tires as my truck currently is shod with. BFG’s, raised white letters, letter side facing out. It’s a great look on this body style. Maybe Dodge should call me for future styling ques.
The Dakota drives great. Not too stiff. With a revised 4.7 liter, the new Dakota makes 302HP and 342LBFT of torque, almost 60Hp more than mine. Also, the new Dakota can tow up to 7,200 pounds and has a payload of almost three quarters of a ton. Think about that. The beauty of the Dakota to me has always been the power of a full-size truck with the ease of driving like a smaller truck.
So, here is my suggestion. If you want an uber-reliable truck and don’t have “size envy” then, you should consider the Dodge Dakota. Take it from someone who has ten trouble free years of service with an older model. Treat your Dakota right and maybe you can keep yours for ten years.Read More
Listen to Review
Ah, the Jetta and the Rabbit. Both cars played a large part in my youth. My best friend in high school…still today, it’s not easy finding additional people to like me. If you know me you understand. My friend Paul had a 1984 Jetta. It was black and at the time I considered it very quick. I had other friends who drove the Rabbit’s or “Golf’s”. They were great jumpers. We could get one to two feet of air on just about any dip on the streets of north Dallas. A street named Merrill was the best. It was the street I tested the Ford Raptor on. The Raptor was more impressive than the Golf…but, only slightly.
But, that was when I was young and immature. Now I’m older. And more…ok, just older. Now that I’m in my forties I can appreciate more about the Golf. It gives me a glimpse of what is possible if you suspend the reality that larger is better. There is a time coming soon, sooner than you think when we (Americans) will be forced to drive fuel efficient cars and trucks. Let’s hope that when that time comes there are a lot of offerings similar to the Golf TDI.
First I’ll cover the fun part, driving the Golf. There is substantial turbo lag until you reach over 1500 RPM’s but, after that the Golf feels peppy at the least and sometimes it actually feels strong. You can give the credit to the 2.0 liter diesel. This particular power-plant has been in the Jetta for a while. It puts out only 140HP but manages 236lbft of torque. 236lbft of torque! In a thirty-two hundred pound car that’s enough torque to make it extremely fun to drive. Assisting the mini torque monster in driving enjoyment is the handling. I forgot how much fun small cars are to drive. Especially, small cars from Germany. I had more fun driving the Golf this week than I had reading about Tiger’s divorce settlement. Man, what must Elin know? $750,000,000.00!!!!
The Golf handles like a go-cart. I know this example gets used more than Lebron James’ cell phone but, it’s true. I can’t compare it to anything else. It’s that exhilarating. The steering is accurate, the gauges are user friendly, and the seats are comfortable. About the only gripe I have is something I’m embarrassed to admit. But, for your enjoyment I will. I stalled this car at least once a day while I had it. The Golf TDI makes like zero torque until you pass 1200RPM’s and for this reason I believe it’s very easy to stall. I mean it couldn’t be the driver, right? The trouble with stalling the Golf is this, you need to remove the key completely before the car will re-fire. This can be more nerve racking than a Monday morning sales meeting with no sales by your name. It also seems a little dangerous to me.
Here’s the big news however; the fuel mileage! I averaged 45MPG. There were some stretches where I could hyper-mile the Golf to around 60MPG. Now I understand that you can come close to these numbers with hybrids, the Fusion hybrid for instance. The truth is the Fusion can’t touch the Golf in the ”fun to drive” category. Compared to the Golf the Fusion hybrid feels like a nineteen sixty-two caddy. With all due respect to the Fusion, I own one, great car, just not a ton of fun to drive. The Golf is small and, if you don’t mind the small size ( big by European standards) the Golf is a very good choice.Read More