NEW FOR 2009:

– Extended Cab SLT and Crew Cab ST models discontinued
– Automatic transmission standard on SXT and SLT models
– ST Extended Cab adds tilt steering column
– SLT adds heated leather-faced bucket seats, 18-inch aluminum wheels, chrome grille and rear bumper, automatic headlamps, under-rail bedliner, Satin Silver instrument panel bezel, chrome body side mouldings and 3.92 axle ratio
– Crew SXT adds standard "Crate ‘no Go" interior storage system
– Anti-spin differential now optional instead of standard on 4×4 Extended Cab SXT and 4×2/4×4 Crew SLT
– New optional SLT Plus Group adds 18-inch chrome-clad alloy wheels, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, remote starter, and six-disc DVD/MP3 radio with six Alpine speakers and 276-watt amplifier
– Premium Sound Group adds six-disc DVD/MP3 radio, six Alpine speakers and 276-watt amplifier, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, and remote starter
– Premium Cloth Bucket Seats option adds heated seats with Stain Repel fabric, manual driver’s lumbar adjustment, power six-way driver’s seat and floor console, plus rear split-folding seat for Extended Cab
– Exterior colours: Deep Water Blue, Austin Tan and Stone White added; Electric Blue, Flame Red and Bright White discontinued

For 2009, the Dodge Dakota line-up is simplified, dropping from six models to four; the Extended Cab is now available as the ST and SXT, with the top-line SLT discontinued, while the Crew Cab drops its base ST trim line, and is now available as the SXT and SLT. There are also changes to the option packages, with new features added.

The Dakota is available with two engine choices, available in both cab configurations: a 3.7-litre V6 with six-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic, and a 4.7-litre flexible fuel V8 with five-speed automatic. All are available in two- or four-wheel drive.

Features on the ST Extended Cab include 16-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, disc/drum brakes with rear-wheel ABS, carpeted floor, fog lamps, rear-seat grocery bag hooks, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input, cloth-faced bucket seats, tilt column, tire pressure monitor warning lamp, four-pin trailer tow wiring harness, and variable intermittent wipers.

The SXT Extended Cab adds 16-inch aluminum wheels, floor console, power locks with keyless entry, floor mats, power mirrors, rear split-folding seat, cruise control, and power windows with driver’s one-touch down.

The SXT Crew Cab adds rear floor mats and Crate ‘n Go interior storage bin.

The SLT Crew Cab adds 18-inch aluminum wheels, under-rail bedliner, overhead console, garage door opener, hood insulation, utility box rails, heated leather-faced seats with six-way power driver’s adjustment, security alarm, Sirius satellite radio, and sliding rear window.

Even though it’s classified as a midsize, the Dakota is a large truck, offering a roomy interior, along with numerous standard or available creature comforts. Its dual-position liftgate improves its cargo capacity, as it can be positioned halfway up to support long loads such as boards. The Extended Cab’s rear doors open nearly 170 degrees for easy access to the rear. On the down side, it tends to be thirsty. Should you prefer an SUV, the Dodge Durango and Chrysler Aspen are also built from the Dakota’s platform.

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