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Dodge Dakota, Truck
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#69 of 142 Treating the Dakota Unfairly
Aug 23, 2004 (7:39 am)
Please know that I am reading and posting on this board because I am interested in the new Dakota, and I am not on here to bash the Dakota.
The point is that Dodge used to have it's own niche with the mid-sized Dakota. However, as the compact truck segment has languished, the 2005 Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma will grow in size and invade the Dakota's turf, bringing new competition to this segment.
From what I have heard the new Nissan 4.0 V6 will offer 260+/- HP and 280 +/- lb ft of torque. The Toyota 4.0 V6 will offer 240+/- hp and a similar 280 lb ft of torque. While the Dodge V8 will likely have a broader torque curve, the new Toyota and Nissan will be worthy competitors.
So, in order to keep a competitive advantage, Dodge needs to figure a way to get more power out of the 4.7 V8. And to me, it makes no sense that the hemi is being offered in the 300C, Magnum, Durango and new Grand Cherokee, but they did not design the Dakota to use this motor. IMHO, this is a big mistake. With the cylinder deactivation, the Hemi actually offers similar (or better) fuel economy than the 4.7 V8 in vehicles that offer both. Unfortunately, this technology is actually much more difficult in an OHC design (the 4.7) as compared to a push rod (the Hemi).
With the Hemi and the cylinder deactivation, my choice for a new pickup would very likely have been the Dakota. Now I am weighing my options between three what appear to be very good choices from Dodge, Nissan and Toyota.
#70 of 142 Re: Treating the Dakota Unfairly [atlgaxt]
Aug 24, 2004 (3:22 pm)
Well, first, the Dakota platform will not except the 5.7 Hemi engine. The engine is too big to fit under the hood. Chrysler did play with the idea of building the Dakota around the Hemi, but then the Dakota would've been only slightly less in size than the RAM, which doesn't make any sense.
I don't know a thing about the new Nissan and Toyota offerings. Assuming that those new platforms are exactly the same in size and capacity to the next generation Dakota, rated horsepower does not always tell the story. And if they're V6s it is doubtful that the low end torque will compare to the current 4.7.
The 4.7 is a very smooth and balanced power plant. It seems equally responsive across a wide RPM range. It has plenty of low-end torque and seems more gutsy than the 360 wedge V8 that was used previously.
Performance of the Nissan and Toyota are at this juncture still speculation. I think you need to take a wait-and-see. Nissan and Toyota usually...I say usually... do their homework well, so maybe they'll both be Dakota beaters. Who knows. There's usually a price to pay for increased horsepower somewhere. In the final analysis it all depends on what your criteria for judgement is. There are people (like me) that don't consider rated horsepower to be the singlemost important thing.
#71 of 142 Re: Treating the Dakota Unfairly [dustyk]
Aug 25, 2004 (8:07 am)
You are missing my point. I know that the Hemi will not fit. However, it fits in two existing passenger cars (the 300C and the Magnum) and will probably be added to other passenger cars. It fits in the new Grand Cherokee. But it was not designed to fit a 217" long 2 plus ton truck. It makes no sense. A truck the size of the Dakota should be able to accept that size engine, if smaller cars and SUVs can. The Dakota used to offer a 5.9 litre engine, which has greater displacement than the current Hemi. My point is that Dodge screwed up by not designing the Dakota to fit the Hemi.
Especially when you consider that a Hemi with cylinder deactivation will offer similar or maybe even better fuel economy to the 4.7, which probably cannot be engineered for a similar system.
Also, while I agree with you that typically a DOHC V6 will offer inferior torque to a V8, the new V6s in the Tacoma and Frontier offer similar amounts of torque and more horsepower, and with variable valve timing may even offer similarly broad power bands.
#72 of 142 Re: Treating the Dakota Unfairly [atlgaxt]
Aug 27, 2004 (3:26 pm)
I understand the point you're making. But in order to make the next generation Dakota big enough to fit around the 5.7 Hemi would've made the Dakota too close in size to the RAM. As we see with the Tundra a slightly lesser version of a full size pick-up does not generate sales. I think in this respect the Dodge truck development staff did a good thing.
If your point is horsepower then I give you that. It would be nice to market some more. I'm sure that the next-gen Dakota platform team had some idea what the competition was doing in the development area, and like everyone else they've done their market research. We should not assume, however, that just because the Hemi won't be available that something else won't be.
We do not know exactly what the new offerings from Nissan and Toyota will be like in their final form. The GM Canyon, for example, has been criticized for being still smaller than the existing Dakota while being only marginally larger than the current S10 platform, and GM lovers cannot understand why GM didn't introduce a "Dakota beater" when they had a chance with a fresh sheet of paper.
Cylinder deactivation would be easily adaptable to the 4.7, but I think that with a motor that size the cost-benefit ratio is not as favorable as it is with the larger, more thirsty Hemi.
As to the comment about more horsepower in the Nissan and Toyotas, I think you missed my point. In a 4.0 liter V6 the power band will never be optimum for pick-up truck usage compared to the likes of the 4.7 Chrysler V8. In order to produce that kind of power in a normally aspirated engine, on 87 octane fuel no less, the power band will have to move upwards with a corresponding loss of low-end torque...variable timing or not. In order to be truly competitive the platform will have to make up for this in other areas in order to match the performance of the current 4.7 Dakota. The most logical approach would be reducing weight.
It's easy to second guess manufacturers if one is asking a narrow question. In reality Dakota platform developers are trying to appeal to a wider range of buyer. If the Dakota is to be criticized for not having the new Hemi, then why wouldn't we be asking why Nissan and Toyota are dickering with a current V6 and isn't plunking one of their V8s into their next gen trucks? I suspect they have a reason, too.
#73 of 142 isn't plunking one of their V8s into their next gen trucks?
Aug 27, 2004 (5:54 pm)
I suspect that as competition heats up for the existing crude oil output. It will cause an ever increasing spiral in prices at the pump.
At some point our illustrious politicians will see fit to include our gas guzzling trucks in the automobile CAFE requirements to stem the flow of our dollars into the Middle East.
Then you will start hearing people asking why are the manufacturers not putting more efficient motors into the trucks.
I suspect the Asian manufacturers are a little better at seeing future trends than maybe we give them credit for.
I have read that the sales of SUVs have already softened with the modest increase in gas prices we have already seen.
I don't think diesel motors are going to help much because as the demand for diesel increases the price will skyrocket.
We will be competing for the fuel with our trucking industry, our Farmers and the people who heat their homes with heating oil as well as the Europeans.
One of the reasons our gas prices have been low in recent years is the surplus of gasoline from European refineries as they refine and sell larger percentages of diesel. I have read that about half the cars purchases in Europe are powered by diesel motors.
But then again demand will drop for gas and we should see a reduction in the price of gas. Do you suppose Dodge could put that new 6.1 Hemi in the Dakota. <grin>
#74 of 142 Re: isn't plunking one of their V8s into their next gen trucks? [iowabigguy]
Aug 28, 2004 (8:29 am)
>>>At some point our illustrious politicians will see fit to include our gas guzzling trucks in the automobile CAFE requirements to stem the flow of our dollars into the Middle East. Then you will start hearing people asking why are the manufacturers not putting more efficient motors into the trucks. <<<
Iowa, if this is true then maybe Dodge is ahead on this one by not (at the moment) fueling the horsepower race.
There are already a population of politicians who treat horsepower as a dirty word and wanting to crush horsepower with taxes and penalties. SUVs have taken some heat away from LD pick-ups by steering the over emotional SUV-haters away...for the moment. But some are looking at why most LD trucks are owned by civilians without a business case. Watch California's Barbra Boxer or Diane Feinstein.
By the way, I'm finding a number of guys are now complaining about the fuel consumption on the new F150 with the 5.4 engines. I've heard several say that their older 5.4s gave them 15-16 consistently, but the new ones are 12-13 MPG. The brother of my son-in-law bought a new F150 regular cab and, according to my son-in-law he can beat it with his 2002 F150 Quad 4x4!
#75 of 142 Re: isn't plunking one of their V8s into their next gen trucks? [dustyk]
Aug 30, 2004 (8:46 am)
Regarding the F-150, my guess is that part of the reason fuel economy is lower than the previous generation is that the new one is just so darn heavy.
I agree that we need to increase fuel efficiency in this country, and burning less fuel is another reason I am steering away from a full sized truck. However, technology in the form of mild hybrids, cylinder deactivation and direct fuel injection promises to provide substantial fuel economy increases, even for V8 powered trucks over the next several years. I also think that as the fuel is cleaned up, diesels will become more common. Regarding the Tacoma, my guess is that a V8 is not initially available because Toyota does not want the new larger Tacoma to steal sales from the Tundra. When the Tundra gets bigger (in 2006?), my guess is that we will see a direct injection V8 with VVT in the Tacoma that will get better fuel economy than the V6 in the current version.
I'll quit my yappin about the lack of a hemi in the Dakota if I hear that Daimler Chrysler decides to put one of their excellent diesels in that truck. In my mind, that would trump the competition.
Sep 15, 2004 (7:49 am)
FYI - There is a brief "preview" article on the new Dakota in the new Car & Driver. Just some basic info and discussion of why no hemi (I'm staying away from that topic) and only a brief analysis.
#77 of 142 Re: isn't plunking one of their V8s into their next gen trucks? [atlgaxt]
Sep 15, 2004 (3:10 pm)
For 2005 the Dakota will have the option of a high output 4.7 motor, which is being advertised as faster that the 5.9 Dakota R/T.
Saw a 2005 dakota for the first time today at Marina Dodge in Webster, New York. Can't say I take to the appearance of the front end, but the rest of it looks pretty good. It appears that the oil pressure and voltmeter are no longer part of the instrumentation. That's too bad. I will say that the fit and finish was as good as any car or truck I've ever seen.
#78 of 142 I noticed that too dusty
Sep 15, 2004 (5:29 pm)
to me, omission of gauges consitutes a serious design gaffe. Perhaps its space or cost, regardless, Chrysler was noted for YEARS in having full instrumentation on their cars and trucks. I know I certainly appreciated a full gauge set on my Dak.
Alas, no oil pressure and voltmeter means Dodge is trying a bit to hard to make the Dakota into more of a loser cruiser (ie minivan) or something other than what it really is.......a pickup truck.
Shame on you DOdge!