When I told my co-workers I planned to trade in my truck, I figured I’d get some grief. After all, we just traded our car a few weeks ago, and I’ve only had this truck for two years. I’ll admit, we do trade a bit more frequently than most… I didn’t really get any grief though. I think they feel we’re beyond help.
Up until two days ago, I drove a 2004 Dodge Dakota 4WD Club Cab with the V6. It served our purposes fairly well, especially pre-child. It had a small back seat which Dusty occupied when going somewhere with Evan. That seat was far too small for a child seat, and as we understand, even if we could fit it back there, he would likely be injured in a collision due to the lack of room for the car seat to move and absorb impact- basically he’d slam into the front seat or back window very quickly. So, Evan rode in the front seat (with the airbag disabled of course). That truck was also our tow vehicle for the camper, which it handled pretty well.
We spent most of the prior week test-driving all the mini-truck 4-door models (Tacoma, Frontier, Colorado, Dakota). With the exception of the Colorado, any of them would have made a suitable replacement. The Dakota was powerful and rode well, the Toyota was very refined, and the Frontier was amazingly quick (with it’s 265hp V6).
In the end, the Dakota broke the tie due to price. I will say that I got a very good deal. I was dealing with the dealer in Pekin on a 2WD truck in Ohio (it’s hard to find the strip-down models). We were $1000 away from making a deal, so I went up to Peoria. My saleman there (from whom I bought the previous Dakotas) showed me a 4WD very similar to the one in Ohio. In the end he gave me the 4WD for the price of the 2WD from Pekin.
What we ended up with was a new Mineral Gray 2005 Dakota Quad Cab ST 4WD with the V8. This truck has a full size backseat, which was truly the driving force for trading. Now Evan can ride comfortably (and safely) in the back seat. I think we’re in good shape now, even if another child is in our future. As a bonus, the stronger engine will tow our camper more easily and is rated for essentially the same mileage as the V6. This truck is about as stripped-down as they come in terms of amenities, but that’s the way I like them. It’s got the driveline options, but that’s it.
I know I’ve said it before, but we should be able to hang on to this one for a while… The next step is to get the Line-X spray-in bedliner again and figure out what to do with the bed.