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1999 Dodge Dakota Sport 4X4

1999 Dodge Dakota Sport 4X4 

The New Dodge… that’s all we’ve been hearing for years now and it seems that they just keep coming up with more and more great rigs. Sure Dodge and its components have had some flops over the years, but who hasn’t. We had the pleasure recently to use, I mean really use, the new 1999 Dakota Club Cab Sport, 4-Wheel Drive pick-up truck. We used our truck to flatbed tow a 1977 Jeep CJ5 from Tucson, AZ to Moab, UT for the 1999 Easter Jeep Safari. Now, for a V-8 full-sized pick-up this may not have been so much a chore, but we were using a compact-pickup with a small V-8 in its place. I was skeptical at first, to say the least, to tow a rig over 1200 miles in something less than a full-size. However, our Dakota, which came with a 5.2 Liter “Magnum” V-8 performed admirably in the worst conditions. Flat-towing any vehicle is hard enough, but put it on a rented U-Haul flatbed trailer (which adds considerable drag and weight) and boy do the pounds add up quickly. Our trek took us through the steepest of mountain grades, through the spans of an open and barren desert and through blizzard like conditions with frozen and icy roads.


1999 Dodge Dakota Sport 4X4 The interior of our Sport model Club Cab is a bit lackluster with no power options except for steering and brakes (power windows, locks and keyless remote entry available by option), but the other options made it well worth its weight in gold. A 230 horsepower, 300 lb-ft of torque Magnum 5.2 Liter mill and a 6-speaker Chrysler 1999 Dodge Dakota Sport 4X4 / Infinity sound system that absolutely “boomed” made our long trip comfortable and blithe. The interior fit and finish is a perfect ten and the large knobs on the dash were well placed and would accommodate the largest, gloved hands. The cloth high-back bucket seats, floor and overhead consoles and a near perfectly engineered dash put the icing on the cake and allowed us to forget the power goodies typically associated with a decked vehicle. Lastly, interior room is a real bonus. Front seat folks enjoyed lots of legroom, head and hip room and elbowroom. The back seat section in the Dakota was surprisingly large. Not large enough to accommodate two full size men, but large anyhow.

The exterior is typical Dodge. Smooth geometric lines coupled with an aggressive stance and its now classic grill and front fenders is a real bonus to the Ram lovers.

1999 Dodge Dakota Sport 4X4 Driving the Dakota Sport on the road is a real treat. The V8 produced a good amount of power, although a 5.9 Liter is on the top of our wish list and the LT 31×10.50R15 tires gripped the road well. Torsion bar suspension with a front stabilizer bar kept the body from rolling out when it was thrown into a turn at high speeds. The truck has a bit of understeer but was easily correctable by feathering the accelerator. The slush box, a four-speed automatic (44RE model) shifted way too much in any driving conditions and was helped only a bit by taking it out of overdrive. Mentally Challenged came to mind a few times when we were headed up hill. 1999 Dodge Dakota Sport 4X4 Towing our project Jeep to Moab actually went well. We originally had our doubts with a compact pick up but the V8 really came through with its 300 lb ft of torque. It was able to maintain 50 m.p.h. or better ascending the steepest grades. It also had great control towing such a heavy load at all speeds and in turns.


ff the beaten path, the truck performed a little less than we expected. Minimal, but soft axle articulation coupled with no positive 1999 Dodge Dakota Sport 4X4 locking differential kept it from conquering some of our easier obstacles, but did well on washboard roads. It did have a nice heavy and steady feel to it in off camber situations and the 31-inch tires helped a lot in most situations as well as the decent low range in the transfer case.

After a full week of using, er, abusing our Dakota, we really had to ask ourselves, is the Dakota Sport with the optional V8 the Timex of compact pick-ups?

Answer: It just might be. It took a lickin’ and kept on tickin’.



NOTE: All ratings on a scale of 1 to 4 with flat tires equal to a half.
Description Notes Rating


Performance on the road was better than off, but still respectable.


The vehicle seemed well designed to precise specifications and was tight. I had the sense that everything was durable and large.


We happen to like the front end of the new Dakota and the Rams.


Very comfortable rig to drive. Nice and quiet at highway speeds, but not too quiet.


Ample room for a compact pick-up truck. Fit and finish both inside and out was awesome to say the least.

Price in comparison to related products

Our Dakota priced as tested for $23,785 smackers. Compared to other rigs in it’s class, it was only a bit higher, but well worth it.

Was it worth it???

This has to be the biggest and most durable compact pickup we’ve tested to date. We really enjoyed ourselves in the pickup.

Editors Notes

The ’99 Dakota Sport was a great rig and took the rigors of flat towing a Jeep and asked for seconds. The small V8 put out more torque than we thought it could, although it was a bit weak on the horsepower end. Overall, it is a great rig and a great buy…RW


Specifications and Dimensions

Fuel Economy (city / hwy): 4WD-PT
  2.5L 120-hp I4 3.9L 175-hp V6 5.2L 230-hp V8 5.9L 250-hp V8
5-Speed Manual Overdrive N/A 15 / 19 13 / 18 N/A
4-Speed Automatic Overdrive N/A 14 / 18 13 / 16 N/A
 Engine Specifications
  2.5L 120-hp I4 3.9L 175-hp V6 5.2L 230-hp V8 5.9L 250-hp V8
Horsepower 120 @ 5200 RPM 175 @ 4800 RPM 230 @ 4400 RPM 250 @ 4400 RPM
Torque (lb-ft) 145 @ 3250 RPM 225 @ 3200 RPM 300 @ 3200 RPM 345 @ 3200 RPM
Displacement (cc) 2464 3906 5208 5825
Bore X Stroke (in.) 3.88 X 3.19 3.91 X 3.31 3.91 X 3.31 4 X 3.58
Compression Ratio 9.2:1 9.1:1 9.1:1 8.9:1
Fuel Type Gas Gas Gas Gas
Extended Cab Models
Exterior Dimensions Club Cab 2WD Club Cab 4WD
Curb Weight – Automatic (lb.) 3557 4025
Curb Weight – Manual (lb.) 3797 4077
Wheelbase (in.) 131 131
Track FR (in.) 60.5 60.8
Track RR (in.) 61.5 61.5
Length (in.) 214.8 214.8
Width (in.) 71.5 71.5
Height (in.) 65.6 68.1
Ground Clearance (in.) 7.1 7.1
Interior Dimensions Club Cab 2WD Club Cab 4WD
Standard Seating 6 6
Optional Seating 5 5
Headroom – front (in.) 40 40
Headroom – rear (in.) 38 38
Legroom – front (in.) 41.9 41.9
Legroom – rear (in.) 22.1 22.1
Hip Room – front (in.) 56.7 56.7
Hip Room – rear (in.) 58 58
Shoulder Room – front (in.) 58.1 58.1
Shoulder Room – rear (in.) 58.2 58.2
Payload & Towing Club Cab 2WD Club Cab 4WD
EPA Passenger Volume (cu. ft.) No Data No Data
Standard Towing (lb.) 2300 4000
Maximum Towing (lb.) 6700 6400
Standard Payload (lb.) 1275 1450
Maximum Payload (lb.) 2000 1800
EPA Cargo Volume (cu. ft.) No Data No Data
Maximum GVWR (lb.) 5920 5960
Steering & Suspension Club Cab 2WD Club Cab 4WD
Turning Diameter (left) 41.1 41.2
Turning Diameter (right) 41.1 41.2
Steering Type R&P Recirc
Front Suspension Independent Independent
Rear Suspension Live Axle Live Axle
Tires 215/75R15 215/75R15
Warranty Information Club Cab 2WD Club Cab 4WD
Basic (mo.) 36 36
Basic (mi.) 36,000 36,000
Powertrain (mo.) 36 36
Powertrain (mi.) 36,000 36,000
Rust (mo.) 60 60
Rust (mi.) 100,000 100,000
Final Assembly Club Cab 2WD Club Cab 4WD
Final Assembly United States United States
Cargo Bed Dimensions Club Cab 2WD Club Cab 4WD
Length (in.) 77.9 77.9
Width at Wheelwell (in.) 44.7 44.7
Width at Wall (in.) 59.3 59.3
Depth (in.) 17.5 17.5


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