The Dodge Dakota is a mid-size pickup truck from Chrysler's Ram division. From its introduction through 2009, it was marketed by Dodge. The first Dakota was introduced in 1986 as a 1987 model alongside the redesigned Dodge Ram 50. The Dakota was nominated for the North American Truck of the Year award for 2000. The Dakota has always been sized above the compact Ford Ranger and Chevrolet S-10 but below the full-sized pickups such as Dodge's own Ram. It is a conventional design with body-on-frame construction and a leaf spring/live axle rear end. The Dakota was the first small pickup with an optional V8 engine. One notable feature was the Dakota's rack and pinion steering, a first in work trucks. Dakotas have been used by police and fire departments, as off-road vehicles, patrol cars, or even brush trucks. The Dodge Dakota was conceived by Chrysler management as the first mid-sized pickup combining the nimble handling and fuel economy of a compact pickup with cargo handling capacity approaching that of full-sized pickups. To keep investment low, many components were shared with existing Chrysler products and the manufacturing plant was shared with the full-sized Dodge D-Model. The
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