In an automotive world increasingly filled with trucks that have carlike characteristics, the Dodge Dakota pickup is a traditionalist. It suffers no confusion, no inner conflict about its role in life. It looks like a truck and it drives like a truck. So there. The Dakota is a midsize truck that roams the ground between compact pickups such as the Ford Ranger, Chevrolet S-Series and GMC Sonoma, and the big mothers such as the Ford F-150, Chevy/GMC C/K series and the big Dodge Ram. After years of buying its small pickups from Mitsubishi, Dodge created its own niche in 1986 with the home-grown Dakota. It turned out to be a popular size, and continues to be a pacesetter.