The full-size Dodge Ram brought big-rig styling and a host of innovative features and design details to the pickup truck market; its popularity is now a matter of record. Last year, Dodge applied the Ram look and feel to its mid-size pickup, the Dakota, and it was another instant success. For many buyers, the Dakota is a uniquely nifty size, bigger than the compact pickups, such as the Ford Ranger and Chevy Sonoma, smaller than the full-size models, such as the Ram and Ford F-150. Really, there's nothing else quite like it, and that puts the Dakota in a favorable spot. The Dodge Dakota offers more room inside than the smaller compact trucks, increasing comfort for passengers, but it isn't so big on the outside that it's cumbersome or awkward to drive around town or fit into parking slots. For many buyers, that adds up to the ideal size. Dodge completely redesigned the Dakota last year, so there isn't much new for 1998. New colors have been added to this year's palette. The optional keyless remote entry system now features a panic alarm, forged alloy wheels are available for the SLT trim level, and the four-cylinder engine is available in a wider range of models.