The all-new 2005 Dodge Dakota represents yet another bold move into the truck market for Dodge. With sales of basic small trucks in steady decline, Dodge has redesigned the Dakota as a much larger, much edgier and more macho midsize pickup. The Dakota is now the largest and by far the most powerful pickup in the segment. Dakota competes against Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, and Nissan Frontier. As with full-size pickups, competition for compact or mid-size trucks is hot. Though the Ranger is dated, Canyon, Colorado, Tacoma, and Frontier are totally new pickups for either 2004 or 2005. Dakota's biggest advantage, other than its larger size, is the availability V8 engines, not one, but two of them. Its towing capacity has been expanded to 7,150 pounds, by far the most in the class. Built on a new frame, the new Dakota is substantially longer than the previous model with styling that complements the recently redesigned Durango SUV and Ram pickup. Getting in is easy and the redesigned interior is comfortable and convenient with controls that are easy to reach and operate. Underway, the Dakota is smooth and quiet. The optional 4.7-liter V8 burbles subtly in the background when cruising, but really scoots when the throttle is mashed. Yet its fuel economy is rated within 1 mpg of the standard V6's. The steering is light for easy maneuverability in crowded parking lots. The Dakota responds quickly on mountain roads and tracks extremely well on the highway.