How To Build a Custom Dodge Dakota

Find out how to best build a custom Dodge Dakota, from choosing factory options to getting third-party upgrades.
Written by Tiffany Leung
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
You can find a Dodge Dakota pickup truck that fits your needs by choosing one of the six trim levels it’s available in. Although the Dakota has been discontinued, there are still many third-party options that can allow you to customize your Dakota.
Size matters when you’re buying a pickup truck. Whether you’re hauling heavy loads or towing a boat for your next water adventure, identifying the essential features you want will ensure the truck fits your needs without breaking the bank. The Dodge Dakota, although discontinued, is a capable truck that can get the job done. 
With the trim options limited by the used-car market, the
car insurance
comparison super app,
, has created a guide to help you choose the best trim and aftermarket mods for the perfect Dakota. (We can also help you save on your
Dodge Dakota car insurance costs
down below.)

Dodge Dakota customization options

The Dodge Dakota is a midsize pickup truck that has been discontinued since 2011 and was also known as the Ram Dakota in its last run. Although smaller in class, the Dakota was still packed with power and available in two or four-wheel drive.
The 2011 Dakota was available in three trim levels—ST, STL Bighorn/Lonestar, and STL Laramie. The starting price ranges from $25,760 to $30,635.
Depending on the trim, the Dakota is available in two cab styles:
  • Extended cab: Four passengers, 6’4” cargo box
  • Crew cab: Five passengers, 5’3” cargo box
The Dakota comes standard with a 3.7-liter Magnum V6 engine, producing 210 hp and 235 lb-ft of torque. There are also two 4.7-liter V8 engines (excluding ST): the Magnum V8 with 230 hp and 295 lb-ft torque, and the V8 High Output with 260 hp and 310 lb-ft torque.
The 3.7-liter V6 engine comes with a standard four-speed automatic transmission, whereas the other two engine options can be upgraded to a five-speed automatic transmission for an enhanced driving experience. Depending on the trim, you could also get the Dakota in two or four-wheel drive.

Dodge Dakota optional packages

There were also add-on packages available for the Dakota to customize it further. Below are a few packages to keep your eye out for when looking for a used Dakota:
Which trims is it available on?
Convenience group
Full swing rear doors, remote start system, Sentry Key theft deterrent system
STL Bighorn/Lonestar
Premium sound group
Media Center, six-speaker sound system, SIRIUS satellite radio, leather-wrapped steering wheel, steering wheel mounted audio controls
STL Bighorn/Lonestar
Utility group
Class IV trailer hitch receiver, seven-pin wiring harness, 750-amp maintenance-free battery, aux in-tank trans oil cooler, power steering cooler, HD engine cooling, power 6" x 9" multi-function fold-away mirrors, pickup box utility rails, under-rail box bed liner
STL Bighorn/Lonestar
Trailer tow group
Class IV trailer hitch receiver, seven-pin wiring harness, 750-amp maintenance-free battery, aux in-tank trans oil cooler, power steering cooler, HD engine cooling, power 6" x 9" multi-function fold-away mirrors
STL Laramie
Are you overpaying for your car insurance?
Compare quotes and find out in 45 seconds.
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees
icon4.717k Ratings
5M+Drivers Joined
7M+Cars Garaged

How to customize your Dakota to save money

Since your factory customization options are limited by what’s available on the used car market, you won’t have to worry too much about causing your insurance to hike because of the loaded features. Used cars normally have lower insurance premiums as well!
If you want to save money on gas and don’t need the extra power, stick with the standard V6 engine.
Make safe driving pay
Get rewarded for safe driving. Earn points and unlock benefits. Totally free.
Start earning now

The best Dodge Dakota mods

The best way to customize your used Dakota to fit your needs is to do some aftermarket modifications. Here are some suggestions to help give your truck some oomph.


The base Dakota comes with 17-inch argent-painted steel wheels, which can look underwhelming. You can upgrade the look and feel of your truck by simply getting bigger wheels! 20-inch wheels with 34-inch tires will give your Dakota a classier look with better towing control. 
If you want a more aggressive look, you can get up to a 24-inch wheel.


Trucks normally have their rears set higher to account for any sagging from hauling heavy loads. However, if you aren’t planning to carry large loads often, a leveling kit can help you bring the front back up. If you want to increase the height and wheel clearance while improving off-roading performance, you can get a lift kit instead.


Hitch sizes aren’t one-size-fits-all, so the factory hitch that comes with the Dakota may limit your range—even if it comes with a reducer. You can upgrade your hitch with adjustable height and interchangeable receivers to accommodate for different hitch sizes and heights you may encounter.
rating reverse-full
"I’m earning
awesome rewards
every week, just for driving safe!”

How to find affordable insurance for your Dodge Dakota

If you’re lucky enough to find a used Dakota that fits your needs, you’ll have to get new insurance! 
Rather leave the hard work of gathering quotes to someone else? Use
. Our
trusted super app
can collect quotes from dozens of top insurance companies, like Travelers, Nationwide, and Progressive, in seconds! They can even help cancel your old policy once you’ve made your pick.
To ensure you always have the lowest rate, Jerry will send you new quotes every time your policy comes up for renewal, so you’re always getting the coverage you want at the best price. On average, Jerry users see a total annual savings of over $800 on car insurance.
“I love how easy it was for me, as someone who has an older beat-up truck, to get insurance without going through a lot of trouble. I would recommend anyone try
, since it’s free!” —Melissa I.
Jerry automatically checks if you are paying the lowest price for your insurance, for free.
Instantly compare top insurance companies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms
What insurance do you want to compare?
Are you overpaying for car insurance?
Compare quotes and find out in 45 seconds.
Try Jerry

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings