The big picture is grainy for the â€™08 Dodge Dakota. And thatâ€™s just the wayGroup wants it.
The auto makerâ€™s refreshed compact pickup, scheduled for unveiling at the Chicago auto show, features an optional 4.7L V-8 tweaked to generate 290 hp and peak torque of 320 lb-ft. (434 Nm) â€“ increases of 25% and 10%, respectively.
Contributing to the power jump is the addition of more spark.
The new mill isâ€™s second engine to feature two spark plugs per cylinder. The 5.7L Hemi V-8 was the first.
However, with a nod to growing consumer awareness of fuel economy and Chryslerâ€™s renewed marketing focus on that sensitive issue, Dakotaâ€™s V-8 affords greater gasoline efficiency because it will run on E85 ethanol.
New valve-lash adjuster technology also refines the engineâ€™s operation at idle, while revisions to its induction system and piston-rod assembly further enhance its smoothness, Chrysler says.
The truck comes standard with Chryslerâ€™s 3.7L Magnum V-6 that generates 210 hp and peak torque of 235 lb.-ft. (319 Nm). But both engines also feature as standard a remote start function, a segment first.
The V-6 is mated to either a 6-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. The new V-8 has a 5-speed automatic.
Dakotaâ€™s redesigned exterior features a more angular theme, starting with headlamps that are reminiscent of the Dodge Nitro SUV, launched last year.
Also revised are the hood, grille, front fascia, rear spoiler and fenders.
â€śThe Dodge truck DNA is well-understood in the marketplace,â€ť says Ralph Gilles, Chrysler vice president-Jeep/Truck; color and trim studios; and specialty vehicles.
â€śWe are creators of trucks with a distinct flair for style and no compromise in function. We restyled the 2008 Dodge Dakota to reflect that DNA in a package that presents the Dakota as both a sporty lifestyle vehicle and a work truck.â€ť
Body styles for â€™08 are extended and crew cab. There also are six trim levels: ST, SXT, SLT, TRX4, Sport and Laramie.
Meanwhile, the interior features a new instrument panel, center console and accent finishes.
â€śThe interior is designed to provide an ergonomically friendly cockpit with improved comfort, utility and thoughtful storage amenities to complement a variety of lifestyles,â€ť Gilles says.