Dodge

Dodge Trucks and Cars For 1999

By Carey Russ

The dramatically-styled Ram full-size pickup signaled the future for Dodge trucks when it was introduced a few years ago. The compact Dakota and Dakota-based Durango SUV followed. All have expanded model ranges and interior enhancements for 1999, as do the full-size Ram Van and Ram Wagon.

Durango

The "right-size" Durango sport-utility has been a major success for Dodge following its introduction last year. It has an increased choice of engines and an available two-wheel-drive configuration for 1999. Numerous interior enhancements increase comfort and convenience.

A 3.9-liter, 175-hp V6 joins the previously-available 5.2 and 5.9-liter V8s to appeal to people who don't need as much power. The new two-wheel-drive versions are designed for people who don't plan on off-road exploration or live in areas with mild winters.

Ram

The truck that brought style to pickups offers plenty of substance as well. Last year's highlight, the four-door "Quad Cab" version of the extended cab, continues to be available throughout the lineup. Interior enhancements to all version add convenience.

Truck buyers who want diesel torque and economy to go with the Ram's big-rig looks have been treated to a next-generation 24-valve version of the 5.9-liter Cummins turbo-diesel engine. It offers increased horsepower and torque, improved fuel economy, and lower maintenance requirements. The sports aspect of the truck market hasn't been forgotten. The 1999 Ram Sport has even bolder front styling and available "Solar Yellow" paint.

Regular, "Club Cab" extended cab, and Quad Cab body styles, two box lengths, two- or four-wheel-drive, and a wide choice of engines make the Ram very versatile.

Dakota

Even without its bold, Ram -inspired styling, performance distinguishes the Dakota from its competitors in the compact truck field. It's the only compact pickup with an available V8 engine. In fact, for 1999, there are two different V8s, a 5.2-liter, 230-hp engine and the 5.9-liter, 250-hp powerplant of the R/T sport truck. The most popular engine is a 175-hp, 3.9-liter V6, and a 120-hp 2.5-liter four is offered for the budget-conscious. Even it offers more performance than is found in other four-cylinder compact pickups.

"Performance" in a truck means more than just speed and acceleration. The Dakota's maximum towing capacity of 6,700 lbs., and maximum payload of 2,000 lbs. rival some full-size pickups.

Two- and four-wheel-drive drive trains, different box lengths, and regular or extended-cab configurations as well as a wide engine choice give the Dakota wide appeal.

Ram Van and Wagon

Dodge's full-size vans had their first significant model change in two decades last year. The freight Van and passenger-carrying Wagon fill the needs of a diverse group of customers. The 5.9-liter V8 that is one of the many engine options now meets "Low Emission Vehicle" (LEV) requirements. A compressed natural gas (CNG) version of the 5.2-liter V8 is now offered for fleet customers who are truly committed to clean air.

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