The V6 offers adequate power, but the V8 is the engine you want if you have frequent towing or hauling in mind -- or even if you simply want to best the powerful V6s from Nissan and Toyota. The Dakota maintains its composure on harsher terrain thanks to its well-calibrated suspension and a stiff hydroformed frame. On-road handling is decent for a truck, but the steering is pretty inert, offering little feedback and a numb on-center feel. Also, if a lot of highway travel is on the horizon, we'd think twice about the 2009 Dodge Dakota. Harsh rides are par for the pickup-truck course, but even on relatively glass-smooth highways, every pavement imperfection greets your backside with a solid bump, then a good jiggle. It gets old quickly.
Interior Design and Special Features
Cabin design is a strong point for the 2009 Toyota Corolla. The driving position better accommodates drivers of different sizes than in past years, and the control layout is as ergonomic as they come. Storage is more than ample up front, particularly with the addition of a double glovebox, though the provisions are a bit stingy in back. Materials quality is high, and fit and finish is consistent with Toyota's historically high standards. In back, the Corolla offers plenty of space for children and just enough room for adults. The trunk measures 12.3 cubic feet (average for this class) and has a wide opening.