I bought this truck 10 years ago, with 91,000 miles on it for my first vehicle. Since then, I have overheated it, run it out of oil, totaled another car with it, (stupid teenager stuff, you know?) driven it an additional 85,000 miles, ended up with it sitting for 4 years, and it still starts up the first time, every time. Incredible engine, I have never had any trouble with the engine itself. I have had to replace the rack and pinion, and right side A-arm, but that's probably due to the wreck. It just keeps on going! That 318 is a beast of an engine!
Engine, engine, engine. Plenty of power to haul with (moved into and out of my first 3 apartments with only this truck, and everything I had loaded in it, ran through WV hills, no trouble). Can fry 30" BFG offroad tires on demand. Very nice sound, with flowmaster system on it. It just...goes!
Like others have said, the paint does peel on this truck. Primer is good, so I just had it repainted again, worth it for a truck that's this reliable otherwise! Body is still good, very very little rust.
The 1992 Dakota is a very good overall truck. Power is decent for the era with the V6. Running the AC while driving in hot weather tends to cause it to need to downshift often to accelerate at certain speeds. I recommend the V8 for the club cab, especially with the 4x4 option. The exterior and interior design still looks good to this day. With a new paint job, removed plastic moldings, and wheels, many non-car-savvy people mistake mine for a new truck model.
V8 option in a smaller, lighter, and easier to manuever truck. More interior and truck bed room than the S-10/Ranger/etc.
Gas mileage is unimpressive. 16 mpg average in mixed driving with a maintained V6 and bedcover. Problems I've encountered: Timing chain develops slack causing it to eat up the gears. Distributor gear developed slack resulting in a hard to diagnose starting problem.