im 15 and this truck was my first car i bought it for 1500 on 11/12 with 156000 miles and counting. it has a pretty good sized rust hole in the passenger door and is kind of loud. the gas guage doesnt work and the paint is peeling on the roof but is no prob, this truck pulls like a fullsize truck and i average about 12 mpg in the city. it is faster than anything weve owned and is more roomy than our ranger or our old s10. i wouldnt get rid of it untill i die. if you are looking for a used truck for around 2500, this is what you should get! but dont get any of the second generation ones, there junk.
very fast! goes 0-60 in 11 seconds! strong automatic transmission! pulls more than a f150!
the mileage is lower than a full size truck. paint is peeling.
I bought my Dakota off a lease in 1996 with 24k and still drive it everyday (14 years, 130k). It is now pretty old but overall has held up fairly well. Many problems with drivetrain seals leaking and the ball joints only lasted to 80k. The biggest problem has been the paint, it started falling off in 2004 and now one side of the box is missing most of it's paint. Also lost paint along the roof line. Turns out this was a defect from Dodge in the primer, but they would not warranty it. The poor paint will likely be the reason I sell it in the near future, it still has a lot of miles left, but it is no longer anything to look at. No MAJOR problems, besides paint in 14 yrs of ownership.
Good power, nice soft ride (for a truck) thanks to the torsion front end. Tinted windows on the extended cab that open are nice, this is becoming less common on newer trucks. All the power accessories still work fine, except the A/C started leaking coolant in 2004. Never had any issues with the 4WD
Dodge really screwed up with the paint on some of these trucks. The drivetrain seals have also been horrible for longevity. I've replaced axle seals at least 6 times and the transmission seal at least 4 times. Tranny is beginning to show it's age, but he motor is solid.
This has been a reliable truck, with no major problems. Never had any engine or transmission work. It is a good balance between a car and a full-sized truck, especially if you don't need to pull a large trailer.
Easy entry/exit, good size bed for hauling most everything.