I've had my '96 sport 2.5 4 cyl. for 4 years now, bought it when it had 103,000 miles on it, one previous owner, and let me you, this truck is seriously well built. Dodge apparantly used an engine that was unique to all the other Dakotas of the period, (at least for the 4 cyl model), a motor designed for Jeep, it was originally designed by a collaboration of engine makers, (Renault, Chrysler, and maybe a third party?) Anyway, anyone I have ever talked to says the same...this truck is really built to last. One person I spoke with said he sold his when it had 300,000 on it and it still ran strong. I absolutely love mine.
Peppy 2.5 liter magnum is quick. It's dependability. I am a flooring installer who typically carries alot of weight to my jobs and have been doing so with my truck since I bought it and this truck has no problems whatsoever with really bulking it down. I suggest LT's or RT's for the tires though.