I bought my truck with 40k miles on it in 2002 and it is still running like a champ.
I replaced the transmission after 150k miles, but that is the only major issue I've had with it.
I'm now at 235k miles on my truck and am having a hard time finding a new vehicle because I don't think I will ever get this type of value again.
Mileage is between 15.5 and 18 mph, depending on how I drive.
I have the 5.2L V8 (318) and couldn't be happier.
Change the oil, tires, and other basic maintenance and you'll have no issues.
Also, I've found through test-driving countless newer vehicles (cars and trucks), that most do not have as smooth of a ride as my truck does.
Reliability, power, value, does well in the snow for being RWD
My truck is 15 years old and has had one major issue ($1500 transmission change).
There's not much to complain about there.
I rarely buy vehicles and only once bought new which was this one. Ball joints and brakes were bad news for this model. Several manufacturer recalls: steering, two exhaust related ones. Brakes warped (Underengineered). Oil pressure has been issue this past year. Had oil pump replaced and only slightly improved pressure. Overall, performance was great compared to other small trucks, especially power/acceleration from 4-cyl, but the quality of parts and durability was quite poor. Several interior items failed, some more than once. Emergency brake handle, glove box handle mechanism, and cup holder assembly all failed. Overall, it took a beating from me, but I feel I didn't get full value.
Baddest 4-cylinder performance in a pickup!
Better beefier brakes, more reliablity on components.
What can I say, it is my second Dakota and I have to admit I just don't think there is another small truck out there for me. How can you beat something that drives better than anything else as far as trucks go, performs beautifully, and has enough power and torque to pull a house off of its foundations? I guess there just is nothing better than driving the best looking, best overall, small truck ever. The best thing is, you can still use it like a truck, even though its a sporty ride at that. Unlike the Ford Lightning, which can haul/tow an astonishing 1500 pounds! Wow, that is weak. Dodge reached as close to perfection as you can get with this truck.
Lots of power and it is the best handling truck you can buy for way under $40-$50k! If you like a hearty truck sound, install a flowmaster dual exhaust system and watch the sports car guys frown with envy at the sound.
Maybe another 20 hp or so and a slightly higher gear ratio for better cruising mileage. But then again, I'm picky.
I feel fortunate that this has been a pretty reliable (American) hauler. Fuel pump (in tank) failed under warranty and the differential gears were unnecessarily replaced in an attempt to fix a "clunk" noise when braking hard and turning into a drive (apron). Other than that, routine maintenance. I'm 6'2" tall and the seats fit great. Pulls a car hauler and sometimes heavy loads of gravel, dirt, etc. No problem. The 5.9L engine is a old school, but very dependable one. Lots of grunt. I love my "Art-eee" truck.
Engine performance & sound. Interior comfort (seats). Corners like it's on rails. Dependable. Great styling. Min. Slip differential.
Front brakes could last longer. A-pillar blocks vision on left hand "sweepers." Yup, you guessed it.. it has "an appetite" for gas... Could maybe use a "taller" overdrive.
Bucket seat cushions seem to be too
long for my 5'6" frame and the backs are
to flat and non supporting. Visability
is horrible with the huge A pillars.
Ours also has the fuel pick up problem
that has left us stranded twice! It ate
left front brakes and rotors untill I
upgraded the front pads. Resale value is
poor,along with the gas mileage. 13/17,
worse than a full size suv! Engine
rattles on anything less than premium
fuel, sometimes on that too!Rear seats
too small, even for children. No locking
glove box. Noisy fan motor. No overhead
console on this year. Rear bumper design
to weak for towing any weight. This
COULD be a good truck.