I have never driven a 5 speed standard 318 before this truck. I have to say its got some jam. And the throttle response is great. The body has great flowing lines that are arrow dynamic, unlike the new Dakotas that seem square. If i ever decide to buy another truck, it is gonna be a Dakota.
Comes nicely equipped with all the options i need. 5 spd stick, 5.2 ltr. Trl towing package with trans temp. Well what can i say its fully loaded.
Not sure what the dealer was thinking for a clutch, but I've found the pedal if not moved in a smooth motion, the truck likes to jerk back and forth, till u try again. Hydraulics? Better fuel economy would be nice as its only a mid sized truck.
We have 175,000 miles on it, have driven it fairly hard, pulled trailers with it, towed a large trailer with a bulldozer on it, etc, and we have no complaints. We got our money's worth! 318 5.2L V8 should never have been discontinued. We have just (3 weeks ago) put a rear end in it, and that might have been damaged in an accident a few years ago. No engine/tranny trouble (no rebuilds or repairs on either). The only things that have gone wrong are the ball joint (and I hear those go bad regularly, but Dodge has made parts available so you don't have to buy a whole new assembly) and the AC evaporator. We tell people we're planning to give this to our first-born, who hasn't even been born yet!
318 V8, solid build (was hit in the rear end at a stop light so hard that my seat broke and wouldn't stay up, yet the damage to the rear was less than $2000!), optional wide mirrors for towing, fuel economy not bad (15-16 mpg), all electronics and controls still work perfectly, except light switch.
Ball joint redesign (little too late now), better headlight switch (same design since the 70's), better design for the electric window and lock panel/housing, separate the vent/recirculate function on its own knob. Sorry, these are petty, I know, but they asked.
Now that I have the Dakota I am very happy that I bought it. My friends always talk about their fast little cars, and to be in my 5.2 and beating all these sporty little cars makes me laugh so hard. They are relatively easy to work on and I love punching it when I am going slower than 40 mph because getting it to chirp is sweet. The Dakota to me is a fine truck I would buy them for a long time but only from 1997-1999 because of the 5.2 and body style because the new body style to me isn't that good looking.
Acceleration, power, exterior/interior looks, and the ability to roast them without a problem
Fuel economy, and if you're going to put infinty speakers in it make them somewhat good speakers. Another thing put a limited slip in there stock!
I bought this truck in 1998 with 14,000 miles on it. It now has 234,888 with the same engine and transmission. I took care of the truck by having the oil and transmissions fuel changed. This was the life of the truck. It has never left me on the road nor given me any problems.