I bought my '98 Dakota 4x4 about a year and a half ago and it has been a great truck. The 5.2L 318 has plenty of power, and the limited slip rear end makes for great burnouts. The 4 wheel drive is unbelivable. I've had it burried in mud to the point where the ground was even with the bottom of my window and I put it in reverse and it crawled right out to my suprise, and to the dissapointment of the angry hunters chasing after me. The only things that have been replaced in 63,000 miles are the water pump, ball joints, exhaust ( wasn't loud enough) and tires. The water pump and ball joints were a lot cheaper and easier to install than I thought they would be. The tires not so much.
Instead of spending time making fancy gadgets that tell me that I'm getting 13.3 MPG, Dodge should have figured out how to make it get better gas mileage. Better stereo, Infinity stinks. It should have stock 31" tires. 2nd gear is kind of slow. The V-8's need 4- wheel disk brakes.