I had a solar yellow r/t and it was a great truck. That thing had tons of power and was pretty fast. I never had any issues with it. I drove great, was comfortable, parts were cheap, looked great, an all around good truck. It had 142,000 miles on it when I sold it. I sold it due to the gas mileage and gas prices but I miss that truck everyday and plan on getting another soon.
At 117+K miles, it's still completely trustworthy (17 city, 20+ highway with a 3.9L V6). I've done the usual scheduled maintenance and replaced a few things along the way (water pump, power steering hose, idle motor, battery, filters, serp belt, shocks, etc.), but nothing extreme. The biggest one was to replace a couple of creaking factory front suspension links with zerk-equipped aftermarket units. The 'shift profile' of the auto tranny IMO upshifts too quickly for the V6, impacting acceleration if you're not familiar with its behavior. It's fine in the flatland, but in hills (particularly on cruise), it downshifts a lot, sometimes drastically. All in all though, I still like it a lot.
I'm almost 6'2" and really have enjoyed the legroom in the Dakota. With my driver's seat pushed all the way back, I can lock my knees and my foot (under the brake pedal) is still off the floor. The overall size of the Dakota is great for me - Plenty of room without the usual pickup 'hugeness'.
Make the back "seat" (i.e., slab of upholstered foam on the floorboard) more substantial.
This is my second Dodge Dakota and I love them! The one I have now. I'm the second owner and the truck has 247k miles on it and still all stock and running like a champ! 4x4 works awesome even when I had bad tires it got me out of the snow in my area. I have got friends hooked on this truck and now they want one! Gas mileage isnt too hateful. I'm a broke college student and it does good for me around town and trips back home. Always will buy dodges. They are the only thing that seem to last when taken care of!
Only owning this truck for a year, I can't really say how reliable it's been before me, but it feels like it's been well maintained, has 100K miles now. It is a great vehicle to drive, it feels like a bigger vehicle than it really is and very comfortable and plenty of power. I have had to put all new ball joints on it but that is one of the common problems with Dakotas, the gas mileage is pretty poor, about 15 mpg but it has a 5.2 L V8, you want great gas mileage buy something else, though I understand the newer V6 gets close to 20 mpg. It would probably be smarter get the V6 as the V8 is more power than most people need. Anyway I love this truck and would buy a new one if could afford to.
I owned a 97 Dakota 2WD V8 prior to buying this one. I loved it. It got reasonable gas mileage (around 20mpg) and would leap off the line. My only problem was with all that torque (and crappy Goodyear Wranglers), the truck would spin out on slick pavement. My solution was to get a 99 Dakota Sport with the same 5.2 liter engine and 4WD. Whooboy! First of all the extra weight of the transmission drastically cut down on performance. Secondly gas mileage dropped significantly (of course) but what was most disturbing was the repair costs. Engine, suspension, electrical...you name it. All within the first 20,000 miles.
Good (not great) pickup. Short turning radius. Best handling truck I've ever driven.
The mopar battery was a constant source of problems. Recommend replacing it immediately.