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.
I've owned the Dakota SLT extended cab for 2 years now and it has been a great truck for me. In that time, it has only broken down once, and that was the battery losing a cell. Now, at 93000 miles the upper ball joints are starting to go out, which I hear is common on these trucks. Mechanically the truck is very sound. I have the V6 2 wheel drive and do not find it very off road worthy. I am a little disappointed in the lack of power when compared to other trucks of similar size and age. For a V6 with so so horsepower, the gas mileage should be better. I'm pulling 18 on the highway. Overall I am very pleased with this truck.
The exterior body lines are strong and portray a very tough image, which is cool, but hardly seems met by the V6. The interior is very roomy and comfortable, probably more so than other trucks I've owned. It is definitely reliable and very structurally sound.
Seems more bark than bite - add a V8 or HEMI! Common problems with the ball joints going out, could be worse but still something that needs attention. Add more load bearing capability in the base models. Getting the V8 and/or 4x4 is not a bad idea if you can afford the gas prices.
I loved the truck from the day I drove off the lot. Now 117K miles later I still feel the same. The catalyic converter went at 80K(warranty). A/C went at 115K ($875) which I paid because I still want to keep the truck. My brother works for GM, and I have a GM Card, but I still prefer my Dodge. I take care of my truck and my truck takes care of me.
Ordered with features I wanted. Lots of commuting miles so I purchased the 6 clyinder. Interior room better than later models. Nothing extraordinarily expensive to fix. Able to be serviced by local mechanics. Based on record would buy a Dodge again.
Interior roominess. Clean uncluttered dash. Nominal expenses of operation.