I Loved Dakotas. I owned a 94 4WD 3.9L V6 Dakota. Really fun to drive. Great size. In 2004 I purchased a 2000 4.7L V8 4WD Dakota. I recently sold it with 170,000 miles. It still ran great. My favorite year for Dakotas. Last year I purchased a 2008 4WD Dakota with the 4.7L. I traded it in 4 months later for a new RAM. They upgraded the 4.7L to 302 hp yet it is slower than my 00 Dakota. The 08 is to heavy. Defeats the purpose of mid size or small size truck. The ground clearance is too low. The 4WD is stiff; in addition the turning radius in 4WD is as bad as I have ever experienced in a truck. The truck is almost unbearable to drive off road. The suspension is too weak to carry the weight
The truck looks nice. The exterior is slick. I also appreciated the interior of the truck. A lot of room in the Crew Cab. Overall the looks of the truck inside and out were good. The 4.7L is a amazing motor. It is my second one. They will run for a long time and produce alot of power for that size engine. However it is not enough for a truck as heavy as the 2008 Crew Cab Dakota.
Since the Dakota has been discontinued suggestions, and improvements are pointless. However I loved the concept of a V8 in smaller trucks. I do not enjoy the weight of the 08 Dakota however. Made it sluggish. The 4WD needs improvement. My suggestion for buyers that have already purchased a 08 or newer Dakota is trade it in for a new Ram. It is twice the truck with better gas mileage and equal price. If Dodge decides to make another small or mid size truck I would suggest taking lessons from the 2000-2004 Models. They were the perfect truck.