I bought this new and have hauled tools, lumber, firewood, dirt,etc and it has a surprising amount of power. I change the oil regularly and keep it clean. I find that keeping it clean prompts me to take care of it mechanically. I am on my third replacement starter, changed shocks last year along with radiator hoses, had it re-painted four years ago and just yesterday had first time brake replacement, which I attribute to gearing down to stop instead of relying just on the brakes. I have lost track of batteries and tires purchased. I only drive it for special occasions anymore. I have an 07 F150 and the Dakota's quality surpasses the Ford's. My brother wants to buy the Dakota but I'm reluctant to sell. I have had this truck longer than all three wives put together. I know there are some lemons out there but I've heard more good reports than bad.
This truck is a top quality truck. It's not quite a compact truck and not quite a full size truck, therefore it's a mid-size. It can haul more than my friends 1998 Ford F-150 and it's more reliable. The only bad thing about it is it's transmission. It's transmission went around 74,000 miles and now i have 80,000 miles on it. I would recommend this truck because it's fun and reliable.
My dad bought the 90 dakota back in 1998. Just recently in 09 did the truck become undrivable due to a electrical fire under the hood. Up until then the entire family used this truck. It always was ready to go. The paint did fade and peel requiring a new paint job. Other than that the truck was very durable. It oulasted alot of other vehicles the family has had over the years. I would recommend this truck to anyone.