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.
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.
Bought new in '99, this truck has been great to me so far. It gets up to 26 mpg on the hiway and yet hauls anything I put in the back. I'm easy on vehicles and at 118K I'm still using the original brakes and am on the second set of tires. I went this year to buy another and discovered Dodge doesnt make the 4 cyl in the Dakota anymore. Such a shame! I just have to baby this one some more!
If you're in the market for a mid sized truck the Dodge Dakota is an excellent choice. I disagree the unhappy reviews. Most people don't write reviews if they are satisified. I've had my truck for over a year, and although I have replaced a few things, the truck's overall performance and features well make up for the repairs you may need to do. The truck's size is far less bulky than that of the full size p/u, and allows for easy parking in most situations. The truck's ride, power, and curb appeal are all excellent. Prevenitive maintence eliminates numerous problems listed in other reviews. The Dakota's interior build quality far exceeds that of many other manufacturers, I.E no rattles.