This is a perfect "Gentleman's" truck. It is super comfortable. Mine had pretty much every available option you could ask for. The A/C could almost make ice cubes on the hottest day and the heater would roast you on the coldest day. The nubbly textured cloth interior wears great and after 243,000 miles showed NO WEAR! I'd recommend this truck to anyone.
I bought this truck at Carmax in Plano, TX in 2005 with only 3500 miles on it. Fast forward to today in 2018 the truck now has 120K miles on it and still running strong. This truck has been my daily driver all this time and the truck has never let me down or stranded anywhere. It is an enjoyable fun truck to drive. My wife says it's a cute truck due to its compact size. Yes, it had its share of normal repairs like the radiator, water pump, ball joints, alternator, rotors, u-joints, fuel pump, and one clutch. But never I've had any major breakdowns, setbacks or major repair bills. Cons include: The 4 cylinder engine has poor horsepower,(120 hp), with very poor acceleration, especially with the AC running. Very lightweight in the tail section and can easily lose traction in inclement weather situations. Plastic materials used in the interior. Seat comfort is average and not recommended for long trips. 5-speed manual transmission is average and at times hard to shift in the winter months. Average safety features. Poor paint job which is now going through extreme fading and peeling, (I plan to get it repainted soon). Can only tow lightweight items,(under 5K lbs.safely). Pros include: Great styling both interior & exterior, user-friendly instrumentation, and layout, excellent viewing with minimal blind spots, very cold AC, above average ride for a base truck, very reliable truck, strong engine,(Jeep engine), decent headlight illumination, minimal road noise for a small truck, and great gas mileage! I've kept up with the maintenance on this truck and never abused it and that's why it's still going strong. It's all about how you treat a vehicle will determine it's longevity outcome. This particular generation of Dakotas is still quite popular for their styling and dependability. I plan to restore this truck and drive it another 120K miles.
Worst and BEST truck I have ever owned. Purchased in 2003, sold in 2008 as trade in for less of a Beast. 4 sets of tires, and numerous tickets had to let it go. After I made all the modes I wanted, not diving into the engine itself, I had a real runner. Would smoke any Honda trying to make a run at me on the H3, Honolulu, HI with so much torque. Just loved hearing them grabbing lower gears thinking they could catch me. Pegged speedometer once in WA state on a super long back road, and still had 2 grand to go (never did that again scared me so bad).
Replaced entire front/rear suspension with polyurethane bushing and KYB shocks, did so because the Dodge's were notorious for ball joint failure. That turned the truck into go-cart like handling, stiffening up the suspension all the way around.
Engine wise: Throttle body plate, cold air intake, stainless steel headers (kept single pipe out), high flow cat, high flow muffler, Mopar performance computer, 165 degree thermostat, 8mm spark plug wires, platinum spark plugs, and MSD 6a digital ignition.
I still think about that truck all the time and wish I never got rid of it........why? Oh, my reasoning above, but why?
Have been in a Dodge truck family my whole life (Rams, Durangos, and my own Dakota) and i couldn't be more pleased with a 16 year old truck. Drive a 2000 dakota "sport edition" 3.9 v6. Religious fluid changes, brakes, tire rotations, all done myself. Yes, rust is an issue, but thats the only big issue I've run into. No major engine or even transmission issues (which is unusual for an old dodge truck) have occurred yet, besides an oil pan gasket. Cold air intake and bigger, meatier tires than stock and my baby overcomes anything i throw its way. Looking to replace its status as my daily with a charger r/t, but even after that my Dakota will not be gotten rid of until every part has seized. If i could go back, i think i'd buy it again.
This review is specific to the 4.7l v-8 in the extended cab base truck. First off the engine is absolutely bulletproof. I bought it with 62k miles in 2005, now 10 years later i have 170k miles and it still runs/drives so smoothly. Aside from tires and oil changes, I've had to replace are driver side tie rod end, water pump, number 7 fuel injector, front wheel bearing ($33 on amazon, it just slides on) and the two trans sensors that measure output speed (i think, they are side by side). all told most of labor i did my self but i've spent about $750.00 in the life of the truck. The alignment goes out once a year, (its probably a bushing) and the a/c, it has been out for about 3 years, not sure the cause but its not simply freon. This truck has taken 5 grown men from birmingham to ohio and illinois 4 times while pulling a large trailer. Its taken the same group numerous times to new orleans, tampa and south carolina. All I can say is it is still extremely reliable and if you have the opportunity to get a dakota with the 4.7, please do yourself a favor and jump on the opportunity. My wife is always asking when i'm going to buy a new truck and trade mine in (the paint is looking rough lol). I explain that I plan on my son who is 18 months, to drive it for is first car. I have all the confidence in the world, that with good maintenance and decent driving the truck will easily last another 15 years.
Update** I still have the truck it’s pushing 190k still running strong. I picked up an 05 grand Cherokee with the same 4.7 as the Dakota. So I don’t drive my truck that often. The alignment is still annoying but no other issues. Great truck!!