I've owned this truck since October now, bought it as a replacement for a car that was in constant need of repair. Never really been a truck guy, but got a job working Construction so I needed something to haul tools and concrete forms and whatever else around in. The truck has been nothing but a pleasure to own, having done nothing to it since purchasing besides changing the oil once and putting newer, more aggressive tires on it to combat these brutal Chicago winters. I purchased the truck, a 2002 SXT since cab, with roughly 110k miles, for about $1000. It's a base model, no traction control, no ABS, crank windows, etc. Interior has held up very very well though, no creaks or squeaks or cracks to be seen/heard, and with nothing but a $400 set of "dura-turn" cheap Chinese off road tires, it's a beast in the winter. It's actually become my snow removal vehicle too, hauling 8 bags of tube sand for traction, and another 800lbs of rock salt in the back. I've been stuck once or twice (both times, in my own driveway), but have never even had to get out if the vehicle to get it unstuck. It's a $1000 truck and I definitely treat it like one, but with that being said, at the same time I'd trust it 100% to drive cross country too. It's just an absolutely fantastic truck. Before I bought this, I was looking at Rangers, but nothing of any value in the same price range, except ancient 4 bangers, and S10s have never had any appeal to me. The thing that makes dakotas so great is that they're a little bigger than an S10/Ranger, but not quite as big as a half ton. Looking back at my purchase, I really don't even need 4x4, which i was initially concerned about. If I were to do it all over again, only thing I'd change would be to buy one with 4 wheel ABS. The only two noteable downfalls of these Dakotas is 1, poor fuel economy. I get about 16 combined with nothing in the back in he warm weather on summer gas, and I’m getting about 10mpg in the winter, with lots of idle time and stop n go doing snow removal though. This doesn’t really bother me as my company pays for my gas anyway, but something to consider. #2 gripe, and probably the bigger one, would be rust. Amazing how solid this thing is underneath, frame is still black and looks like brand new, but the body, particularly the bed, is going to sh*t very quickly. However, I keep in mind what I paid for it and already looking at newer Dakotas in the spring. First truck out of 15 vehicles I’ve owned and I’m sold!
I bought my truck brand new back in 2002. I looked at other trucks including the F150, but it would not fit in the garage. The Dakota is smaller but has the V-8 (4.7) that can handle most anything. Its a great truck and I have had very little problems.
Best and most reliable truck ever owned. When I first got it, needed a computer and some maintenance after that it runs like a champ and it does what I ask it to do and never lets me down. The 3.9 v6 magnum starts right up in sub zero temps in the middle of brutal Maine winters and runs strong. The truck gets up and goes with the 3.92 rear , while its missing top end power. The 4wd in the truck is awesome with good clearance and it out classes any fords, chevys, and toyotas offroad. Take this truck to rugged Maine north country offroad through mud holes , rivers and mountains every summer to go camping and its never giving me a problem. Very good looking truck and fun to drive.
The looks of the truck with the dark blue and gray bumpers and grill give it a rugged appearance. Like everything else about the truck
Best truck I have owned yet. Went looking for a new one this summer and was not happy. They have nothing like this out there. Ford and Chevy gave up making Rangers and S-10's. Toyota has a smaller interior. This truck has been excellent in upper Michigan. In snow and off road it handles like a champ. Never had any major issues yet and has been a joy to drive. I plan on keeping it for another 80K. Why spend money on the new junk! The 4.7l V8 really goes and has tons of power that can tow a 24 ft trailer with no problem.
I purchased this truck new, and have done the maintenance. (4.7 V8, automatic) It's the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned. 148,000 miles and counting. Cost per mile for maintenance and repairs is only $0.025. 19.6 MPG since the day I bought it(I have a soft tonneau on it). It still looks good and has no squeaks or rattles. I'm very happy with this truck.
Looks, reliability, sound system (stock AM/FM/CD).