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!
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
I've had my truck since it had 27 miles on it and it currently sits at a hair below 130k. Besides the water pump going bad and it still running fine for 3 years until it finally exploded, I've had not a lick of problems. Other then the standard oil changes around 5k miles and only 2 tuneups, I haven't touched a single thing otherwise. This truck has been through hell and back and still starts at the turn of a key. 2500 lbs of block in the bed couldn't hurt this truck. Beaten and abused is the best way to put it and its still my daily driver. IF it ever dies, i will indeed be looking for my next dakota. Excellent truck. By far the best vehicle I've owned.
The whole thing. Truck runs great, seats are comfortable and the stock sound system is part of the things that dreams are made of
gas mileage, unfortunately. It's a Dodge, it loves gas. Pros def outweigh the 1 con that could also happen to be my foot
This is an update. Bought for 9k with 27k on it, Dec."07". 51k motor goes PING, bearings and crank need replaced. Despite meticulous attention and mobi1 1. One k over 50k warranty and dealer laughs at me. I replace crank and bearings myself, lasts another 8k and motor goes again. Replace with 30k junkyard motor and two weeks later tranny goes! In 30k miles, I've also replaced, AC Compressor, full exhaust, front hubs, power steering hoses, starter (twice!), brakes, rotors and needed to replace with over sized brake pins as the originals were worn and too loose! 4 Oxygen sensors... Oh,lets not forget the fan control module under glove box which caught fire. AHHHH
Is it the serpentine belts that it seems to eat at 57 bucks a pop...or the crappy 3.9 motors I've gotten so good at changing...No I guess its the tailgate cables that are made of some special metal that rusts out more quickly then scientifically possible. Its a truly remarkable piece of garbage!
Scrap the 3.9 motor and 46 RE transmission and pledge never to sell to unsuspecting public ever again. This truck was designed to keep transmission shops and engine re-builders in business! The tranny shops say it is their bread and butter!