I have an 03 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab (full 4 doors) with the 4.7 and 5 speed auto. Man what an awesome truck, for the money there is nothing close to it. Car will giddy up and go whenever called upon. Tows my boat with no issues and will beat anything else on the road. The only vehicle out there with a REAL v8 in a midsized truck, if it's got a 4 cylinder its not a truck! Toyota can't touch it and the ranger is too small, and in my opinion the sport trac is ugly, if you're looking for a good reliable truck get the Dakota. I average 17 mpg in mine with me stomping on it quite a bit, not bad.
This is my second Dakota and I love it just as much as my first one which was an 04. This on is the quad cab 4x4 slt with the 4.7 automatic. Runs great with 122k. It does everything I need it to do, whether it be hauling wood, going on a long trip, or pulling Jeeps out of the mud. Speaking of mud, it's difficult to get this truck stuck in the mud or snow. It was out in Nemo, the huge snow storm on LI in early 2013. I got through the terrible road/weather conditions with no problem whatsoever. It's a comfortable ride, and is very roomy on the inside which is great on those long trips. If you need a smaller truck that can do a full size truck's job, buy a Dakota.
This is my Second Dakota. It is a good all around truck. I have over 200,000 miles on mine. I noticed my gas mileage has gone down since i have had the ball joints replaced. I get 14 mpg in the city and about 19 mpg on the hwy. Outside of normal wear of parts this truck has served me well. For an AWD truck it handles good in snow, rain and mud. I have only had to put into 4 wheel drive when I get stuck in mud. The size of the truck works well for our family, we are all 5'8" or less and the truck seems roomy to us.
I love driving my Dodge Dakota! If I had to buy another truck it would be a Dodge 6 cylinder! My only complaints are thay could have a little more seat padding, bigger glove compartment, more under backseat storage and better gas mileage! Also being better able to see lighted up dash area and radio information when the headlights are turned on and more room underneath the light between the sun visors.