I have owned my Dakota for one year now and I've put 25k miles on it. Belt tensioner went out at 18k miles and left me stranded with an overheated truck. Fuel economy is pathetic. I've never gotten more than 16 mpg's on the highway and I get about 12 in the city at best. This is a great work truck, but I would not recommend it as a daily commuter vehicle.
I have owned nothing but Dodge Dakotas and driven nothing but Dodge Dakotas. Before my new Dodge Dakota 2005 was purchased, my first truck I bought in 1996 and it really made me feel good about driving. And I continued that same feeling buying the 2005 model and am loving even more! So if you are looking for a truck out there that is relatively inexpensive, has a great look to it, and comes with a variety of options, then the Dodge Dakota is exactly what you are looking for! :-)
I have 130K miles on my 4x4, V6, 6 speed, 2006 Dakota. So far, (knock on wood), no problems. On road it drives like a car. Off-road, it does it's job well. It handles central Oregon snow great. It also crawls up central Oregon buttes with ease despite it's lower ground clearance. Not sure where the 20 MPG comes into play, but mine gets more like 15-17MPG, city/hwy respectively. My V6 feels under powered while accelerating to hwy speeds. I could rev it up to or past 3K rpms, but that cost money in fuel.
Annoying rattle from the front suspension on country roads. Upper mounting hardware for the struts fail. Costly repair no matter how it's done. Chrysler garage wants to replace the entire strut assembly on both sides along with both lower control arms. Estimated cost of repair is $2400.00