I've borrowed this truck from my uncle, sometimes driving it for a long distance. It has the 3.7 V6. I like how it looks and handles. It preforms good enough for me. Pretty good seat support and I kind of like how it drives. Fuel economy could easily be better. Overall, I think this is overall a good truck for a person who wants a mid sized pickup for daily driving and as a light/medium work truck. But yet again, it does have its flaws, like any other car. To sum up, I am pleased with the Dakota
I needed a truck that met the weight requirement of over 6000 lbs and over a 6 ft box to qualify for IRS Section 179 100% tax depreciation in the first year. I did not want a big full sized truck to do it, so I searched the market and found 2. The Honda Ridgeline and the Dakota. The Ridgeline was underpowered. The Dakota is perfect. GVWR of 6010 lbs and a 6.6 ft box meet Section 179 requirements. I test drove other 4x4's and only the Dakota rides perfect on rough roads - not to loose and not jarring stiff. The cabin is nice and quiet at interstate speeds. The 4.7 L High Output V8 pulls hard on hills, blasts around when passing traffic, tows 7500lbs and gets 20 highway mpg.
I have been behind the wheel of Dodge Trucks, from the D50 all the way to the present truck I own, a 2007 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab SLT. I feel I have grown with the truck line. As my family has grown, so has the truck. I could not be more pleased with the evolution of this truck. The handling is superb with the heavy duty suspension. I had to get used to the electronic accelerator, but a small price to pay for technology. The interior room is awesome. Plenty of leg room and comfortable seats with real padding. I do miss the cloth interior my '01 Dakota had. The 3.7L engine is fine for my driving habit, but still has great acceleration for traffic and gets 22mpg highway. I love it.
What should shoppers know about Dodge Dakotas before buying one? Be prepared to have to work out the bugs to turn the truck from a dumper to a keeper. The Dakota is great on paper and during walk-around eyeballing. However, build and material quality is not up to Toyota level. Be sure to have a service warranty contract (and you have to shop and vet extensively to find a good one) before you commit to buying the truck. Be advised that Dakotas (and perhaps Rams also) in certain years had two factory defects the symptoms of which mimic each other: 1) PCM misprogramming of engine & automatic transmission operation and 2) bent driveshaft, causing one of the U -joints to bind. Repair folks (not dealer) said the driveshaft issue was not from damage by the previous owner but was a factory defect. The common symptom between the two defects is drivetrain shudder (feels & sounds like driving on a rumble strip) during a road speed range of about 30 to 50 or so mph. It was over $700 to solve these problems. Thank goodness I didn't need a new PCM, only reprogramming as per a TSB (there are several TSBs on these). The 3.7 liter V6 water pump won't make it to 80K miles; we also have a Toyota Highlander with over 90K miles with the original water pump doing fine. The quality of interior plastic is very poor and MoPar discontinues selling plastic interior parts @ about nine years (parts distribution unavailability earns poor dealership support). We once had a 16-year-old Toyota Camry and any part I needed, including interior, was available from the Toyota dealer & aftermarket. The Dakota console cracks at a couple of stress points. I addressed this successfully with Q Bond. At least the Dodge dealer fixed the recalled airbags with no problems. Now that the defects and repairs are finished I have a decent truck. Just don't pay a Toyota price for a Dodge; I was able to buy this clean 71K-mile '07 Dakota for way under book and it was for a reason. Now with the nagging issues behind me I can enjoy the truck's virtues, such as good handling (for a pickup), the right-size club cab, and the optional heated seat in cold weather.
I leased this on a 27 month lease because the price was so good, and it is the best looking 1/4 ton by NA manufacturers. I basically choose this based on looks. Big mistake. I've had both front wheel bearing replaced, distributer cap, computer, brakes, emissions pump, etc. The engine would just all of a sudden have no power despite revving high. These problems could be over looked if I was able to get the posted mileage of 20 city and 29 highway. I get 16 highway and about 14 city. I should be able to sue Dodge for the difference in gas mileage because that is ridiculous. About half the posed mileage! I'm buying a Toyota as soon as a get rid of this junk bucket.