After owning many cars my wife and I decided to invest in a smaller PU to meet our needs as we found that a car was not adequate to carry bulky items. We test drove trucks including Toyota, Ford, Chevy and finally Dodge. The Dodge was the one that we chose for several reasons.
First of all the 318 V-8 fuel injected engine had plenty of power and pick up. When you step on the gas the acceleration is right there. It has all the power you need in a midsize truck.
The seats are very comfortable. I had problems in past cars with my legs falling to sleep on short trips (I'm 6' 4"). However I was able to drive this truck on vacation to Yellowstone National Park almost non-stop and felt like I just got in the truck. I had no problems with my legs going to sleep even after driving all day long throughout the park.
Another plus is the width of this particular vehicle. It has a nice wide body and roomy cab. The width of the truck seems to make it handle quite a bit better than a lot of the other midsize trucks I test drove.
It has anti-lock brakes and they work very well. My wife and I were out one day and some deer ran out in front of us. The truck slowed down to a stop on a dime without locking up. I was very impressed with the way it stopped.
The bed is very adequate for most every load I have needed to haul. I easily hauled a new washer and dryer home with it and had no problems whatsoever. I've hauled lumber, wire fencing, hay, straw, grain and many more things. This truck is a real work horse. Given, it does not haul as much as a big truck, but hauls everything I need.
Another plus is that the insurance costs less than a bigger truck. It cost less to insure this Brand New Truck than the older sports car did. This was a pleasant surprise as we expected our insurance to go WAY up.
We bought the truck brand new with 6 miles on it. We now have 49,000 miles on it. In the three years we have owned it we have only had to make one repair on it. While on vacation we were 4 wheeling on a back road to do wildlife photography when it started overheating. Come to find out it was a very minor thing causing the problem. The thermostat housing had vibrated loose (Probably a manufacturing flaw.) which caused it to lose water. We took it to the dealership and had it fixed within 4 hours. We have not had a problem since.
I also like is the dashboard. It has very nice controls throughout. It has all gauges rather than Idiot Lights. The speedometer is easy to read. It has Dial heater controls instead of the Slide heater controls that tend to wear out faster and break.
The air conditioning is great even in hot weather (In the 90's). However on a VERY hot day (98+) it does not seem to quite keep up with the heat. My uncles Chevy S10 handles the extreme heat much more efficiently.
Ours came with factory installed Goodyear Wrangler tires which we love. Like I said earlier we have 49,000 miles on the truck and still have a long ways to go on the tires. I'd estimate at least another 10,000 miles. Considering most vehicles are known to come with cheap tires we consider this to be one a major plus as well.
On the downside the 4 Wheel Drive lever on the floor is a little hard to use. You have to be rolling at almost exactly 10 mph to shift into Low 4 Wheel. If you are going too fast you will grind the heck out of it. It takes some getting used to, but once you get it down, it is not a problem. It is, however, more of a hassle than some of the other makes of trucks out there. Dodge has improved this on the newer models.
I would also like to note that shifting into High 4 Wheel is no problem whatsoever. It just pops right in. There is nothing to it. Push straight up on the shifter and it's in. It's nice if you get into a tight spot and need to shift quickly into 4 Wheel. You can also cruise at highway speeds in 4 Wheel without hurting your vehicle.
It has a nice aerodynamic body and cab. It is very windy here in Montana where we live and this truck cuts right through the wind with ease.
It has a full back seat unlike a lot of midsize trucks that only have the little benches along the sides. The back seat lifts up and there is a storage area underneath it. Perfect for a first aid kit or roadside emergency tools. You can also get a custom speaker system that will fit in the area where the storage is. The back seat area would not be good for a tall or large person but fits children or a small person without any problems.
The windows are tinted all the way around with the rear side windows even darker. The power windows have been trouble free throughout the whole time we have owned the truck. This is way beyond the norm for us due to the fact that all the other vehicles we have owned had power window problems within the first year that continued the entire time we owned the vehicle.
The gas mileage is not so good in town. Only gets 14-16 mpg. But on the highway this particular truck does pretty well at about 20-21 mpg after the break-in period.
It still runs as good as it did the day we got it. Good oil pressure and compression. Still has good get up and go. It has a good passing gear. I have had no problems passing cars on the highway even when passing on a hill. It will climb a hill at a steady speed without much trouble at all.
The suspension is nice. It handles just like a car on the highway. I call it my Cadillac Truck. Hehehe.
There are just not many negatives on this truck that I have found. We are very pleased with it and plan to purchase another Dodge when we are ready for a new truck. I recommend Dodge Trucks to our friends because we have been so impressed with the way ours has been in the three years we have owned it. If you are in the market for a Midsize Truck I would definitely recommend a Dodge Dakota.
Amount Paid (US$):
1998Model and Options:
Club Cab 4 X 4 Sport Fully Loaded