I purchased our Dakato a couple of years ago, I was actually debating on a extended cab Ford F-150 and was looking at the Dodge Durgano (SUV). After looking at the Dakota and Durango side by side they were identicall behind the wheel and other that the obvious SUV and truck difference the interior and exterior were the same. What was suprising was that it was around $9000 grand less than the equivalant trim level in the Durango. It was also a few $1000 dollars less that the low milage F150 that I was going to buy. Once we test drove it I was sold. I purchased the SLT plus package which has the larger wheels and all the extras along with the 4.7 liter engine. I believe the term "Drives like a car" is really over used when talking about trucks and SUV's but the ride, handling and lack of road noise was another big plus. I had just gotten rid of a 4 wheel drive Ford Ranger Ext cab that I rarely used the 4WD so I opted for 2WD this time. I got the 40/60 front bench seat but would have opted to get the bucket seats f I did over, but they are nice and high and I can go 3 to 4 hours easily with out getting to numb a butt. Then another great design is that the back door opens a full 90 degrees and having two children in car seats it is easier to get them in and out of than our minivan or any car. The back is spacious, I'm 6'5" and have no trouble setting back there. Having only 2 children and a minivan we decided to purchase the Dakota knowing that it worked great for hauling the kids also. Actually my wife relegated me to the minivan that she loved driving it so much. My wife wanted a larger truck orginally but the more we drove it the more impressive the ride was. It is between a Full size (Dodge Ram, Chevy Siverado type) and small truck (Ford Ranger, Chevy S-10). Really the only thing within it's class I would say the Toyota Tundra which I know they bill as Full size but it is not. The Toyota had the fit and finish that I love in them but being next to the Dodge dealer when we drove it other than being 9 grand more, the back of the cab was totally useless for a newly released truck. As the Toyota salesman said when we told him it was to small for kids he said "yes if the would have made this a true quad cab and added a foot to the rear seat we couldn't keep them on the lot. Anyway I degress.
I immediately purchased a custom camper shell for the back of the truck and away we went on vacation. The cab is smaller but fits our needs. It's great to throw bikes and trykes in the back when going places and having the back covered when traveling. The gas milage as with most Dodges is bad. Around 15 to 16 miles per gal. on the highway, but I work 3 miles from home so I can take the low milage better than a heavy commuter. The 4.7 liter V8 has plenty of power to boot, and holds the truck at 75 mph on the interstate at very low RPM's. The truck has great torque and I've gone through the NC mountains a couple of times and it loves to climb hills with little effort.
The infinity sound system that was part of the package is a great sound system the only bad thing is some of the buttons are so small that they are hard to find and adjust when paying attention to the road. The back seats fold up if you need a little extra room or if you don't have a cover on the back to keep things from getting wet. The brakes have always been a little jerky on hard stops and at 40,000 miles they need to be replaced according to dodge dealership. I am known to keep a vehicle clean 90% of the time and the paint has held it's new shine wonderfully (dealership also applys clear coat wax every 6 mos. free as long as I own the truck). The two front fog lights both cracked in a circular motion and Dodge says this was road hazard condition and not covered under warranty but there are no scratches or any other signs of rocks hitting the front and the cicular pattern that they are cracked in tells me it either got water or to much heat in there and caused the cracks. They work but if I replace cost was 40 dollars for both lights. Other than that I beleive I got a great looking, driving truck and saved a few grand on the way.
Amount Paid (US$):
2002Model and Options:
Quad Cab SLT plus 2WD, AUTO,PW,KEYLESS DOORS, INFINITY SOUND SYSTEM