Even with the fuel-efficient 4 the truck had plenty of power for passing, merging onto freeways and hauling my camping gear.
The Fuel mileage was a consistent 22mpg, which was worse than my Ford Ranger 4 (it got 28), but still far better than most trucks.
The interior was plush and comfortable, and very high quality for a base model truck.
The 5-speed shifted effortlessly and the gear ratios were spaced well to provide a good power range for all situations. I never encountered a hint of clutch slippage under even the harshest conditions.
No truck ever built has ever had the beautiful stying of the '97 thru '03 Dakotas. The styling was what sold me on the truck, and the fact that Dodge changed the Dakota to a bloated, ugly monstrosity with no fuel efficient engine option is why I went back to Ranger in 2006.
No vehicle I have ever owned has ever held its value like this Dakota. I sold it in January of 2006 for $1000 less than I bought it for brand new in October of 2000.