The Chevrolet S-10 provides a more manageable alternative to comparable full-size pickups that were available at the same time. Inspired by the Japanese-made pickup trucks of the time, the Chevrolet S-10 is a compact pickup truck that's easier to handle and more affordable for drivers who want a pickup but don't need the heavy power and hauling capacity of a full-size truck.
The S-10 was a popular compact pickup truck manufactured by Chevrolet. It replaced the Chevrolet LUV and was part of Chevrolet's lineup for over 20 years, until it was replaced by the Chevrolet Colorado in 2004. It is related to the also popular Chevrolet Blazer SUV from Chevrolet, which was originally known as the Chevrolet S-10 Blazer.
There were a number of clones of the S-10, including the GMC S-15, the GMC Sonoma, The GMC Syclone and the Isuzu Hombre. The S-10 was built on the GMT 325 platform and came with a regular or extended cab.
By 2004, the Chevrolet S-10 had already begun to become a bit outdated. Plans were already underway to bring its replacement, the Chevrolet Colorado, into the line, so no major upgrades were built into this model. In fact, only one model was available, an all-wheel drive crew cab with a 4.6 ft. bed and a 4.3-liter, V-6 engine.
While possessed of a fairly sturdy engine that offered ample power and torque, and with decent off-roading characteristics, the S-10's main selling point was the low price attached to a vehicle on its way to retirement, as there were several competitors of greater appeal, with superior comfort, more attractive design and a higher quality frame.
The S-10's V-6 engine delivered 190 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque, and was matched to a four-speed automatic transmission. It got an estimated 14/18 mpg city/highway.
This Chevrolet S-10 seated five, with 42.4 inches of front leg room and 38.2 inches of rear leg room. Comfort and convenience features included bucket front seats, power door locks, windows and mirrors, cruise control and tilt power steering. Although the S-10 did not perform as well on crash tests as some other pickups, it did have four-wheel antilock brakes, ventilated front disc and solid rear disc brakes and electronic brake force distribution.
The S-Series of compact pickup trucks from General Motors first made the scene in 1982. Over the years, the Chevrolet S-10 offered a variety of engine options, including a 2.5-liter four-cylinder which produced a meager 105 horsepower, a 2.8-liter V-6, and a 4.3-liter V-6. There were several transmission options as well, with a three-speed automatic, four-speed automatic, four-speed manual, and five-speed manual available. In 1983, an extended cab option was made available. 1984 brought with it enhanced suspension options, including an off-road version and a special heavy-duty suspension. 1988 was the year the 4.3-liter V-6 was introduced to the S-10, and 1989 saw the addition of an anti-lock braking system to the truck.
The second and final generation of the Chevrolet S-10 first appeared in 1994 and lasted ten years, until 2004, after which the Chevrolet Colorado took its place. The second generation Chevrolet S-10 was identical to the GMC Sonoma, Chevrolet Xtreme and Isuzu Hombre. For the second generation S-10, only a 4.3-liter, Vortec V-6 and 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine were available. The frame of the second generation S-10 was almost identical to the first generation, although this model saw improved suspensions. Over the course of this generation's life, short bed, long bed, extended cab and crew cab options were available. This S-10 was available in rear wheel and all-wheel drive and came with either a four-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission.
Interesting options on the second generation S-10 included a Sportside bed, an off-roading ZR2 package, the sporty SS package and a cab with third door access to make cargo loading easier or to squeeze in a third passenger via a jump seat.
The standard 2.2-liter, four-cylinder engine that was part of the rear wheel drive package produced only 118 horsepower, but the all-wheel drive 4.3-liter V-6 generated 165 horsepower, and an upgraded V-6 engine available on some packages got the S-10 up to 195 horses.
Although safety was never the selling point of the S-10, the second generation had a few more safety features than the original model. The newer S-10 came complete with rear antilock brakes on all models, with a full four-wheel anti-lock braking system standard on some models and optional on others until 1996, when all models featured the four-wheel ABS. Airbags also made an appearance in this model, but only a driver's side airbag until 1998, when dual airbags became standard.
In general, while the Chevrolet S-10 provided good value for most of its lifespan, by its retirement in 2004, it was ready to be replaced by a truck with a more modern sensibility.