Overview & Reviews
Introduced as a response to the success of Japanese pickups at the start of the 1980s, the Chevrolet S-10 quickly became a prime competitor in the compact pickup truck segment. Affordable and highly configurable, it was an everyman's truck, meeting the needs of anyone who didn't need the towing and payload capacities of a full-size pickup.
During the S-10's 23-year lifespan, there were two generations. Most used-vehicle shoppers will be looking at the second generation. Alas, we were never particularly impressed with this S-10, finding it to be inferior to competing small trucks from Dodge, Ford, Nissan and Toyota.
Most Recent Chevrolet S-10
The second-generation Chevrolet S-10 was produced from 1994-2004. It was offered in regular, extended and (later on) crew cab bodies with short and long beds. The Sportside bed arrived in 1996 along with the optional three-door access cab. The ZR2 package was available on regular-cab short-bed models (it was available with the extended cab in 1995), as was an SS package that included a high-output V6, sport suspension and alloy wheels.
The boulder-crawling ZR2 package added some machismo to the S-10 that the regular and LS versions lacked. ZR2 S-10s featured larger off-road tires, tougher suspension components and standard four-wheel drive.
The S-10 extended cab model was offered with a third-door access panel on the driver side that aided loading cargo, pets or an unfortunate passenger into the rear compartment with its fold-down jump seat. This third door tended to rattle on broken pavement, though.
The 1994-'97 S-10 featured a standard 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine on rear-wheel-drive models that made 118 horsepower. Optional with 2WD and standard with 4WD was a 165-hp 4.3-liter V6. The high-output V6 put out 195 hp. These V6s were upgraded in 1996 to provide more horsepower and torque. Transmission choices included a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic.
Safety was never a point worthy of applause for the Chevrolet S-10, and the early years of this generation were light on safety equipment. Rear antilock brakes were standard, but four-wheel ABS was optional on four-cylinder models and standard with the V6. (All S-10s had four-wheel ABS after 1996.) A driver airbag became available in 1995, but there was no passenger protection until the 1998 update. For this reason, and the shabby interior, we'd steer clear of these early second-generation S-10s.
This S-10 underwent a midlife freshening for '98 that saw more aggressive front styling and an improved interior with dual airbags. The S-10 Xtreme that debuted in 1999 was the street-oriented counterpart to the ZR2. It was offered only in rear-wheel drive with a 2-inch-lower ride height. It also added a body-color grille and bumpers, full ground effects with wheel flares, the sport suspension and 16-inch aluminum wheels. The only other major change for this S-10's run was 2001's new four-door crew cab model with five-passenger capacity.
The Chevy S-10 was loaded with value and versatility for the compact pickup truck buyer, but we were never thrilled with it. The revised interior featured good ergonomics, but the materials were low rent, and the driver sat low, facing a tall steering wheel and dash. The S-10's tendency to squeak and rattle didn't provide the feeling of brawny quality we'd like from a pickup. Nor did lousy crash test scores provide the feeling of invincibility one expects from a pickup. In a comparison test we conducted for 2001, the S-10 finished fifth out of five trucks. Production soldiered on until 2004, at which point Chevy replaced the S-10 with the all-new Colorado.
Previous Chevrolet S-10 Models
The original Chevy S-10 was built from 1982-'93. This S-10 was also available in extended and regular cab styles, with the latter available in two wheelbases. It, too, was available with four- and six-cylinder engines, although the 2.5-liter four-banger made only 105 horsepower.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 647.00
The Elk Hauler - 2003 Chevrolet S-10
By Elk Hauler - November 13 - 7:10 am
Living in Central Montana and traveling over terrain that few people will ever experience in their life time I can attest to the durability and ruggedness of this truck. I've been able to go places that few 4X4 vehicles of full size could ever go. I've pulled a 23' travel trailer 450 miles over the Rockies with this smaller truck and rarely went below 50mph and still got 17mpg. I shouldn't have pulled that trailer but here in Montana one can get away with some things that elsewhere you can't. The truck was up to it and then some. I love this truck! I've owned personally and in my business approx. 23 new pickups of Ford and Chevy make and this truck is without doubt the best vehicle I've ever owned. The ONLY problem I've had is with the automatic shifter into 4X4. I had to install a manual cable pull device to ingage the front wheel drive. If I could find another one of these I would buy it one the spot.
Great Dependable Work Horse - 1997 Chevrolet S-10
By Barry - November 3 - 5:59 pm
the gas economy is poor but with regular maintenance this truck is very dependable and drive great.Maintenance Cost is about medium.
A High-school dream - 1994 Chevrolet S-10
By WStoney - November 3 - 5:47 pm
I bought my Chevy S10 for $1000 dollars at 200k miles (only because the owner thought it had a cracked head, but it was perfectly fine and just a spark plug wire came loose) and I have to say, it's been a great first vehicle. I used it to learn how to drive manual and it's still going strong. The little 2.2l 4 cylinder can move this truck pretty quick on the city streets, but I wouldn't recommend it for constant use on interstate highways. The gas mileage is great, insurance is cheap (for me at least) and it has maintained great reliability. The only part I have a problem with is the ignition module on top of the steering column under the dash, as it will go out about once or twice a year, but as soon as I did it once, it's a quick swap and the part only costs about $8. My truck has been beaten up a bit from previous owners and had me grind the gears while learning how to drive it, but it's still as strong as my dad's was when he had his. My S10 was lowered and I believe it increased the cornering pretty well, and it feels very strong compared to some other trucks. If I was to get my child a first vehicle, a manual 2.2l S10 would be first choice for its reliability, tolerance to abuse, and the great gas mileage.
reliable - 1995 Chevrolet S-10
By Cocomojoe - October 17 - 12:05 am
Good truck 2.2 motor has timing chain it's very reliable even at 212k miles
t - 2002 Chevrolet S-10
By Travis Frankhouser - September 8 - 1:59 pm
I currently have an 02 v6 s10 with 173k miles on all stock drivetrain. I used this truck for work and towing and beat the living piss out of it. Changed the oil once a year. Never changed the tranny fluid, antifreeze, rear end oil, or greased anything. just ran the hell out of it. Nothing major broke but the fuel pump and the distributor broke 3 times. But still one tough truck
terrible - 1998 Chevrolet S-10
By donnag - September 2 - 12:32 am
terrible, great ride, but terrible on reliability, it just brakes! and chevy doe not stand behind it!
Just a great little truck - 2003 Chevrolet S-10
By Christopher Paull - July 19 - 8:58 pm
Bought this truck new in 2003 presently have 140k on it, I opted for the high performance engine and my gas mileage is a little rough avg 12mpg city 16 high way besides and annoying problem with a vacuum switch for the front differential which is located on the transfer case ( it was trying to engage the four wheel drive when you didn't push the button made a really nasty noise while the front tried to engage when the transfer was lined up) Other than that on regular scheduled maintenance has been done to this truck just a nice comfy ride due to the torsion bar suspension (something it's replacement doesn't have the Colorado) and the truck has not once broken down. Good performance , good handling( unless you have to turn around in a narrow street) car like ride yet will haul and run like a little sports car. Was a shame when they discontinued it they finally got it right.
I Love Mine - 2001 Chevrolet S-10
By Jack Montague - July 13 - 6:31 pm
I purchase my 3 door LS extended cab 2WD 2.2L in August of 2001 brand new off the dealership lot and have been happy ever since. Almost 14 years and 116,000 miles later we're still together and going down the road. I have always loved the reliability and simplicity of my S-10 (I'm old so it gets more points since it's so simple!) All I have done is preventative maintenance and nothing else, I've never had issues with it except a new exhaust system last year. It hasn't gotten any rust and seems to be a good truck for the money since I didn't want the Silverado MPG. I took it on a 410 mile trip last weekend without any issues and the 4 cylinder got 24 MPG and that's with the hilly Missouri terrain with the Cruise Control set to 70. I really love this truck and since it's lasted 13 ILL winters without any issues I'll keep it for another 13+!
Great Vehicle! - 1994 Chevrolet S-10
By dmw78 - February 17 - 10:44 am
I bought my S10 brand new in 1994 and it has never left me sit. It runs great even with 160,000+ miles on it. There is no rust anywhere, which is great for having it up north in the snow. The 4WD works like a charm. The only problem I had with it was the anit-lock brakes. I kept telling them I had a problem. They caused me to slam a Honda Civic in the rear. It put the rear bumper of the Civic in the back seat, while I had less than $200.00 damage to the S10. The next week there was a recall for the anti-lock brakes. They have worked ever since. Take care of your S10 and it will take care of you. I love mine, probably never get rid of it. The paint is starting to show wear after 21 years.
RELIABLE - 2001 Chevrolet S-10
By ironclad - March 25 - 8:14 am
Well, what can I say, LOL......I bought this truck back in 2002 as a puddle jumper for commuting back and forth to work. I considered this truck a cheap consumable. I figured that once it died I would buy another. The truck will not die. The truck now has 192000 miles on it and it rattles like a tin can. I haven't treated this truck very well and have done nothing to it but oil changes, brakes when needed and a clutch job at 170000 miles. I don't think the power steering pump even works anymore, but hey it still steers down the road. The 2.2L engine is lacking in power but never fails to start, ever.....darn it, ever.....I've tried to kill it, but it just won't die.....