Chevrolet's compact pickup gets minor changes for 2000, but bigger news is due on the 2001 models. Four-door crew-cab models will go on sale this fall to compete with similar versions of the Dodge Dakota, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma also due as a 2001 model.
The S-10 is a corporate cousin of the GMC Sonoma and Isuzu Hombre. GMC also gets the crew cab in the fall, but Isuzu has not announced if or when it will. General Motors owns an equity interest in Isuzu, and the two companies share other products and components.
Crew cabs have four full-size doors that are hinged at the front and open like regular doors on a car. The S-10 extended cab currently is available with an optional third door that swings open toward the rear and can't be openedunless the front door is opened first.
On the rival Ford Ranger, the best-selling compact pickup, dual rear doors that open toward the rear are optional.
The S-10 comes in three sizes: The regular cab is available with a 6- or 7.5-foot cargo bed, and the extended cab comes with the 6-foot bed.
Chevy gears the S-10 to younger buyers than its full-size pickups with sporty exterior packages. Appearance options include flared rear fenders on models with the 6-foot bed (called Sportside) and the Xtreme package, which imparts a "low-rider" with a 2-inch lower ride height and ground hugging spoilers and side trim. The ZR2 off-road package, shown above, includes wider front fenders, cargo bed panels and wheel flares.
Depending on your desires and budget, you can fit an S-10 with a three-place vinyl bench seat, a cloth version of the same seat, a split front bench with a folding center armrest or bucket seats. Extended-cab models add two folding rear jump seats, but you lose the one on the driver's side if you order the optional third door.
Regular-cab models have precious little storage space, making the extended cab a sensible alternative even if you never use the rear jump seats.
Under the Hood
A 120-horsepower 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine is standard on two-wheel-drive models, but most buyers choose the 4.3-liter V-6, which is standard on four-wheel-drive models and optional on 2WD models. The V-6 rates 180 horsepower with 2WD and 190 with 4WD.
Starting with December 2000 production, the four-cylinder is tuned to run on a gasoline/ethanol mixture of up to 85 percent ethanol.
The Insta-Trac 4WD system comes with electronic engagement that allows shifting in or out of 4WD High on the fly with a dashboard switch.
The Ford Ranger trounces the S-10 in sales, but Chevy's compact pickup offers a range of equipment choices and price levels to suit a broad spectrum of buyers. Four-wheel antilock brakes, an important safety feature, are standard on all S-10s, while they are optional on the Ranger and other rivals.