For the 2004 model year, GMC will have a new midsize pickup truck called the Canyon. Meanwhile, the 2003 Sonoma compact pickup, which is a close relative to Chevrolets S-10, goes into its final season.
Several enhancements have been added to the Sonoma for 2003. A split, folding bench seat is newly standard in two-wheel-drive (2WD) models. A six-CD changer and a ZR5 Sport Appearance Package for Crew Cab pickups became optional during the 2002 model year. A lower-priced version of the SLS Crew Cab, with fewer amenities than its more amply equipped companion, is available.
The Sonoma comes in regular-cab, extended-cab and Crew Cab forms, and buyers get a choice of four suspensions. Crew Cab models have four-wheel drive (4WD), a 4.3-liter V-6 engine and four conventional doors that open to the front. Other Sonomas may be equipped with a four-cylinder engine. A regular-cab long-box model was reintroduced for the 2002 model year. Sonomas are offered with rear-wheel drive or 4WD and may have a manual shift or a four-speed-automatic transmission.
Archrival Fords compact Ranger, in extended-cab form, comes only with two narrow back doors that open toward the rear. Four-door Crew Cab body styles are available on the Dodge Dakota, Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma.
The Sonoma comes in three sizes. The regular-cab model is 190.6 inches long overall on a 108.3-inch wheelbase, while extended-cab pickups ride a 122.9-inch wheelbase and measure 205.3 inches long overall. With a long cargo box, the regular-cab Sonoma has a 117.9-inch wheelbase and is 206.6 inches long overall. Crew Cab models have the same overall length as extended-cab versions, but because more space is devoted to the rear doors, the Crew Cabs cargo bed shrinks to just over 4.5 feet from the usual 6-foot length.
A third door on the drivers side is standard on extended-cab trucks. The ZR5 option includes a roof rack, side steps and bed rails finished in bright aluminum.
The Sonomas payload range is from 1,111 pounds for the Crew Cab to 1,362 pounds for a 4WD extended-cab model. The Sonoma can haul trailers that weigh as much as 5,900 pounds, which depends on the model. Options include a bed extender for all models and a hard, lockable tonneau cover for Crew Cab versions.
Regular-cab and extended-cab models may have either a front bench seat that holds three people or a pair of bucket seats. A folding rear jump seat goes into extended-cab models. Crew Cab pickups have front buckets and a three-place rear bench. All Sonomas have air conditioning and a tachometer.
Under the Hood
A 120-horsepower, 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine is standard in 2WD models. A 4.3-liter V-6 power plant is standard in 4WD trucks and optional for 2WD versions. The V-6 engine produces 180 hp in the 2WD installation and 190 hp with 4WD.
A five-speed-manual transmission is standard, and a four-speed automatic is optional. However, all Crew Cab models come only with the automatic gearbox. All 4x4 pickups use General Motors Insta-Trac system, which is engaged using a switch on the dashboard; an electronic transfer case permits shifting in or out of 4WD High while on the move.
Four-wheel antilock brakes are standard.