This Isn't Chevrolet's New Small Truck but it Could Have Been


Photos by EMC

The all-new second-generation Chevrolet Colorado midsize pickup later this month in Thailand. But once upon a time, were it not for a fateful product planning decision somewhere inside General Motors, the original 1982-93 Chevrolet S-10 compact could have been replaced with a production version of the Chevrolet Sedona prototype seen here instead of the redesigned 1994-2004 Chevy S-10.

The Sedona — whose name was eventually abandoned by GM and picked up by Kia for a minivan — had some interesting styling and functional details that were influenced by GM concept vehicles and previewed the design direction of future trucks.

The exterior shared styling cues with the 1994-2004 Chevy S-10 around the rounded shapes of the hood and cabin. The flanks and tail lights previewed the design DNA of the (then) future 1999-2006 GMT 800 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 half-ton. It’s also interesting to see the heavy use of lower-body plastic cladding that would become a hallmark on other trucks like the2002 Chevy Avalanche. The Sedona name is prominently embossed in the middle of the front bumper. The cargo box’s interior featured an integrated composite liner instead of metal. A similar bed would later be offered and then abandoned in GM’s full-size pickups.

Two ideas that never made it to production in any of GM’s U.S.-built trucks were small side steps positioned just ahead of the rear wheels to aid access to the cargo box and a unique forward-opening hood.

Inside, the Sedona’s styling was strongly influenced by the futuristic 1988 GMC Centaur pickup. Many of its design cues were still used in the second-generation Chevy S-10 and GMC Sonoma, though with fewer buttons. The instrument panel used a digital display similar to the 1984-96 Chevrolet Corvette C4 instead of the S-10’s analog gauges.

With so many buttons on the dash, the Sedona’s drivetrain switchgear and other controls were positioned in a roof-mounted console. From here, the driver could electronically shift the Sedona into two- or four-wheel drive, plus see fuel-economy, driving-range, coolant and oil temperature readouts. We should be happy all of these buttons were eventually streamlined into trip computers in the instrument cluster. We imagine the advanced electronics and gauges must have been expensive, not to mention difficult to keep track of, which is probably why a similar switchgear wasn’t offered in the second-gen S-10.

Under the Sedona’s hood was a 4.3-liter V-6 with multi-port fuel injection similar to the six-cylinder engine that powered Chevy S-10 pickups from 1988 onward.

The Sedona prototype was tested in early 1988 before GM changed its mind and went down a different path. The pictures were taken while the truck languished in a parking lot in the late 1990s. Within a few years, the truck was scrapped and a small piece of GM’s truck history disappeared forever.


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