EXPERT REVIEW

chicagotribune.com's view

To add fun to function, Chevrolet has added a Sportside version of the S-10pickup for 1996.

This is a sporty S-10 with side steps along the cargo walls and a bed that’s 3.9 inches narrower than on the regular model.

It’s a truck for folks who will be hauling dirt bikes or Jet Skis or camping gear rather than plywood, paneling or bricks.

We tested the four-wheel-drive LS regular cab version, which is roomy and comfortable, though you may want to consider the extended-cab version so you can haul some of your camping gear sheltered from the weather in the cabin. And when you opt for an extended cab, you can order the optional third door, which makes it easier to store the gear–and get the kids in the jump seats.

We would also recommend the optional ($113) slide-open rear window for improved ventilation.

Sportside rides and handles like a car and comes with a driver-side air bagand four-wheel ABS as standard. But it doesn’t offer a passenger-side bag and won’t until 1998 at the earliest.

The 4.3-liter, 180-h.p. V-6 is rated at a respectable 20 m.p.g. city/24 m.p.g. highway and adds smooth, quiet operation.

Base price of the 4WD LS Sportside is $17,515 ($19,015 for the extended cab). There are numerous options–$1,070 for the four-speed automatic with overdrive; $805 for air conditioning; $535 for power locks/windows/mirrors; $395 for tilt steering and speed control; $335 for oversized radials; $284 forAM/FM stereo with CD player and clock; $259 for the high-output Vortec V-6; and $123 for an electronic shift transfer case so you can shift into 4WD on the fly by pressing a button.

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