I have owned a 96 4.3 2wd s-10 and still own a 91 4wd s-10 4.3 Blazer. Compared to these trucks she is a vast improvement in all areas. Although the powerband is not what I am used to, she won me over with her smooth running and her Dr. Jeckyl/Mr. Hyde nature. When you get down on her she really hauls the mail. The five speed manual is geared well for this motor and shifts smooth. Handles great and the fuel economy is superb for a 4wd with 3.73 gears. She gets 22mpg or so consistently and has seen 23mpg once. The seats are very comfortable and the stereo sounds awesome. Anyone looking for a solid, efficient daily driver should give this truck a look, although I strongly suggest the manual trans.
I enjoy the manual trans and the control it imparts. The interior fit and finish are excellent and the stereo/CD sounds real fine. The push button 4wd is handy to have when the weather turns and I love the I-5 motors fuel economy and mid-range power. The bed tie-downs (6) are invaluable as well.
The tranny could use another gear (the I-5 loves to rev) and the motor could be bigger (I-6 or V-8) to provide improved low end grunt and better auto trans performance (was not impressed with auto trans powertrain combo I test drove). Also, for those that tow, a larger trailer pulling capacity.