Bought a 2.5L 4cyl Short Box with Automatic Transmission and Rallye Wheels new in 09-91. The S10 still delivers decent mileage, competent handling, and outstanding reliability. No engine repairs. No transmission repairs. No electrical repairs under the hood. The only parts to wear out have been the fuel pump, and consequently the dashboard fuel gauge (both replaced at 138,000 miles); the serpentine belt at 95,000 miles, and the water pump at 110,000 miles. The 4- cyl lacks punch in overdrive. But the transmission with well tuned gearing and 89 octane gas compensate nicely, provided you are willing to down-shift the automatic manually. It deserves my highest recommendation.
Reliable. Handy. Automatic Transmission. Flexibility to install one size larger 205-75-14 tires. S10 braking with 205's was superior to 89 Escort with 175's. Predictable handling. Low cost of ownership. Tires and parts are available and cheap. Wide open spaces under the hood.
A bit more low end torque, and horsepower would have helped since I live in hilly terrain with steep grades. Once clocked 38 mpg over two days riding overdrive on the flat highways in Delaware. Get slighltly below Federal mpg estimates in the Pocono foothills because of horsepower limitations.