Used 1996 Chevrolet S-10
Edmunds' Expert Review
Like most of today's compact trucks, Chevrolet's S-Series grew more car-like when it was redesigned for 1994. That's the trend, and Chevy has done a good job of transforming its small-scale pickups--without blurring their identity as practical machines. Riding smoother and handling better, they gained plenty in performance potential and overall refinement, ranking closer to their main competition, Ford's similar-size Ranger. Grasp that long manual-transmission gearshift lever and it's easy to imagine you're wielding a big rig, while enjoying the blissful comforts of a compact.
Four-cylinder models need that manual shift to derive top performance, but the two V6 engine options are strong with either transmission. For maximum output, the 200-horsepower L35 Vortec 4300 V6 has gained horsepower and torque this year. Same is true of the slightly less energetic LF6 Vortec 4300 V6. The four cylinder's manual transmission is new this year, designed to provide more brisk get-up-and-go and an easier shift effort. Two-wheel drive four-cylinder models also get standard antilock brakes for 1996.
Extended cab models get a cool new side panel that opens wide to allow for easier access to the rear of the cab. Located on the driver's side, the optional third door deletes one of the extended cab's jump seats, but makes it much easier to load cargo, a friend, or your pal Spot into the S-10. Also new for 1996 is a revised sport suspension setup. Combined with the hot SS package and the newly available Sportside cargo box, the S-10 will run circles around the Ford Ranger Splash.
Two-wheel-drive (S10) and four-wheel-drive (T10) trucks come in five models each, with a short or long bed and short or extended wheelbase. Ride comfort varies from car-smooth to strictly firm, depending on the choice of suspensions and tires. Five new exterior colors are available this year, and buyers can opt for one new interior color if they choose.
Headroom is ample and seats are supportive, but the driver sits a little low, facing a tall steering wheel and cowl. In theory, three people fit across an S-Series bench seat, but it's hard to conceive of an adult human being slim enough to squeeze into the space allotted.
Full gauges are excellent and easy to read, but the upright dashboard is constructed of cheap and brittle looking plastic. Despite a low-height windshield--not unlike the Ranger's--visibility is super, helped by huge mirrors. A driver's airbag and daytime running lamps are standard. All models have four-wheel antilock braking. Off-roaders will want the burly ZR2 package that makes the truck's body wider and taller, featuring special wheel flares, tough suspension components, and aggressive rubber.
Like many Chevrolets, the S-10 is loaded with value. However, we must take issue with the poor crash test scores of this little pickup, especially in contrast to the good crashworthiness demonstrated by the Ford Ranger and Dodge Dakota. Furthermore, the Ranger is available this year with an optional passenger airbag, something that Dodge won't be adding until the Dakota is redesigned for 1997, and Chevy won't see fit to add to the S-10 until 1998, at the earliest. We genuinely like the S-10, but feel that for safety-minded shoppers, Ford's Ranger is the better buy in this class.
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Features & Specs
Used 1996 Chevrolet S-10 Overview
The Used 1996 Chevrolet S-10 is offered in the following submodels: S-10 Regular Cab, S-10 Extended Cab. Available styles include 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB, LS 2dr Extended Cab SB, LS 2dr Regular Cab Stepside SB, 2dr Regular Cab LB, LS 2dr Regular Cab LB, 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB, 2dr Regular Cab SB, LS 2dr Extended Cab Stepside SB, LS 2dr Regular Cab SB, LS 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB, LS 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB, LS 2dr Extended Cab 4WD Stepside SB, LS 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB, and LS 2dr Regular Cab 4WD Stepside SB.
What's a good price on a Used 1996 Chevrolet S-10?
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Which used 1996 Chevrolet S-10s are available in my area?
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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Chevrolet S-10?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.