1996 Chevrolet S-10 Review

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List Price Estimate
$859 - $1,823

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Vehicle overview

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.

1996 Highlights

Improved V6 engines make more power and torque this year. A new five-speed manual gives four-cylinder models better acceleration, and four-bangers also get four-wheel antilock brakes. Extended-cab models get third-door access panel on the driver side to make loading cargo and passengers easier. A new sport suspension turns the S-10 into a competent sports truck, and the new Sportside cargo box allows the S-Series to go head to head with the Ford Ranger Splash.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Chevrolet S-10.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Like a rock
Greg,02/08/2009
I have owned this truck for about a year now. I love almost everything about it. The 4.3L has plenty of power compared to my earlier 87 s-10 with the 2.8L. This truck has almost 400k and does not owe me a thing. The one thing I would change is more durable cloth on seats especially on driver side. Recommend the S-10 to anyone so far best built compared to ford and dodge.
Reliable, economical,comfortable
Becca,06/26/2016
LS 2dr Regular Cab LB
This truck got 28 MPG on the highway. It always was comfortable and dependable on long drives. It had the X motor in it so it never lacked any power. On corners it held the road very well and hills were no problem. It was a great little truck.
Second S10 I Shouldn't Have Bought
nomad,01/30/2010
This is my second s10 and both have had a SEVERE lack of power, to the point where your leg hurts after going up any little hill. The 4 cylinder is known for this, but these were the 4.3 v6 models! The problem is with the prehistoric overhead valve design the GM still puts in nearly all the vehicles even though every other manufacturer has moved to overhead cam design. If the previous owner didn't change their oil every 2000 miles or sooner, the lifters will mess up by 100,000 miles and the only fix will be to pump $500 into the engine, or buy a new engine altogether.
Great Truck!
darkembrace,04/18/2006
I purchased this truck with 57000 miles on it in 5/04. I've had it just under 2 years and it now has 98000 miles on it. The only work I've had to do is a starter, tires, and a radiator hose. The fuel economy is great. I drive it 600 hundred miles every other weekend through the Ozark Mountains to pick my daughter up for visitation. That is lot of hard driving for a 4 cylinder motor. I still haven't even had to put a clutch in this truck, and I drive it hard. The a/c still blows cold. I would recommend it to anyone.

Features & Specs

MPG
20 city / 27 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
118 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
20 city / 27 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
118 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
190 hp @ 4400 rpm
MPG
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
190 hp @ 4400 rpm
See all Used 1996 Chevrolet S-10 features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger1 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1996 Chevrolet S-10

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 (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), LS 2dr Extended Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), LS 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), 2dr Regular Cab LB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), LS 2dr Regular Cab LB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), LS 2dr Extended Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), LS 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), LS 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), LS 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), LS 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), LS 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), and LS 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Chevrolet S-10?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1996 Chevrolet S-10s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1996 Chevrolet S-10 for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Chevrolet S-10.

Can't find a used 1996 Chevrolet S-10s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chevrolet S-10 for sale - 9 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $14,473.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 7 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $9,080.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet S-10 for sale - 12 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $17,500.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 7 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $22,143.

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.

Check out Chevrolet lease specials
Check out Chevrolet S-10 lease specials