Used 1997 Chevrolet S-10

Style:
1997 Chevrolet S-10
List price range

Pros

  • Fuel efficient base engine, sporty styling, powerful optional V-6, handy third door option

Cons

  • Shabby build quality, low seating positions, rattly third door option.

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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 V-6 engine options are strong with either manual or automatic transmissions. For maximum output, the optional 180-horsepower L35 Vortec 4300 V-6 is the engine to select (190 horsepower in 4WD models). The slightly less energetic LF6 Vortec 4300 V-6 is no slouch, nearly matching the L35 in power and torque

Extended cab models can be equipped with a handy access 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. Be warned, the third door makes for aggravating rattles on broken pavement.

Two- and four-wheel-drive trucks come in seven models each, with a short or long bed, fleetside box or sportside box, and short or extended wheelbase. Ride comfort varies from car-smooth to strictly firm, depending on the choice of suspensions and tires.

Headroom is ample and seats are supportive, but the driver sits 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. Surprisingly, the extended cab's rear jump seats are comfortable for short trips, as long as only one adult occupies the space behind the front seats.

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 anti-lock 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.

For 1997, Chevrolet has strengthened the frame of the 2WD model by using tougher components. Refinements to the automatic transmission result in improved efficiency and smoother shifts. Four-wheel drive models have lighter-weight plug-in half shafts that are easier to service. Two new colors are available; Fairway Green Metallic and Medium Beige Mystique Metallic.

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. Furthermore, the Ranger can be equipped with dual front airbags, and the new -for-1997 Dodge Dakota offers dual airbags as standard equipment. Chevy doesn't make a passenger airbag available. We genuinely like the S-10, but feel that for safety-minded shoppers, Ford's Ranger and Dodge's Dakota are the better buys in this class.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 Chevrolet S-10.

Big Results from a Little Truck
Jay, 8/29/2009
I bought my truck used from a friend who had two trucks. This is a great and dependable truck. I use my truck for work and decided since I was going to school to drive it. I drove from North Carolina to El Paso Texas no issue. The only thing that I did was change the timing belt and started using synthetic oil. Awesome truck!!
little red truck
bird, 1/18/2004
The truck was not what I wanted. Small, no frills. But when I drove it my mind changed. It's fun to drive around the city, if you like to drive. Oh it's a 5 speed and I use it. Like most things we drive it could use more power, but then again I wouldn't be passing as many gas stations. I plan on keeping it until it or I give out. So far other the regular maintenance it's got all the factory parts except the rear U joint. Great Driver
Great truck. 97 Zr2 S10 4x4.
Carl Shepard, 3/24/2016
I would recommend this truck to anyone. Great performance, great power, goes excellent in snow & mud. I have the 97 ZR2 S10 4x4 5 speed with the 4.3 engine. Compared to Ford, previously owned, there's no comparison. This truck will run plum off & leave a 4.0 Ranger!
Do not Purchase
BB, 2/27/2002
The overall build quality is very poor. Had transmission in to repair twice; luckly during the warrantee. Interior rattles, squeeks, and parts have cracked. Rearview mirror has fell off several times, because the unit weighs 7-10lbs and the repair kit cannot hold it up. Emergancy brake has broke twice. Have trouble starting the vehicle several times when its damp and cold (left me strainded many times) mechanics cannot find out the problem.
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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
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
See all Used 1997 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
    Passenger2 / 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 1997 Chevrolet S-10
Used 1997 Chevrolet S-10 Overview

The Used 1997 Chevrolet S-10 is offered in the following submodels: , . Available styles include 2dr Regular Cab LB, LS 2dr Regular Cab Stepside SB, LS 2dr Regular Cab LB, LS 2dr Extended Cab SB, LS 2dr Regular Cab SB, 2dr Regular Cab SB, LS 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB, LS 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB, LS 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB, LS 2dr Extended Cab Stepside SB, LS 2dr Extended Cab 4WD Stepside SB, LS 2dr Regular Cab 4WD Stepside SB, 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB, and 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB.

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