Fuel efficient base engine, sporty styling, powerful optional V-6, handy third door option
Shabby build quality, low seating positions, rattly third door option.
Chevy strengthens the 2WD S-10 frame 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. Two new colors are available.
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 1997 Chevrolet S-10 LS 2dr Regular Cab LB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.41 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
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.
Read what other owners think about the Used 1997 Chevrolet S-10.
Fantastic truck, excellent power for this vehicle class, and excellent overall value. This truck provides the perfect combination of form and function, providing good fuel mileage and overall capability. The cabin is quiet and well layed out, providing good room for most all passenger sizes. Overall, I would highly recommend this vehicle as it provides nearly full size capability with … compact fuel economy of over 20mpg.
3.88 out of 5 stars
little red truck
2dr Regular Cab SB
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.
5 out of 5 stars
Tough little truck
LS 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB
This truck was given to me by grandfather after he died and it has been very reliable. I have just turned 16 and I've been rough with this truck and it still holds up. The 4.3 V6 was the best V6 ever made. Actually it is a 350 block with two cylinders chopped off. It has the same size pistons and everything. It has a lot of power and will still lay you back in your seat with over 106,000 … miles on it. The only thing I've ever had to do to it was change the oil and I put a K&N lifetime air filter in it. The only thing that has gone wrong with it is the compressor had a leak that I fixed easily. Other than that it has been great.
5 out of 5 stars
Big Results from a Little Truck
2dr Regular Cab SB
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!!
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
Driver3 / 5
Passenger2 / 5
Side Crash Rating
Side Barrier Rating
Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
Front SeatNot Rated
Back SeatNot Rated
Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
Side Impact Test
Roof Strength Test
Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
Moderate Overlap Front Test
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: S-10 Regular Cab, S-10 Extended Cab. Available styles include LS 2dr Regular Cab LB (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), 2dr Regular Cab LB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), LS 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl 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 Extended Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), LS 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), LS 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), and LS 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M).
Pre-owned Chevrolet S-10 models are available with a 2.2 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 118 hp, depending on engine type.
The Used 1997 Chevrolet S-10 comes with rear wheel drive.
Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual.
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