Used 1996 GMC Sonoma
Edmunds' Expert Review
Compact trucks are hot nowadays, and GMC's entry into that market delivers hard-to-beat value--even if it doesn't necessarily stand at the very top of its class in every way. A driver airbag with knee bolster and daytime running lights (headlights that operate at 90 percent intensity whenever the truck is driven, whether you want 'em on or not) were added last year. This year, all Sonomas are equipped with four-wheel antilock braking, and a handy side access panel has joined the extended cab option list. Also new is a revised five-speed shifter on four-cylinder trucks that promises reduced shift and throw effort, and has been placed closer to the driver for ease of operation.
Sonomas can be fitted to suit just about any requirement, from strict utility to sporty style and performance. Choose from three wheelbases, two cab types, a regular-size or long cargo bed in Fleetside or new Sportside configuration, and two- or four-wheel drive. Whew! You still have to consider three trim levels, seven suspension systems, three engines (a four or two V6 choices), and manual or automatic shift.
With the high-output, 180-horsepower Vortec 4300 V6 on tap, and the new Sport Suspension package, the Sonoma performs as energetically as high-priced sports cars did a decade or so ago. By any definition, that's progress. The new Sportside box and sharp five-spoke alloys nicely complement the top powertrain and suspension, turning the Sonoma into a true factory sport truck. For off-roading duties, GMC offers the Highrider, riding three-ply all-terrain tires and sporting a reinforced frame (four inches wider, two inches taller) and toughened suspension. Either Sonoma outperforms the Ranger on or off the pavement, but when it comes to interior fittings, only the Dodge Dakota looks and feels more archaic.
Inside, Sonomas and S-Series pickups are virtually identical, with a comfortable cab marred by an aesthetic disaster of a dashboard, which looks and feels as though it were lifted from some defunct Buick project. Some graphics have been changed this year, but the plasticky interior ambiance is unchanged. A passenger airbag is unavailable. On extended cab trucks, an optional side access panel makes loading passengers or cargo into the rear of the cab much easier.
Ford's Ranger and Toyota's new Tacoma come across as more refined, and their sticker prices reflect this impression. In compact-truck value per dollar, though, GMC just might deliver all the goods you're seeking.
Features & Specs
Used 1996 GMC Sonoma Overview
The Used 1996 GMC Sonoma is offered in the following submodels: , . Available styles include SL 2dr Regular Cab SB, SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab SB, SLE 2dr Regular Cab SB, SL 2dr Regular Cab LB, SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab LB, SLS Sport 2dr Club Coupe 4WD Stepside SB, SLE 2dr Club Coupe SB, SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab Stepside SB, SLS Sport 2dr Club Coupe Stepside SB, SLE 2dr Club Coupe Stepside SB, SLS Sport 2dr Club Coupe 4WD SB, SLE 2dr Club Coupe 4WD Stepside SB, SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB, SLS Sport 2dr Club Coupe SB, SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB, SLE 2dr Club Coupe 4WD SB, SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab 4WD Stepside SB, SLE 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB, SL 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB, and SL 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB.
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