Used 1996 GMC Sonoma Regular Cab

1996 GMC Sonoma
List price range
1996 GMC Sonoma

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

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.

1996 Highlights

Extended-cab models get an optional driver-side rear access panel. All Sonomas are now equipped with four-wheel ABS. A new sport suspension provides sporty handling, and a snazzy Sportside box ends Ford's reign as lord of compact stepsides. A new five-speed transmission improves shifter location and operation when equipped with the base four-cylinder. Still missing is the availability of a passenger airbag.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 GMC Sonoma.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Probably should have spent more $
Harold Brownstein,03/08/2010
I bought a 96 Sonoma,4 cyl.,stick for $2,500 (inc. tax & fees) in 6/2009. Shortly after purchase I spent $2,000 replacing the alternator, fuel pump & engine. For a small truck (4cyl) it rides well & has great pickup for a 4 cylinder vehicle. It gets 20+ MPG, maneuvers well & easily holds its own on the interstate. At 70 to 90 MPH it still rides good and is easy to handle. It is mediocre at best as far as blocking road noise. The AC is excellent, the radio (I think it's original) plays well, and there is an extra input to plug in cell phone. Overall, I like it a lot. My wife hates it. She thinks it is too shaky & noisy, but she drives a 2007 E300.
Great truck
This one of the best trucks that I have ever driven. It has plenty of power and with the compact size it can really fly. The design of this truck leaves it open to modification and new looks.
kind of bitter
Is a 5-speed manual. The transmission went out, was impossible to find a used replacement. A new one will cost me 2500.00 not including labor.
200K and still going strong
Not a bit of trouble except a head gasket under warranty. Change the oil every 3,000. One set of plugs, some brakes, and a clutch. Otherwise cheap dependable transportation with hauling capability. A little slow with the A/C on but she still can hit 80.
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Features & Specs

20 city / 27 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
118 hp @ 5200 rpm
20 city / 27 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
118 hp @ 5200 rpm
20 city / 27 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
118 hp @ 5200 rpm
20 city / 27 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
118 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 1996 GMC Sonoma Regular Cab features & specs


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

More about the 1996 GMC Sonoma
Used 1996 GMC Sonoma Regular Cab Overview

The Used 1996 GMC Sonoma Regular Cab is offered in the following styles: SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab SB, SL 2dr Regular Cab SB, SL 2dr Regular Cab LB, SLE 2dr Regular Cab SB, SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab LB, SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab Stepside SB, SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB, SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB, SL 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB, SL 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB, SLE 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB, and SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab 4WD Stepside SB.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 GMC Sonoma Regular Cab?

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Which used 1996 GMC Sonoma Regular Cabs are available in my area?

Used 1996 GMC Sonoma Regular Cab Listings and Inventory

Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a prew-owned vehicle from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a used or CPO vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 GMC Sonoma Regular Cab.

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1996 GMC Sonoma Regular Cab for sale near you.

Can't find a used 1996 GMC Sonoma Sonoma Regular Cab you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used GMC Sonoma for sale - 7 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $10,298.

Find a used GMC for sale - 5 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $11,417.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Sonoma for sale - 9 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $23,398.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC for sale - 1 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $11,399.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 GMC Sonoma?

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 GMC lease specials
Check out GMC Sonoma lease specials