1996 GMC Sonoma Review


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List Price Estimate
$639 - $1,356

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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.

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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.
Nice truck
GMC Sonoma 4x4,03/10/2005
I have had this truck for 4 years and I purchsed it with 79,000 miles on it and I have nothing but a great experience with this truck. I now have over 193,000 miles on it and it runs almost like new. I change the oil every 3000 miles and the ride isn't bad for a truck. The only thing I had to do to this truck was install a new wiper motor which I installed and that's about it. I like how reliable this trucks been and the 4 wheel drive works perfectly.
Reliable Truck! 4cyl manual
No major mechanical problems for over 10 yrs! 138K only regular maintenance. Still running and am ready to trade in for another Sonoma. Bought new at $300 above invoice.

Features & Specs

See all Used 1996 GMC Sonoma 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 Overview

The Used 1996 GMC Sonoma is offered in the following submodels: Sonoma Regular Cab, Sonoma Extended Cab. Available styles include SL 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLE 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SL 2dr Regular Cab LB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab LB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLS Sport 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLE 2dr Extended Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLS Sport 2dr Extended Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLE 2dr Extended Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLS Sport 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLE 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLS Sport 2dr Extended Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLE 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLE 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SL 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), and SL 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M).

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

Price comparisons for Used 1996 GMC Sonoma trim styles:

  • The Used 1996 GMC Sonoma SLS Sport is priced between $1,199 and$1,199 with odometer readings between 259258 and259258 miles.

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 GMC Sonomas 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 GMC Sonoma for sale near. There are currently 1 used and CPO 1996 Sonomas listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $1,199 and mileage as low as 259258 miles. 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 GMC Sonoma.

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

Find a used GMC Sonoma for sale - 12 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $14,126.

Find a used GMC for sale - 7 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $18,863.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Sonoma for sale - 7 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $14,238.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC for sale - 11 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $23,076.

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.

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