Used 1997 GMC Sonoma Extended Cab

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1997 GMC Sonoma
List price range
1997 GMC Sonoma

Pros

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

Cons

  • Shabby build quality, uncomfortable seats, rattly third door option

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Compact trucks are hot sellers, and GMC's entry into that market delivers hard-to-beat value--even if it doesn't stand at the top of its class in every way. A driver airbag with knee bolster and daytime running lights are standard. All Sonomas are equipped with four-wheel antilock braking, and a handy side access panel is optional on the extended cab.

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 Sportside configuration, and two- or four-wheel drive. Whew! You still have to consider three trim levels, five suspension systems, three engines (a four or two V6 choices), and manual or automatic shift.

GMC changes little for 1997. Extended cab models can be equipped with the Sport Suspension for the first time, and powertrains have been improved for better efficiency. Order bucket seats and a center console, and you'll get a floor-mounted shifter rather than one sticking out of the steering column. Remote keyless entry key fobs are redesigned, and Fairway Green and Smoky Caramel replace Radar Purple and Bright Teal on the color chart. Plug-in half-shafts on 4WD models are lighter-weight and easier to service.

With the high-output, 180-horsepower Vortec 4300 V6 on tap, and the 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 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 Nissan Truck is more archaic.

Inside, Sonomas and Chevrolet S-Series pickups are virtually identical, with a roomy cab marred by an aesthetic disaster of a dashboard, which looks and feels as though it were lifted from some defunct Buick project, and uncomfortable bucket seats. A passenger airbag is unavailable. On extended cab trucks, an optional left side access panel makes loading passengers or cargo into the rear of the cab much easier, but takes the place of one of the fold-out jump seats in the rear.

Ford's Ranger, Dodge's Dakota, and Toyota's 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.

1997 Highlights

Changes are limited to new colors, availability of the Sport Suspension on extended cab models, engine and transmission improvements, lighter-weight plug-in half shafts for 4WD Sonomas and console-mounted shifter for trucks equipped with a center console and bucket seats.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1997 GMC Sonoma.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Excellent
Desert Sonoma,12/03/2008
The current Sonoma I drive has been well cared for and has had few major repairs. I received it from my family in 2003, but was purchased in 9/1997. My experience has been that it requires very little maintence and was well built. Except for regular oil and lube, has endured large amounts of travel in the last 3 years has held up very well. The model I have is not the most comfortable, but I am satisfied with design. The a/c performs well as well a the heater.
Awesome Pickup
jcott06,01/07/2008
This truck drives like a car, and has the comfort like one. Very fun to drive in snow has superb handling. Very powerful engine. Only problems I had was the weather stripping dry rotting and it rusted really bad both sides of the cabin, lower part. Other than that really great truck. A must buy
terrible build
Joi,08/22/2009
I do love my truck its looks good. Other than that since I've owned it it has spent more time in a parking spot. One thing after another from a tensioner to the transmission has approx 87,000 miles. the transmission is a good one I've reseached it and it has many many applications I think that the inside apecs should have been researched a bit more this is probally the nost popular transmission the 4L60 just has different for each vehicle Never should have put a 4 cylinder automatic in an extended cab
Adequate truck, good value
Phil Graf,08/25/2016
This is the second GMC Sonoma that I've owned (both used). They are solid and a lot less pricey than the Toyota Tacomas. It's a good looking little truck that is pleasant to operate. The 4.3 L engine seems to be this truck's best feature. Shifting (automatic) is sometimes jerky, but not too bad. These trucks have a typical rear leaf spring fracture, and I ended up with a whole new set of rear springs and shocks all around. The plastic GMC uses for their interiors must be made by the Mattel toy company -- cracks easily and is very hard to repair. Sounds like I don't like the truck, but I do. It's been reliable, and is relatively comfortable. Rear jump seats are pretty much useless, and the rear area (extended cab) is difficult to access unless you get the third door -- which I WISH I had held out for! Bought the truck used with under 100K, now have 140K and could sell it for more than I paid. Overall a decent little truck that will haul WAY over its rated load capacity. I get 18.5 around town and 21 - 22 on long highway trips. UPDATE: I put on a set of Hancook tires with a more aggressive (but not too extreme) tread pattern that is pretty good off-road, but not so great on the highway -- a little squirrely tracking, and they have reduced my milage by one to one & a half miles. Great tires, just not fuel efficient, so now I'm getting about 17 around town and probably 20 - 21 hwy. Still like the vehicle, and how have just about 150,000 on it.
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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
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
180 hp @ 4400 rpm
See all Used 1997 GMC Sonoma Extended Cab 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 GMC Sonoma
Used 1997 GMC Sonoma Extended Cab Overview

The Used 1997 GMC Sonoma Extended Cab is offered in the following styles: SLS Sport 2dr Extended Cab SB, SLE 2dr Extended Cab Stepside SB, SLS Sport 2dr Extended Cab Stepside SB, SLE 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB, SLE 2dr Extended Cab SB, SLE 2dr Extended Cab 4WD Stepside SB, SLS Sport 2dr Extended Cab 4WD Stepside SB, and SLS Sport 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB.

What's a good price on a Used 1997 GMC Sonoma Extended Cab?

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Which used 1997 GMC Sonoma Extended Cabs are available in my area?

Used 1997 GMC Sonoma Extended Cab Listings and Inventory

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Can't find a used 1997 GMC Sonoma Sonoma Extended Cab you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used GMC Sonoma for sale - 3 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $25,088.

Find a used GMC for sale - 11 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $24,802.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Sonoma for sale - 1 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $13,177.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC for sale - 7 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $20,649.

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Should I lease or buy a 1997 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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