1999 GMC Sonoma Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Sporty styling, fuel-efficient base engine, powerful optional V6.
  • Cheesy interior plastics, spotty build quality, low seating positions.
List Price Estimate
$841 - $1,758

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Vehicle overview

Looking for a way to distinguish the GMC Sonoma from the pedestrian Chevrolet S-10, marketers have decided to sell the Sonoma as a capable alternative to the traditional sporty coupe. With an aggressive look, available sport suspensions, a third-door extended cab, snazzy Sportside bed and a strong 4.3-liter V6 under the hood, it shouldn't be a hard sell.

Despite this new advertising image, Sonomas can be fitted to suit just about any requirement, from strict utility hauler to off-road bruiser. Choose from three wheelbases, three cabs, a short box or long box in Wideside or Sportside configuration and two- or four-wheel drive. Then, you still have to consider three trim levels (SL, SLS, SLE), three engines (a four-cylinder or two V6 choices), a manual or automatic shift, and no less than seven different suspension systems-three for 2WD and four for 4WD models. Whew!

GMC substantially improved the Sonoma inside and out last year, so minor revisions were on tap this time around. Four-wheel-drive models, which already have four-wheel disc brakes standard, now get GM's AutoTrac, an electronic two-speed transfer case that detects wheel slippage and automatically directs power to the axle with the most traction-all at the push of a button. Other minor upgrades, such as new colors, bigger outside mirrors and a content theft alarm with remote keyless entry, round out the changes for '99.

With the high-output, 180-horsepower Vortec 4300 V6 on tap, and the ZQ8 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. If off-roading is your thing, GMC offers the Highrider, sporting a reinforced frame (four inches wider, two inches taller) and beefed-up suspension riding on three-ply all-terrain tires. The GMC Sonoma can outperform Ford's Ranger on or off the pavement, but when it comes to interior fittings, Ford still has the General beat by a wide margin.

Inside, Sonomas and Chevrolet S-Series pickups are virtually identical, with a roomy cab and modern dash layout. Center stack controls are canted toward the driver for improved access. Unfortunately, the cloth trim and carpeting feel thin and plastic used for dash panels and switchgear still looks as though it was sourced from Fisher Price. On extended cab trucks, an optional left-side access panel makes loading passengers or cargo into the rear of the cab much easier, but choosing the three-door cab eliminates one of the rear foldout jump seats.

For our money, the Ford Ranger, Dodge Dakota and Toyota Tacoma come across as more refined vehicles than the Sonoma, and their sticker prices reflect this impression. But in the compact truck value-per-dollar equation, GMC just might best deliver all the goods you're seeking-especially if what you're after is a sporty little truck able to sprint like a sports car off the line and through the twisties.

1999 Highlights

The '99 Sonoma touts four new exterior colors, a new steering wheel with mini-module depowered airbag and larger, more robust outside rearview mirrors, with the uplevel power mirror gaining a heated feature. AutoTrac, GM's electronic push-button two-speed transfer case, is now standard on four-wheel-drive models, and all Sonomas get a content theft alarm with remote keyless entry as well as a flash-to-pass headlamp feature for the smart stalk. Serious four-wheelers can now order composite skid plates.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1999 GMC Sonoma.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great ride for a truck
rocket3,11/04/2010
I was surprised how this truck handles in corners, I didn't expect that GM has some great things in their products. Well built and very reliable
This truck is too small!
youngblooddale,12/31/2003
This truck is cute, but that's about all it has going for it. There is no leg room, no arm room, put it this way, you might feel more comfortable in an airplane riding in coach. And please don't pick up a passenger, they'll hate you for it. Hopefully you don't live in a town with hills or mountains, because this little guy has no power. This is the type of vehicle you want to test drive for a few days or even rent.
Fun Truck
Keithwilgus,06/15/2004
Fun to drive. Very responsive, quick but very rough ride.
99 Sonoma SLS 4.3, v6, 4x4, 3 door
herb25,04/01/2011
After going through 3 cars that did not last as long as they should have, I got this truck last year. It had 200000kms on it, the motor sounded like new. The previous owner did not replace the faulty gas gauge which meant changing the fuel pump. I ran out of gas twice before I learned and had the fuel pump replaced (the faulty sending unit is part of the pump). Also the passenger seat would not recline, a mistake at the factory so I bought a parts truck ( 2000 Blazer ) and took the seat from it. I got the truck for $6000, safieted and etested, but so far I have had to replace the rear brake lines, and 3 calipers, gas tank, fuel pump, and rad, signal light switch.

Features & Specs

MPG
20 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
120 hp @ 5000 rpm
MPG
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
180 hp @ 4400 rpm
MPG
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
180 hp @ 4400 rpm
MPG
15 city / 20 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
180 hp @ 4400 rpm
See all Used 1999 GMC Sonoma features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver2 / 5
    Passenger3 / 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
    Marginal

More about the 1999 GMC Sonoma

Used 1999 GMC Sonoma Overview

The Used 1999 GMC Sonoma is offered in the following submodels: Sonoma Regular Cab, Sonoma Extended Cab. Available styles include SLE 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SL 2dr Regular Cab LB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SL 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab 4WD LB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SL 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLE 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab LB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLS Sport 2dr Extended Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SL 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLE 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl 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 Extended Cab 4WD SB (4.3L 6cyl naturally aspired 5M), SLS Sport 2dr Regular Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl 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), and SLS Sport 2dr Extended Cab SB (2.2L 4cyl naturally aspired 5M).

What's a good price on a Used 1999 GMC Sonoma?

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Which used 1999 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) 1999 GMC Sonoma for sale near. 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 1999 GMC Sonoma.

Can't find a used 1999 GMC Sonomas you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used GMC Sonoma for sale - 7 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $8,447.

Find a used GMC for sale - 10 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $19,309.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC Sonoma for sale - 10 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $10,016.

Find a used certified pre-owned GMC for sale - 6 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $24,363.

Should I lease or buy a 1999 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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