Used 2001 GMC Sonoma Extended Cab Review

Edmunds expert review

We know the value of an old trusty pickup, but in the Sonoma's case, it's just plain old. A redesign is on the way in a couple years, but if you need a compact truck now, better check out the competition first.




What's new for 2001

An all-new model has been added to the Sonoma lineup for 2001, a four-door Crew Cab, complete with Vortec 4300 V6, automatic transmission, InstaTrac four-wheel-drive system and SLS trim. Powertrain improvements incorporate an advanced control module for the V6 and flex-fuel capability for the four-cylinder. There are also new aluminum wheels with the sport suspension, and programmable automatic power door locks.

Vehicle overview

With an aggressive look, available sport suspension, third-door extended cab, snazzy Sportside bed and a strong 4.3-liter V6 under the hood, GMC's Sonoma has been positioned as a more versatile alternative to the traditional sporty coupe. But with the addition of a true, four-door Crew Cab model this year, Sonomas can be configured to suit just about any driving requirement, from people or utility hauler to off-road bruiser. You can choose from three wheelbases, four cabs (regular, two- or three-door extended, and now four-door crew), a short box or long box in Wideside or Sportside versions and two- or four-wheel drive. Then, you still have to consider three trim levels (SL, SLS and SLE), two engines (a four-cylinder or V6), a manual or automatic transmission, and no less than five different suspensions (three for 2WD and two for 4WD models). Whew!

Four-wheel-drive models, which have four-wheel disc brakes and GM's electronic InstaTrac transfer case standard, are motivated by a 190-horsepower Vortec 4300 V6 (with 250 foot-pounds of torque). Opt for the 4.3 in a 2WD Sonoma, and it'll deliver 180 horses. The base powertrain is a 120-horse, 2.2-liter four-cylinder mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. A four-speed automatic is optional on all but the new Crew Cab, where it's standard. Two-wheel-drive buyers can choose from an all-purpose "smooth-ride" suspension, a firmer "heavy-duty" setup, or a handling-oriented ZQ8 "sport" version. With a "high-payload" suspension standard on 4WD trucks, you'll want to order the High-Rider package if serious off-roading is part of your driving mix. Tagged the ZR2 option, High-Riders boast a bigger, reinforced frame, beefy shocks and three-ply all-terrain tires.

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 a toy company. On extended-cab trucks, an optional left-side access door makes loading/unloading a breeze, but choosing the three-door cab eliminates one of the rear fold-out jump seats.

Outfit a Sonoma with the 180-horse V6 and five-speed stick and add the ZQ8 sport suspension, and this little truck performs as energetically as some sports cars did a decade ago. The curvy Sportside box and sharp, new five-spoke alloys nicely complement the package, turning the Sonoma into a true factory sport truck. Sure, competitors from Ford and Toyota come across as more refined than Sonoma, and the one from Dodge feels large enough to be in a class by itself. But if you're looking for a sporty hauler or just a compact that can carry the whole crew, Sonoma's the hot ticket.






Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.