Compact pickup truck; Built in USA
  • crew cab
  • ext. cab
  • reg. cab long bed
  • reg. cab short bed
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,500 – $8,000*

1994 Chevrolet S10 SS regular cab

1994 Chevrolet S10 extended cab

1996 Chevrolet S Series ZR2 4WD extended cab

1996 Chevrolet S Series extended cab

1994 Chevrolet S10 interior

  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Optional third door (1996-later)
  • Handling
  • Instruments/controls
  • Passenger room
  • Ride (2WD models)
  • Fuel economy
  • Rear-seat room (extended cab)
  • Ride (4WD models)

In their latest form, these compact pickups rank among the best in overall performance, ergonomics, and refinement. A Dodge Dakota has heftier hauling ability and an available V8 engine, but most buyers will be pleased with the Chevrolet. It outsells the Dakota and is a worthy contender to the sales-leading Ford Ranger.


Chevrolet redesigned its compact S10 pickups for 1994 on a modified version of the prior platform with longer bodies. Again sharing styling with GMC’s Sonoma, pickups had rear or 4-wheel drive, regular or extended cabs, and 4-cylinder or V6 engines. Side door-guard beams and a center high-mounted stoplamp were installed. Wheelbases were the same as before. Cargo beds measured 6 feet (short) or 7.5 feet (long). All three body styles gained about 10 inches in overall length. Rear antilock braking was standard on 4-cylinder models, but V6 trucks got 4-wheel ABS that worked in both rear-wheel drive and 4WD. Cabs gained three inches in shoulder room. The redesigned dashboard featured round analog gauges and soft-touch rotary climate controls, and a new console contained two cupholders. Base and upscale LS models went on sale. A Super Sport package included the “enhanced” 195-horsepower V6 engine, automatic, and a sport suspension. A ZR2 off-road package gave the 4WD regular cab a 4-inch-wider track, 3-inch higher stance, and an off-road suspension/tire setup.

Yearly Updates

1995 S-Series Pickup
A driver-side airbag arrived for 1995, as Chevrolet replaced the previous S10 designation with S-Series nomenclature. Daytime running lights became standard during the model year. Backlighting was added to switches for power windows, locks, and mirrors.
1996 S-Series Pickup
A rear side door became optional on extended cabs during ’96, and a Sportside model with flared-fender cargo bed joined the Fleetside trucks. The optional door is on the driver’s side and cannot be opened unless the front door is opened. All S-Series models, including 4-cylinder trucks, now had 4-wheel antilock braking, operating in both 2WD and 4WD. Both V6 engines were revised, joining GM’s Vortec family.
1997 S-Series Pickup
An optional floor shifter for the automatic transmission was the main change for 1997.
1998 S-Series Pickup
Chevy reverted back to S-10 nomenclature and gave its compact pickup new exterior and interior styling. The new interior added a passenger-side airbag with an on/off switch. The base engine is also revised to lower noise levels (and it gains two horsepower).
1999 S-Series Pickup
Chevy traded the sporty SS package for the even-sportier Xtreme. Available only on 2WD models, it featured a lowered suspension, body-color aero trim pieces, and 16-inch alloy wheels.
2000 S-Series Pickup
Extended-cab versions got a new base-trim model, and 4x4s gained standard bucket seats.
2001 S-10
S-10 added a 4-door crew cab and dropped the 4-wheel-drive regular cab model for 2001. The new crew cab came only in 4WD with a 4.6-foot bed. Regular cab 2001 models were only available in 2WD with a 6- or 7.3-foot cargo bed.
2002 S-10
Air conditioning and a tachometer were newly standard, and the long cargo bed, which had been dropped at the beginning of the model year, was reinstated. A 6-disc in-dash CD changer was a new option, and Crew Cabs were now available with heated front seats.
2003 S-10
Little change was evident for ’03 as replacement Colorado waited in the wings.
2004 S-10
The S-10 continues only as a 4WD 4-dr Crew Cab for ’04.


longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

A new 118-horsepower, 2.2-liter 4-cylinder served as base engine, with 5-speed manual shift or electronic 4-speed automatic. That engine was revised in ’98 with 2 more hosepower. A 165-horsepower, 4.3-liter V6 was optional (standard with 4WD), and any model might have the 195-horsepower “enhanced” version. With the ZR2 option, that engine could only have manual shift. Available 4WD was again an on-demand, part-time Insta-Trac setup. Automatic-locking hubs were standard and an electronic transfer case was available, using pushbuttons instead of a floor-mounted lever. Output of the regular V6 engine dropped by 10 horsepower (to 155) for 1995, while the enhanced engine dipped to 191 horsepower. Automatic was mandatory on SS models with the 191-horsepower engine. For 1996, both V6 engines were modified internally, becoming part of the Vortec family. The standard V6 now developed 180 horsepower (170 when installed in 2WD trucks). The step-up version was rated 190 horsepower (180 with 2WD).

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.2/134
Engine HP 118-120
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 130-140
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.3/262
Engine HP 155-180
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 235-245
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
ohv V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.3/262
Engine HP 180-195
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 245-260
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic

Road Test

Pleasant to drive, the S-Series is a solid-feeling truck. Cabins feel roomier than before, with more rearward seat travel and storage space. Extra glass area gives great visibility and an airy feel. Wind noise is reduced.

Acceleration is good with the V6. Automatic-transmission gear changes are smooth, though downshifts might be delayed for low-speed passing. An extended-cab V6 LS averaged 17.2 mpg in a long-term trial. When cold, however, that engine ran somewhat roughly, and its fan was intrusively loud. If you prefer a 4-cylinder pickup, your best bet is manual shift.

An extended-cab 2WD LS delivered ride quality as smooth as many cars. These pickups easily absorb most bumps, and take dips with minimal bouncing, but some optional tire/suspension setups are rougher. When the cargo bed is empty, the tail tends to hop over sharp bumps and ridges. Body lean is evident in turns, but the truck feels balanced and poised in directional changes. Standard antilock brakes prevent lock-up during simulated panic stops, but brake-pedal feel on early models is disturbingly spongy.


Model Tested: 1994 Chevrolet S-Series ext. cab

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.


Acceleration - 6
Fuel Economy - 3
Ride Quality - 4
Steering/Handling - 4
Quietness - 4


Controls/Materials - 4
Room/Comfort Front - 4
Room/Comfort Rear - 1
Cargo Room - 2


Value - 6

Total: 38


crew cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
122.9 204.8 67.9 63.4
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1111 18.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.4 38.2 42.4 34.6
ext. cab
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
122.9 203.3 67.9 62.2
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1460 19.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.5 NA 43.2 NA
reg. cab long bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
117.9 204.6 67.9 62.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1715 19.0 3
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.5 NA 43.2 NA
reg. cab short bed
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
108.3 188.6 67.9 62.1
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
1654 19.0 3
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.5 NA 43.2 NA
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 S-10 ext. cab


(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 2
Front Passenger Injury - 3

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 3
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A


(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Engine knock
Description: Knock in the 4.3-liter engine is usually eliminated by using an oil filter with a check valve. If this does not fix it, GM has revised PROMs for the computers and will even replace the main bearings. (1994-95)
Engine temperature
Description: Overheating and coolant loss may be due to rough surface on radiator filler neck. Neck should be sanded smooth and cap replaced. (1999-2000)
Oil consumption
Description: High oil consumption on 2.2-liter engine may be due to a loose baffle in the valve cover. (1998-2000)

Recall History

1994 w/2.2-liter engine
Description: Vacuum hose can detach from power-brake-booster check valve, as a result of engine backfire.
1994 2WD/4WD
Description: The windshield wiper motor may fail on certain vehicles. Dealer will inspect and replace affected parts.
1994-95 Postal Vehicle
Description: Loose/worn steering shaft can result in separation from steering gear.
1994-96 w/4WD and ABS
Description: Increased stopping distances can occur during ABS stops while in 2WD mode.
Description: Seatbelt webbing on certain models can separate during frontal impact.
1995 w/air conditioning and V6 engine
Description: Rivet can break and allow fan blade to separate from hub.
Description: Top coat of paint on a few trucks peels severely.
1996 2WD manual-shift w/2.2-liter engine
Description: Drive wheels could seize and lock while truck is moving.
1996-97 w/V6 engine
Description: Front brake line can contact oil pan, causing wear that may result in fluid loss.
Description: The windshield wiper motor may fail on certain vehicles. Dealer will inspect and replace affected parts.
1997-98 electric
Description: Fuel-fired heater-pipe ground strap contacts rear brake pipe, leading to premature corrosion and eventual loss of brake-pipe integrity.
Description: Fatigue fracture of rear-axle brake pipe can occur, causing slow fluid leak and resulting in soft brake pedal; if pipe breaks, driver would face sudden loss of rear-brake performance.
Description: Wiring-harness clip can melt and drip onto exhaust manifold, possibly resulting in fire.
Description: Daytime running lights do not meet FMVSS No. 108 requirements.
Description: Safety-belt retractor may not meet the locking requirements, leaving the occupant improperly restrained in a collision.
2000 w/2WD
Description: On certain vehicles, right-hand ABS module feed pipe and/or brake crossover pipe-tube nuts could have been tightened improperly; seal could have been broken, causing leakage and increasing stopping distance.
2000 w/all-disc brakes
Description: Out-of-spec spring clip in ABS motor could allow bearing to become misaligned; eventually, ABS and Dynamic Rear Proportioning system would become inoperative.
Description: Some seatbelt assemblies were not properly heat treated and do not pass the load-bearing requirement.

Equipment Lists

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Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.

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