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SEE ALSO:Chevrolet Buyer's Guide

It's no longer front page news that pickup trucks are the best selling vehicles in the country. What is interesting though is, like passenger cars in the past few years, the pickup truck market has also become quite segmented. What was once considered a work truck has branched out into a series of vehicles of many sizes, drive trains and uses. The compact pickup truck is one of the fastest growing classes in this group, and its extended cab models are continually increasing in popularity. This combination offers the flexibility of a six foot cargo bed that can handle a variety of chores, along with the added passenger and/or secure storage space afforded by the larger cab.

Since the first S-10's were introduced in 1982 over 20 million have been sold, and many important modifications and additions have been made. The 1994 model year marks the first time this venerable versatile vehicle has been almost completely redone. Also two new special series have been added; a Super Sport and a ZR2 Performance package. S-10's are now available with standard or extended cabs, two- or four-wheel drive, stick or automatic transmissions and for some models, short or long cargo beds.

APPEARANCE: The exterior styling of the new S-10 extended cab pickup is rounded and aerodynamic. In LS trim it features a bold, bright grille, coated bumper and lower air intake, wide fender flares, truck-style side mirrors, wrap-around tail lights, a low-step bumper with side-fascia, plus an easy opening and removable tailgate. The double- wall bed features side stake pockets and tie-down loops. All glass is tinted and near-flush mounted, and the rear side windows push out to open. Alloy wheels are part of the V6 engine package, and the spare tire tucks up out of sight underneath the bed.

COMFORT: Car-like dimensions and amenities enhance the interior of the LS version of the extended cab S-10. Cloth covered comfortable manual tilt-and-slide bucket seats, power mirrors, doors and windows, a fairly quiet air-conditioner and a good sounding four-speaker AM/FM/cassette system contribute to the passenger car feeling. Each visor is equipped with a vanity mirror, and for accessories there are two power outlets. Along with storage space in the glove box, doors and center console, there are cup holders for all. In back there are two pull-down jump seats with lap straps that provide minimal face- to-face seating. When these seats are up there's an adequate amount of secure inside storage space for groceries, golf clubs, suit cases or whatever.

ROADABILITY: It's body-on-ladder-type-frame construction provides a solid foundation for the S-10 pickup. The base suspension is designed for, and delivers, a smooth ride. There are seven packages of coordinated components - springs, shocks, stabilizer bars and tires - to suit a variety of needs from commuting to hauling to off-roading. Four- wheel anti-lock braking is part of the LS trim and V6 engine combination. A hands-on driving demonstration on a slick, wet surface definitely proved the safety value of positive accident avoidance and quick stopping with ABS. Positive-feel power steering, which is standard equipment of all S-10's makes it easy to maneuver and park. Vision is excellent and thanks to additional new styles of insulation and double weather stripping the ride is passenger-car quiet.

PERFORMANCE: An optional and enhanced 4.3 liter V6 engine that can deliver 195 horsepower was installed in this S-10. The L35 12 valve, pushrod, overhead valve powerplant has been updated for 1994 to make it quieter, more fuel efficient and to deliver more low-end torque. It is mated to the 4L60-E electronically controlled Hydra-matic transmission. A powertrain control module allows this transmission to gather and analyze the results of the vehicles driving experience to establish optimum shift points for quiet and smooth shifting as well as improved fuel economy and emission control. The result is a balanced performance potential well-matched to a variety of load, road and weather conditions.

SUGGESTIONS: Add an outside bed light. Install height-adjustable shoulder harness on B pillars.

CONCLUSIONS: In planning the new S-Series both owner and dealer input was solicited to develop a unique "inside/out" design process that pinpointed the major areas that needed improvement. This diligent research brought forth a family of five new compact pickups that are larger on the inside, stronger on the outside, and offer a variety of suspension systems and powertrain combinations that can be used for work or play on almost anywhere on any type of road in any weather.

PRICE AS TESTED: $ 15,611 including V6 package, plus air conditioning and upgrade radio.

BASE PRICE: $ 11,790 with LS trim, extended cab and two-wheel drive.


           Base Price              $  11,790
           Price As Tested         $  15,611
           Engine Type             V-6, ohv - pushrod, efi
           Engine Size             4.3 liter/262 cid
           Horsepower              195 @ 4500
           Torque (ft/lbs)         260 @ 3600
           Wheelbase/Length        123"/203"
           Box Size  Length        6 feet
           Payload                 1,400 pounds
           Tow Capacity            6,000 pounds
           Transmission            four-speed automatic w/od
           Curb Weight             3100
           Pounds per Horsepower   16
           Fuel Capacity           20
           Fuel Requirement        Unleaded midrange (89 oct)
           Tires                   Uniroyal Tiger Paws P 205/75R15 M+S
           Brakes                  anti-lock standard   disc/drum
           Drive Train             front engine/rear drive     
           EPA Economy - miles per gallon,
             city/highway/observed     NA/NA/NA
           0 to 60 mph                 9.7
           1/4 mi (E.T.)               17.1 sec
           Coefficient of Drag  (Cd)   .44