2000 Chevrolet S-10 Reviews and Ratings

Regular Cab

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2000 Chevrolet S-10
John Matras

Once upon a time, a pickup could be a truck and just a truck. No longer. Today, pickups are being used as cars with big open trunks. Sure, you can still by a base Chevrolet S-10 with vinyl seats and full-floor vinyl covering, and many are purchased just that way for the hose-out convenience of commercial users.

But most Chevy S-10 buyers gravitate to the LS model. With its full carpeting and velour "Deluxe Custom Cloth" seats, it's much more like that "other" car in the driveway, except that other car won't bring home sacks of manure or carry an ATV in its trunk. The S-10 LS can do either and still provide car-like comfort - or close to it - even with four-wheel drive. Model Lineup
There are two basic models in the S-10 pickup line, the rubber-floormat base model and the LS, which offers full civilian comfort.

That's only the beginning, however, as the S-10, like most pickups, comes in a variety of configurations. Both are available with either conventional rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The regular cab 2WD S-10 is available with in short box, long box and extended cab versions that span wheelbases of 108.3 inches, 117.9 inches and 122.9 inches respectively. The 4x4 models come in regular cab short box or extended cab models only. The standard engine on 4x2 models is a 120-horsepower 2.2-liter four-cylinder with a 5-speed manual transmission. A 180-horsepower 4.3-liter V6 is an option on 2WD S-10s; all 4WD S-10s come standard with the V6, which is tuned to produce 190 horsepower. A 4-speed automatic is optional with either engine.

Two option packages are, as far as we are concerned, separate models unto themselves: the Xtreme, a low ride-height highly styled cruising truck, and the ZR2 Wide Stance Sport Performance Package that, with a higher ride height, wider track and even a stronger frame, is ready for the toughest of off-road duties. Walkaround
With all the options and various configurations, it's difficult to pick a "typical" S-10 pickup. We decided, however, to test the 4x4 LS with an automatic transmission. The 4x4 mode gives the S-10 added traction in slippery conditions and makes it more capable in mild off-roading, though its primary use is intended for paved or gravel roads. It also helps getting back up slippery boat launch ramps, and is recommended for heavy-duty hauling.

The 4x4 doesn't shout its identity. The P235/75R15 on/off road tires are a hint. And if you know your S-10 wheel availability chart, you'll know that these five-spoke aluminum wheels are available only with four-wheel drive. Our test truck came with the Chrome Appearance Group, which includes front and rear chrome bumpers with rub strips, body side molding with bright inserts and bright wheelhouse moldings. ("Bright," of course, is car company talk for "shiny but not really chrome.")

The S-10 mimics the big Chevy pickups with the horizontal bar grille, and has nicely rounded contours that are inoffensive overall but are straightforward truck. No trick, no gimmicks, just sincere serviceability. Our test truck had an accessory bedliner available from dealers, good for keeping the double-wall pickup box safe from dents and scratches. The bed has four tie-downs, one at the upper edge of each corner. More would be helpful, actually, in securing loads of various sizes. The tailgate drops for a 27.2-inch lift-over height, actually lower than the long box and extended cab 4x2 S-10s. Interior
The interior is nicely finished in a premium cloth that resembles velour. Our truck had a charcoal interior theme that looked like it would hold up to regular use. The door panels included cloth sections, but frequent touch areas around the door controls and rear sill area were covered in vinyl. The cloth feels good to the touch. From the radio dials to the dashboard, it's obvious Chevrolet spent a lot of time and energy into getting the appropriate feel, mostly soft-touch, for the interior appointments. Our test truck had the optional leather-wrapped steering wheel; it has the minipack airbag that not only give a better view of the gauges but also lets the steering wheel look like a steering wheel, not a pillow with a hand grip.

The S-10 has full instrumentation that's easily legible day or night. The four-wheel-drive controls are fully electronic, push buttons easily reached on the dash. Although the system is part-time only, the system allows shift-on-the-fly into and out of 4-high.

The truck must be stopped to shift the transfer case into 4-low, of course, but it still only requires pushing a button. A neutral position is also available that allows the truck to be flat towed without disconnecting driveshafts.

The radio and heating and air conditioning controls are large, legible and so easy to use that their respective sections in the owners manual may never be read.

Our S-10 had the $295 optional third door. Chevrolet puts the third door on its full-size pickups on the passenger side, presuming that the rear door will more often be used by passenger who will wish to exit on the curb side. The S-10, on the other hand, has its third door on the driver's side, the logic being that it would more often be used by the driver for stowing extra gear. But when dropping off someone at the curb, it means they must venture into traffic to get to any cargo. Chevy is correct, however, in presuming that the jump seat in the extended cab will seldom be used for passengers. It's cramped for an adult, and requires that the front passenger seat be moved forward to permit any kind of shoulder room. Driving Impressions
First things first. The 4WD Chevy S-10 is a truck. It has a live rear axle on leaf springs and a gross vehicle weight rating of 5150 pounds over a curb weight of 3616 pounds, and a heavy 4x4 drivetrain attached to the front hubs. So ride will be compromised. One can't expect a truck to ride like a car. And it doesn't. You can feel the front wheels trying to continue to bounce after hitting a bump, and the load-carrying rear springs not wanting to compress over minor bumps in the road.

That said, the S-10 rides well over smooth pavement and the Goodyear tires are quiet. The engine is smooth. It's silent at idle and quiet down the road, and not particularly loud at full throttle. There's only a minimum of wind noise. A long trip on smooth asphalt would be a delight, though frost-heaved concrete would be a nightmare.

The V6 engine is not only quiet, but strong as well. Its 250 foot-pounds of torque responds instantly to propel the S-10 through traffic, whether accelerating to merge onto the freeway or to pass a semi on a two-lane road. Earlier examples of this engine have been thrashy at high rpm, but over the years it has been refined to where it is not as slick as, say, a BMW six, but you won't go reaching for your earplugs when you get in the truck.

The S-10 tracks well, with little correction required to maintain a straight line. The predominant cornering mode is understeer, which suits a pickup well, as adding a load shifts weight balance rearward. Unloaded, the front tires will moan a protest long before danger of exceeding their limits is reached. Add 600 pounds of cinder block in the bed and the ride will be smoother and the cornering balance more even. It will ruin your around-town fuel mileage however, and increase your braking distances, though not severely. According to EPA tests, you can expect 17 mpg in city driving and 22 on the highway with the automatic transmission. Summary
It all comes down to this. The Chevrolet S-10 is a truck. It rides like a truck, it corners like a truck and, as a truck, it has more cargo room than passenger room. If that is what you need, or if that is what you want, you most likely won't mind a ride that will never compare to that of an automobile. In that regard, the S-10 is like a steel glove lined with, well, not velvet, but velour.

A Chevy pickup is a safe buy, a known quantity with dealer service in every other town, which is nice to know even if you don't need it as much as you once did. Just remember: It's a truck, and if that's what you want, the S-10 will make you happy.

Model as tested
4WD Fleetside LS Longbox Extended Cab ($20,066)
Basic Warranty
3 years/36,000 miles
Assembled in
Shreveport, LA
Destination charge
Gas guzzler tax
Base Price
Price as tested
Options as tested
ETR AM/FM/CD stereo ($180); Survival Pak Package ($1,232) includes AM/FM stereo radio w/ cassette, clock; a/c, aluminum wheels, floor mats; 4-speed automatic transmission ($1,095); Convenience Group ($795) includes power windows, locks, heated outside rearview mirrors; tilt wheel & speed control ($395), chrome appearance package ($295) includes front and rear chrome bumpers, body side moldings, bright wheel house moldings; third door ($295); locking rear differential ($270); P235/75R15 on/off road steel belt white letter tires ($143); underbody shield package ($126); sliding rear window ($120); fog lamps ($115); deep tinted glass ($115); full size spare ($95); leather wrapped steering wheel ($54); destination charge ($520); less Survival Pak Savings (-$1,505)

Model Line Overview
Model lineup
2WD Fleetside Base Shortbox Regular Cab ($12,590); 2WD Fleetside LS Shortbox Regular Cab ($13,612); 2WD Fleetside LS Shortbox Extended Cab ($12,941); 2WD Fleetside LS Longbox Regular Cab ($13,963); 4WD Fleetside LS Shortbox Extended Cab ($18,016)
Safety equipment (standard)
4-wheel antilock brakes, dual airbags w/passenger side deactivation switch, steel side door beams, child seat top strap anchor
Safety equipment (optional)
4.3-liter ohv 12v V6
4-speed automatic

Specifications as Tested
Insta-trac 4x4 transfer case, variable-ratio power steering, 4-wheel disc power brakes, ETR AM/FM stereo, lighter & two power outlets, intermittent wiper/washer, retained accessory power, battery rundown protection

Engine & Transmission
4.3-liter ohv 12v V6
Drivetrain type
front-engine, four-wheel drive
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
190 @ 4400
EPA fuel economy, city/hwy
Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm)

Brakes, front/rear
Suspension, front
Suspension, rear
live axle

Seating capacity
Head/hip/leg room, middle
Head/hip/leg room, front
Head/hip/leg room, rear

Fuel capacity
Trunk volume
Turning circle
Towing capacity
Track, front/rear
Ground clearance
Curb weight

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