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The GMC Syclone looks like a truck but is closer to a Corvette or a Buick Grand National than the Sonoma on which it was based. It used a lowered suspension and all-wheel drive to handle the power from the 280-hp 4.3-liter turbocharged V6. For that reason, it was more adept at trips to the drag strip than the local home improvement store. But how much could the GMC Syclone haul and tow? The short answer is less than you think. For the long explanation, read on.    

GMC produced the Syclone for only 2 years

A black 1991 GMC Syclone parked outdoors.
1991 GMC Syclone | Getty Images

Looking at the Buick Grand National and Corvette ZR1, GMC must have felt left out. Or maybe the automaker wanted its own sports car. The problem was the Corvette’s 5.7-liter V8 was too large to fit easily into the Sonoma without significant modifications. But the 4.3-liter V6 dropped in perfectly. So GMC heavily revised the V6 engine, reinforcing it to handle turbocharging. 

The result was a small truck with 280 hp and an appetite for embarrassing the best sports cars of the day. Even the Corvette wasn’t immune to a beatdown from the Syclone, capable of 4.3-second sprints to 60 mph.  

Unfortunately, though the Syclone could fly down the drag strip, sales never took off the way GMC had hoped. The company built only 3,000 Syclone units in two years (1991 and 1992), making this truck rare today. But with its squared-off low profile, black paint, and stunning performance, it has become a modern classic in high demand.  

The GMC Syclone’s towing capacity was less than a modern small crossover or wagon 

Although the Syclone had supercar performance, it had the towing capacity of a Honda CR-V. The points that made it a performance legend, specifically the lowered suspension and all-wheel drive, made it practically useless as a truck. 

According to Edmunds, a 1991 GMC Sonoma equipped with the standard V6 and towing package could pull about 5,000 pounds or haul 1,400 pounds of payload. The Syclone could barely tow 2,000 pounds or haul 500 pounds. That’s about the same capacity as a C4 or C5 Corvette, MotorTrend reports. 

That towing capacity means the Syclone could pull jet skis or a couple of motorcycles. But if you want something to tow a horse trailer or a vintage car, look elsewhere.   

GMC built its performance truck for speed 

Looking at the Syclone, you would expect it to perform like a truck. With its ground effects and a cool graphics package, it looks like a sporty GMC Sonoma, but one likely to pose a threat on the drag strip or even at the stop light or on the freeway onramp.   

That’s what made it the ultimate sleeper. Corvette owners, and even Ferrari and Porsche drivers, learned the hard way not to mess with the Syclone. In its day, it was as fast as or faster than anything on four wheels. Today, people still dismiss it as a nice old truck. But though it’s old, it’s still fast, and if you’re not careful, you’ll be admiring its taillights as it pulls away. 


Here’s Why the 1991 GMC Syclone Had the Ground Clearance of a Sports Car