The Most Interesting Chevy S10 Pickup Trims

The S10 was Chevy’s compact truck from 1981-2004 in North America. It was a basic quarter-ton truck that only had two generations and never saw a V8. Nevertheless, in true Chevy fashion, there were some interesting trims applied to it and rightfully garnered some niche attention. Several car companies built their own version of the S10, including Isuzu’s Hombre and GMC’s S-15. In 2004 Chevy swapped the S10 for the Colorado, which survives to this day. Here are some of the most interesting Chevy S10 trims.

Turbo Influence: 1991 GMC Syclone

Around the end of the S10’s first generation, GMC released the Syclone as a high-performance variant of the S10 and S-15. It moved under 280 horsepower from a 4.3-liter turbocharged V6 and had all-wheel drive and ABS on all four wheels. It also had a limited-slip differential, and a 4-speed automatic transmission mated to the engine. 

Power distribution was 35-percent to the front and 65-percent to the rear, according to Car and Driver. Thanks to its torque converter, the Syclone experiences little turbo lag and gets going off the line with minimal slip.

The S10 goes all-electric in 1997

white chevy s10
Chevrolet S10 | Chevrolet

Well into its second generation, Chevy released a truly unique spectacle, as the all-electric S10. It’s not so unique for today’s climate, but back in 1997, this wasn’t the norm. The electric S10 ran on 27 batteries conjuring 114 horsepower and 85 kilowatts. This gave the truck 45 miles of range, and thanks to its 220v and 110v ports, could fully recharge in 2.5 hours. 

An owner of this truck could theoretically drive it to work and fully charge it by the end of the day. Utility fleets leased the electric S10 until it was discontinued in 1998. Chevy only sold 60 units out of 500 built and destroyed the rest to protect Chevy’s research developments. For its rarity, the electric S10 is fairly cheap, at around $3,000.

S10 braces itself for off-roading: ZR2

chevy s10 at sertoes rally 2008
Chevrolet S10 during the 7th stage of the Rally of Sertoes 2008 | EVARISTO SA/AFP via Getty Images

The second-generation Chevy S10 got another interesting trim in the form of the ZR2. It only had one engine option, which was a naturally aspirated 4.3-liter V6 spitting out 190 horsepower. It came standard with a five-speed manual transmission, but its real character lied in its suspension. Chevy outfitted the S10 with double-wishbone front suspension by Bilstein with a 3-inch lift. It also came with a locking differential, sporting a low gear ratio for more low-end torque. Like the Syclone, the ZR2 also got ABS on all four wheels.

The Chevy S10 lasted a short while on this green Earth, but its reputation is solidified as a reliable, small truck and capable of everyday tasks. Either generation is highly rated, however, some owners advise against the 2.8-liter V6, which was an option for the first generation. They cite low power, which can be an absolute nightmare when driving a truck. Chevrolet also offered the S10 as an SUV, called the Blazer. It might be an older truck by now, but there are still plenty on the road which speaks to its status.

RELATED: Chevy S-10 vs. Ford Ranger: The Original Electric Trucks