In all years of its release, the Chevrolet S10 offered American motorists one of the best trucks to buy. All models of the vehicle were designed to be the perfect utility truck for its owner: the engines never fell short of demands, and it was always designed to be great to drive. With a reasonable price, the Chevrolet S10 offered the perfect balance of affordability, power, and handling. It isn’t any wonder then that after two generations, special trims, and various upgrades, it has become one of the most iconic and sought-after trucks to come out of the 80s.
1982-1993: A pioneer of the compact truck
The Chevrolet S10’s debut in the early 80s was also the time for the rise in demand for compact trucks. This was a replacement to the Isuzu-built Chevy LUV. Engine options included an 84 horsepower carbureted four-cylinder engine or a 110 horsepower V8. The S10’s size and output was perfect for those that didn’t need the huge juice of a full-size vehicle. As the first-generation progressed, there was an increase in engine variety and power. One notable change was the use of the
Iron Duke engine, by Pontiac, and the Vortec V6, which gave up to 180 horsepower. Drivetrain choices included a rear-wheel drive or a four-wheel drive. All these gave the owner the perfect truck for specific needs.
1994: RPO ZR2 for off-road trekking
The true test of how great a truck is depends on how it handles off-road. To make this mark, a 1994 second-generation model of the Chevrolet S10 introduced a special off-road package called the PRO ZR2. It included a widened wheelbase, increased ground clearance, larger wheels and bearings, improved shocks and brakes, and anti-sway bars. This upgrade supplied the truck with all the suspension adjustments needed to prepare the truck for tricky and uneven terrain.
1999: Xtreme replaces SS for steady-street use
Not all trucks are bought to be used on dirt roads. For most drivers, a vehicle as an everyday point-to-point commuter will do. For Chevrolet to perfect a truck’s paved-road use, the company introduced the all new Xtreme trim for the 1999 model of the Chevrolet S10. This was only offered on real-wheel drive models. As opposed to its off-road counterpart, the Xtreme gave the S10 a lower height. Wheels became bigger as well. Its top-of-the-line 4.3 L V6 engine reached 190 horsepower. Both interior and exterior got upgrades as well to complement its use on the city. This trim of the S10 was simply too mean and too powerful even on the highway.