The GMC S15 Pickup was introduced to the public in 1982. During that time, compact pickup trucks were extremely popular in the United States and upon entering the market, the S15 instantly found itself at the heat of the action. After several years in production, the S15 was renamed as the GMC Sonoma. The S15 and Sonoma had a good, two-decade run before it was finally dropped from the brand’s compact pickup truck lineup. Here’s a quick look at the changes and transformations that the GMC S15 underwent during its long run in the compact pickup truck market.
1970s: The popularity of compact pickup trucks
The compact pickup truck segment became extremely popular in the late 1970s. A lot of people patronized these fun, versatile, and cool vehicles because they were extremely handy and useful for every driving. But apart from that, they were also inexpensive alternatives to the bigger pickup truck options that were offered in the market. During the first few years of its popularity, foreign automakers like Toyota dominated this arena and American car makers were noticeably out of the picture. Eventually, though, American automotive companies joined the bandwagon with each of them having their own take on the new compact pickup truck.
1982-1990: Initial release
Upon realizing that compact pickup trucks were the newest market craze, General Motors created and developed several vehicles that would be able to stand against its competitor brands. One of these vehicles was the GMC S15 pickup, which was sold in the market beginning 1982. Though the S15 arrived relatively late to the party, it entered during the peak of the compact pickup truck’s popularity. It was basically a twin vehicle to the Chevrolet S10 with just a few minor differences. For instance, they were furnished with different kinds of grilles and tail lights. The S15 also had extended and regular cab style options while the S10 did not. Upon initial release, the engine of the S15 was considered weak. To address this complaint, the model was equipped with a 4.3 L V6 engine that could churn out up to 150 hp in 1988.
1991-2004: GMC Sonoma
In 1991, the S15 was renamed as the GMC Sonoma. This change wasn’t limited to its name, though, as the vehicle also received several upgrades inside and out. The following year in 1992, the Sonoma GT was released and it looked similar to the very powerful GMC Syclone minus the turbocharged engine. At the same time, 4WD Sonomas were also furnished with electronic transfer cases. The second generation of GMC Sonomas came out in 1994 and it was made available in three body types—regular, extended or crew cabs, and long beds. The model was sold for ten more years before it was finally dropped in 2004 due to its inability to keep up with other competitors in the market.