2000 Sonoma New Car Test Drive
If you're in the market for a cost-effective midsize pickup, chances are high that the GMC Sonoma, in one of its myriad configurations, will serve your needs. Attractive looks, healthy torque from V6 engines, three doors and tons of options make the GMC Sonoma a popular choice.
News for 2000 includes improved acceleration and braking along with a handling/trailering suspension that comes standard on four-wheel-drive models. Along with the Chevy S-10, the Sonoma competes with the Ford Ranger, Dodge Dakota, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Mazda B-Series and Isuzu Hombre.
Originally introduced in 1994, this truck has been refined and upgraded for the past six years. Recent refinements include more powerful engines, increased trailer ratings, improved suspensions and a greater selection of options, including a third door.
Whether you need a reliable work truck that offers a good value or a capable off-road pickup, you should be able to find a Sonoma to fit your lifestyle. GMC offers a huge selection of options for the Sonoma, with two- and four-wheel-drive models, regular and extended cab bodies, short and long beds, Sportside and Wideside bodies, seven different chassis packages, and SL, SLS and top-of-the-line SLE trim levels.
Retail prices range from $13,124 to $20,736. (List prices include the $520 destination charge, so that should be taken into consideration when comparing costs, as most manufacturers do not include the destination charge.)
A 120-horsepower 2.2-liter engine is standard on two-wheel-drive models. An alternative fuel version of this four-cylinder engine is available that burns gasoline, Ethanol-85, or any mixture in between.
The Vortec 4300 4.3-liter V6 is standard on four-wheel-drive models (190 horsepower) and optional on two-wheel-drive models (180 horsepower).
Five-speed manual and four-speed automatic transmissions are available.
Buyers of two-wheel-drive Sonomas have a choice of three types of suspension tuning: Smooth Ride, Heavy-Duty and Sport. The Sport package enhances handling and goes a long way toward making the Sonoma drive like a car. This is accomplished using shorter springs, high-performance gas shock absorbers, urethane jounce bumpers, front and rear stabilizer bars, specially tuned variable-ratio power steering and wide 8-inch aluminum wheels with Goodyear P235/55R-16 tires.
Four-wheel-drive models automatically get the firmer Heavy Duty suspension, designed for high payloads and towing. An option on four-wheel-drive Sonomas aimed at off-road driving enthusiasts is the $695 Highrider Off-Road package, which features upgraded shocks, springs, wheels and tires.