2003 Chevrolet S10

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2003 Chevrolet S10 Review

Small pickup truck drives into the sunset with few changes.

Reviewed by Automotive on

Overview

The 2003 Chevrolet S10 heads into its final year of production with only minor changes. As in past years, small pickup truck comes in regular cab, extended cab, and crew cab body styles; regular, short, and long bed lengths; and base and LS trim levels. Rear drive is standard on regular and crew cab models, while extended cab versions are available with four-wheel drive. Two engines are offered: a base 2.2-liter inline-four and a 4.3-liter V-6, which is standard on four-wheel-drive versions and optional on other models. Budget-minded buyers may prefer the higher gas mileage of the flex-fuel base engine, especially when paired with the line’s standard manual transmission.

The Range

Body Styles: truck
Engines: 2.2-liter four-cylinder, 4.3-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Chevrolet S10, Chevrolet S10 LS

What's New

The 2003 Chevrolet S10 gets improved cloth seating and cloth door trim in its final year of production. A sport package is now available for the crew cab model, while V-6 versions feature a new fuel-injection system.

Exterior

The 2003 Chevrolet S10 hasn’t changed much in appearance since the small pickup was introduced a decade earlier. Standard features on the base model include 15-inch steel wheels, variable intermittent windshield wipers, painted bumpers, and cargo tie-downs. The LS is nearly identical except for the addition of alloy wheels. Opting for the long bed increases the box from six feet to 7.4 feet. The short bed, available only with the crew cab, measures 4.6 feet. Regular cabs have two doors, extended cabs come with a rear-opening left-side door, and crew cabs come with four doors.

The 2003 Chevrolet S10 is highly customizable with a large selection of pricey packages. A Preferred Equipment Group adds features such as a sport suspension, special tires and wheels, and foglights, while an Exterior Appearance Package provides chrome bumpers, chrome body trim, and unique exterior moldings. When the Preferred Equipment Group is added, buyers can also update with one of three Xtreme appearance packages: an accent pack that adds gold badges, stripes, and wheels; a stripe package that adds exterior pinstripes; or a flame package that adds unique graphics. A ZR2 off-road package readies the truck for all terrains. Individual options include a power sunroof, a bedliner, special yellow paint, deep-tinted glass, hard or soft tonneau covers, a locking differential, and a trailer hitch.

Interior

The 2003 Chevrolet S10 comes standard with a 40/60-split front bench seat, cloth upholstery, vinyl floor covering, air-conditioning, retained accessory power, a 12-volt front power outlet, and a four-speaker AM/FM stereo system. The LS gains a leather tilt-adjustable steering wheel, cruise control, and a CD player. Extended cab versions replace the front bench seat with two bucket seats and add two rear jump seats, while the crew cab gets a two-passenger rear bench seat. Interior options include a six-disc CD player, reclining bucket seats, and a sliding rear window. Occupants of the base model receive 39.5 inches of headroom and 42.4 inches of legroom. In the crew cab, rear passengers 38.2 inches of headroom and 34.6 inches of legroom. While specific measurements aren’t available for the extended cab’s rear jump seats, adult passengers will likely find them a tight fit.

Performance & Handling

The 2003 Chevrolet S10's rear-drive versions come equipped with a base 2.2-liter flex-fuel four-cylinder engine producing 120 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque. Extended cabs with four-wheel drive come standard with a 4.3-liter V-6, which beefs up output to 190 horses and 250 lb-ft of torque. Not surprisingly, fuel efficiency diminishes noticeably with the six-cylinder. While not exactly refined, it offers a fairly controlled ride for a pickup. A standard five-speed transmission provides smooth gear changes and comes with the advantage of slightly higher EPA ratings than models with the available four-speed automatic transmission. As might be expected with a truck, it sometimes exhibits body roll around turns.

Safety

The 2003 Chevrolet S10's standard safety equipment includes an anti-lock braking system and dusk-sensing headlamps. Noticeably lacking are airbags, a rear center three-point seat belt, stability control, and traction control. It's fared below average in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests with the extended cab receiving just two out of five possible stars for driver protection in frontal collisions and three stars for passenger protection in frontal impacts. The regular cab earned three stars for both driver and passenger protection.

EPA Fuel Economy

Chevrolet S10 2.2-liter four-cylinder (automatic): 17/23 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet S10 2.2-liter four-cylinder (manual): 19/25 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet S10 4.3-liter V-6 (automatic): 15/21 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet S10 4.3-liter V-6 (manual): 15/22 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet S10 4.3-liter V-6 4WD (automatic): 14/18 mpg city/highway
Chevrolet S10 4.3-liter V-6 4WD (manual): 12/17 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Fuel-efficient four-cylinder
  • Powerful V-6
  • Easy to customize

You Won't Like

  • Outdated design
  • Poor safety scores
  • Low-grade cabin materials

Sum Up

Small pickup truck drives into the sunset with few changes.

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