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1996 GMC C3500

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1996 GMC C3500 Review

A new powertrain makes this truck shine.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 1996 GMC C3500 classifies as a pickup truck manufactured by General Motors. It represents part of the C/K Series of pickups. According to the C/K nomenclature used for this series, the C3500 serves as a one-ton, two-wheel-drive pickup. The GMC C3500 remains almost exactly the same as the Chevrolet C3500, starting from their shared GMT400 platform. The few differences between them include different badges and front grilles.

The Range

Body Styles: two-door regular cab, two-door extended cab, three-door extended cab, four-door crew cab
Engines: 5.7-liter V-8, 7.4-liter V-8
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: GMC C3500 SL, GMC C3500 SLE, GMC C3500 SLT

What's New

The 1996 GMC C3500 uses the Vortec family of engines, all of which offer more power and torque than the previous model. The C3500 trucks specifically comes with two new V-8 engines.

Apart from the change in the powertrain, the 1996 GMC C3500 also comes with some significant convenience and comfort features, including illuminated entry, an electro-chromic rear-view mirror, additional 12-volt power outlets, and height-adjustable seat belts up front.

The C3500 crew cab models get heating ducts for the rear seats. All models include daytime running lights as a standard feature.


The GMC C3500 comes in three wheelbases depending on the body style chosen. The regular cab models sit on a wheelbase of 131.5 inches, while the extended cab models have a wheelbase of 141.5 inches. The crew cab models of the C3500 have a wheelbase measuring 155.5 inches. The length of the 1996 GMC C3500 also varies as per the body type, ranging from 213.1 inches to 218.5 inches, to a maximum of 237.4 inches.


The 1996 GMC C3500 has quite a spacious interior. Visibility looks great for the driver on all sides. The dashboard up front has a simple but appealing design. All of the controls look arranged neatly and remain easily accessible to the driver. The glove compartment, however, seems a tad too small considering the size of the truck.

The seats up front feel quite comfortable, and the bucket seat option makes them even more comfortable and supportive. The middle console available with the right front seats offer enough space to compensate for the lack of space in the glove compartment.

The rear seats only feel comfortable for adults in the extended cab or crew cab, but even then, the seatback angle sits too upright for comfort, and it offers scarcely enough knee room.

Performance & Handling

The GMC C3500 comes with two engine options. The base engine, a 5.7-liter V-8, delivers 250 horsepower at 4600 rpm and 355 lb-ft of torque at 2800 rpm. The optional 7.4-liter V-8 engine marks the largest of the Vortex engines available for the GMC pickups, and it delivers 290 horsepower at 4200 rpm and 410 lb-ft of torque at 3200 rpm.

Both engines feel very powerful, and rightfully so since the C3500 serves as a heavy-duty truck. The base V-8 engine performs adequately even when the truck carries its maximum load, while the bigger V-8 engine offers that extra bit of power to make the C3500 livelier.


Crash test results and safety information remain unavailable for the 1996 GMC C3500.

EPA Fuel Economy

GMC C3500, 7.4-liter V-8, automatic: 13/17 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Powerful engines
  • High towing capacity
  • Good brake performance
  • Lots of cargo space

You Won't Like

  • Poor fuel economy
  • Unrefined performance
  • Noisy cabin

Sum Up

A new powertrain makes this truck shine.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Dodge Ram 3500
  • Ford E-350
  • Chevrolet C3500

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