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2003 GMC Sonoma

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2003 GMC Sonoma Review

The 2003 GMC Sonoma is an aging vehicle with too many problems to actually recommend.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2003 GMC Sonoma was an aging vehicle, and one that was going into its final year of production. Replacing the Sonoma would be the GMC Canyon, a superior vehicle in many ways. By this time, the Sonoma was beginning to see its age. Build quality in certain areas was incredibly shoddy, and the interior plastics and lack of features lagged behind other pickup trucks offered by Ford.

The 2003 Sonoma did have the nice qualities. The torque, V-6 engine was great for lugging large loads. Also, the base engine was incredibly fuel-efficient for the time–especially for a pickup truck.

However, there are too many flaws in this old vehicle to recommend. If you’re looking for a more up-to-date model from the same period, go with a Chevy or a Ford.

The Range

Body Styles: pickup truck
Engines: 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, 4.3-liter V-6 engine
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: GMC Sonoma SL Regular Cab, GMC Sonoma SLS Regular Cab, GMC Extended Cab, GMC Extended Cab, GMC Crew Cab

What's New

The 2003 doesn’t receive many updates since 2003 was its final year of production before being replaced by the GMC Canyon. The two-wheel drive models do receive a new split-folding front bench seat with new seat materials. Also offered is an optional six-disc CD changer, as well as a sport package for all the crew cab models.


The GMC Sonoma comes in three different sizes: the regular cab, extended cab, and crew cab models. The regular cab model has a 108.3-inch wheelbase. The extended cab model has a 117.9-inch wheelbase. The crew cab, finally, has the same wheelbase length as the extended cab, but the bed of the vehicle shrinks from six-feet to four and a half feet. The extended cab models have a third door on the driver side to allow extra passengers into the back.


The interior of the 2003 GMC Sonoma has a few different seating configurations. The regular cab models have either a front bench seat that seats three passengers, or the vehicle can be fit with a set of bucket seats that seat one each. The extended cab models receive a rear jump seat that will seat two more passengers. The crew cab models, finally, are fitted with a rear bench seat that sits three.

Due to the age of the vehicle, there are several build quality issues inside. There are oceans of cheap plastic that feel brittle, and have a poor build quality. Everything about the interior feels old. Standard features include cloth upholstery, air conditioning, AM/FM stereo, four speakers, mast antennae, clock, tachometer, front door pockets, front cup holders, front console with storage, and a 40/60 split seat.

Performance & Handling

The GMC Sonoma comes equipped with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 120 horsepower. This engine comes standard on all two-wheel drive vehicles. A 4.3-liter V-6 engine is also available that produces 180 horsepower on the two-wheel drive models, and 190 horsepower on those models equipped with four-wheel drive. The engine is paired with a standard five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic transmission is optional. The crew cab models are only available with the automatic transmission.

All of the four-wheel drive vehicles use an Insta-Trac system. A switch on the console controls this system. This allows shifting in and out of four-wheel drive while on the move. Driving the GMC Sonoma is fairly pleasant, but don’t expect a cushioned ride like you’ll find in a car. This is an old truck built on old components. There is a lot of road noise because of the build as well, which can be pretty annoying over time.


The GMC Sonoma is not the best performing vehicle when it comes to safety. The NHTSA gave the vehicle three out of five stars for passenger and driver safety, and three stars for rollover. The IIHS gave the Sonoma a score of Marginal, its second worst, for frontal offset crash tests. The Sonoma does come with four-wheel anti-lock brakes and electronic brake force distribution.

EPA Fuel Economy

2003 GMC Regular Cab: 19/25 mpg city/highway
2003 GMC Regular Cab: 19/25 mpg city/highway
2003 GMC Sonoma SL Extended Cab: 19/25 mpg city/highway
2003 GMC Sonoma SLS Extended Cab: 19/25 mpg city/highway
2003 GMC Sonoma SLS Crew Cab: 14/18 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Lots of configurations to choose from
  • Base engine is fuel efficient
  • V-6 has lots of torque

You Won't Like

  • Cheap interior materials
  • Build quality isn’t great
  • Poor resale value

Sum Up

The 2003 GMC Sonoma is an aging vehicle with too many problems to actually recommend.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Ford Ranger
  • Chevrolet S-10
  • Mazda B2300

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