Test: 2000 Chevrolet S-10 Xtreme by
pops into your mind when you hear the words Southern California?
Los Angeles - yeah, maybe. Sunny weather - taken for granted. Malibu
- that sunny 27 mile long strip of Pacific coast beach, perhaps.
Hollywood - definitely!
on Earth but Southern California can you find a culture where the
boundaries between celebrity and entertainment and 'normal' life
are almost indiscernible. Seemingly everybody works in, or knows
a close friend or relative connected to, the entertainment industry.
Hollywood is all around you - inescapable and larger than life.
So what do these folks do between making movies, surfing and
waiting tables? They have to do something to keep up the levels
of hyperstimulation. Well, as you probably also know Southern California
is also a great place for cars. And the cars in Southern California
are just as much about getting from point A to point B as they are
about entertainment and broadcasting to the world who you are. Every
price point is represented from 'look at me I am a famous <insert
entertainment profession title here>' Ferraris to trendy Volkswagen
Beetles for those struggling actors. (Note to residents of Southern
California reading this road test: with us folks from Northern California
writing this article you probably think we are taking a few good-natured
shots at you - and of course you would be correct. Someone has to
balance out this state.)
So on a recent
trip to Southern California over President's Day Weekend some of
us decided to add some entertainment to our Northern California
lives. We asked General Motors to let us review the limited edition
Chevrolet S-10 Xtreme - where Detroit has combined Hollywood and
pickup trucks to create one heck of an entertaining cruiser.
And talk about
entertaining origins, the S-10 Xtreme began with the S-10 Hugger
concept truck. The Hugger allowed consumers to visualize ways to
customize their own S-10s and proved so popular with consumers,
who saw it and gave two thumbs up, that Chevrolet put the truck
At LAX, the
de facto gateway to Southern California, we picked up a Victory
Red S-10 Xtreme.
do count and with the low slung Xtreme you can't help but notice
how aggressive it looks. Throw in the 360-degree ground effects,
encompassing the front and rear fascia, wheel opening flares and
rocker panels and you have a compact truck with an attitude and
looks to turn
heads even in car crazy Southern California. Put your foot on the
pedal and the Xtreme's looks are backed up by solid engine performance.
The only other current
production pickup trucks to possibly compare with the Xtreme are the Ford
F-150 Lightning and Dodge Dakota
R/T. Both the Lightning and R/T have strong, sports truck-like looks.
The Dakota competes almost directly with the S-10 in the compact / mid-size
truck segment and is powered by a 5.9-liter V8 engine pumping out 250hp
and 345 ft-lb. of torque while the Lightning is in a league of its own
with its supercharged V8 engine and larger size. The Dakota R/T prices
itself at a slight premium to the S-10 but for the Lightning you will
have to have at least one hit movie under your belt to afford its $10,000
premium over the Xtreme - and that's without an extended cab.
on the S-10 includes dual airbags, power steering, air conditioning
and cruise control. Our
truck also included a remote keyless entry, highback cloth bucket
seats, stereo with compact disc player and floor mats.
of the Xtreme came with the upscale LS treatment and is reflective
of today's compact truck interiors; a blending of car and truck
that is less rugged in appearance when compared to their full sized
siblings such as the Chevy Silverado. The
dash instruments for example are extremely readable and informative
but the rounded binnacle and soft shapes look slightly out of place
in a truck. The plastic around the dash fascia looked a little on
the budget-conscious side. On the passenger side was a robust grab
handle over the glove box and airbag. Fit and finish were above
generation airbags come with a manual lock to turn the front passenger's
SRS (supplemental restraint system) on or off.
HVAC controls are logically grouped together. The AC Delco factory
stereo system came with an optional CD player that is more than
adequate for daily driving though true sport truck enthusiasts showing
off their rides will probably want to add new speakers and an amp
at the very least. Contrasted
against the simple HVAC controls, the stereo buttons require some
pretty dexterous fingers to change finer settings.
thickly upholstered bucket seats feel good to sit in on both long
and short rides and offer plenty of support. The driver side bucket
was powered allowing for quick adjustments.
S-10 Xtreme came with the extended cab and sporting an optional
third door on the driver side. The third door makes it very easy
to throw items you want to keep out of the elements in the back
of the cab - which proved convenient for keeping our luggage dry
from the airport to our hotel during a rare late-winter downpour
in LA. In the extended cab you can normally fit up to four people
in the S-10, but instead of a bench seat the S-10 comes with side-mounted
rear jump seats. The rear seats are pretty cramped even for short
trips unless you are under 10 years of age. With the optional rear
door you lose one of the jump seats but you gain extra room for
a third passenger and additional storage in the side of the door.
the outside the S-10 comes with two bed options - standard fleetside
or "Sportside". Our truck had the curvaceous "Sportside"
option but you pay a price for style because unlike the fleetside
bed, which is as wide as the truck's cab, the Sportside box can't
haul as much stuff as the regular bed can. We don't expect people
who buy the Xtreme with the Sportside bed to worry too much about
the decreased cargo capacity.
Victory Red paint job fit the Xtreme's personality beautifully.
It's not so much a 'fast as a speeding bullet' red like a Corvette
as it is a 'hey, pay attention to me' red - perfect for cruising
Santa Monica or Hollywood Boulevard. The color nicely complements
the stepside looks and carries over to the body-color grille, bumpers,
and special Xtreme front air dam (with integrated fog lamps).
spoke 16" aluminum wheels unique to the Xtreme in the S-10
lineup round out the sport truck looks.
Xtreme's optional 4.3-liter engine proves as sporty as
its appearance. Making 190 horsepower at 4400 rpm and
250 lb.-ft of torque at just 2800 rpm, the Vortec 4300
ensures the sport truck’s performance matches its looks.
A four cylinder engine is standard but we won't even comment
on putting that engine in this truck. The Xtreme begs
for the six.
offers two transmission choices - a five speed manual
or the 4L60-E four-speed automatic. We would have loved
to try this truck with the manual but even with the
automatic transmission engine performance was very responsive.
When combined with the excellent suspension we never
felt as if engine control was a problem, even on the
winding roads of the Pacific Coast Highway that demand
quick braking and rapid acceleration.
Xtreme is built on S-10’s ZQ8 suspension, which is two
inches lower than the base truck's suspension. Before
the Xtreme customers would buy a stock S-10 and then
have it lowered somewhere else. Unfortunately, some
might have fallen victim to lousy conversions and voided
their warranty. The S-10 offers a factory-warranted
levels in the Xtreme were also very good. The S-10 was
somewhat noisy at highway speeds but otherwise it was
quiet around town. There was one noise that did drive
us up the wall though and that was the left hand turn
signal. When you indicated to the rest of the world
you were about to turn left the 'clicking' of the indicator
seemed to originate from the far right side of the cabin.
The suspension adequately dampened all but the largest
speed bumps and potholes, but be careful when pulling
into steeply raked driveways as the low ground clearance
can cause the front air dam to scrape the pavement.
mileage averaged around 17mpg during combined highway
and city driving. Considering the mixed conditions we
had the mileage was still lower than we expected but
the 4.3L V6 also has quite a bit of displacement which
makes for a hungry truck. It's a tradeoff of performance
for fuel economy.
other factory hotrods like the Ford Lightning, Chevrolet's
consumer strategy with the Xtreme is to offer a factory customized
truck but not forget the budget conscious buyer. And unlike
aftermarket conversions, you can get a stock truck with some
great features, and it’s all rolled into the vehicle’s financing.
on the options you choose, the S-10 Xtreme is a great piece
of resonably priced entertainment. Perfect for driving the
roads of Southern California.
Chevrolet S-10 Xtreme
Price: $15,913 Price
as Tested: $24,075
as Tested Includes: Xtreme Preferred Equipment Group with
Sport Appearance Package ($3,236); Vortec V6 Engine ($1,195);
4 Speed Auto Transmission ($1,095); Convenience Group with
Power Windows, Door Locks, Heated Mirrors, and Remote Keyless
Entry ($795); Sportside Body ($475); Tilt Wheel and Speed
Control ($395); 3rd Door ($295); Reclining Highback Bucket
Seats ($291); Locking Rear Diff ($270); Deep Tinted Glass