Classic CARmentary: 1999 Chevrolet S-10 Xtreme

Another in a series of my reviews that appeared in the online version of African Americans On Wheels, a now defunct automotive magazine that was included as an insert in the Sunday newspapers of major cities.

I really don’t have much to say about this truck except that Chevrolet produced it from 1999 to 2004.  I’m open to anyone with a story.

The following review was written on May 22, 1999

After years of watching buyers spend big money in the aftermarket to customize their new trucks, Chevrolet has decided to offer its own alternative for the compact S-10: the Xtreme Sport Appearance Package.

While the S-10 has been one of the best looking compact trucks on the market since its redesign nearly six years ago, our example, a black extended cab with the Fleetside bed (narrow with mock fenders), is a stunner. The Xtreme package includes: the ZQ8 sports suspension, which lowers the S-10 two inches; 16-inch aluminum wheels mounted on wide, low profile P235/55R-16 tires; body colored grill and bumpers; low front spoiler with integrated fog lamps; and ground effects along both sides. It’s hard to believe that this is a factory truck, but as Chevy proudly claims in its literature, “this package is factory, so it’s covered by the GM 3 year/36,000 mile limited warranty,” a subtle hint/warning that some aftermarket add-ons can void some or all of the factory warranty.

Although available on any S-10, this one was a loaded LS with Chevy’s powerful Vortec 4300 V6 and smooth-shifting four-speed automatic transmission. It’s a great match for the little truck, and anyone who feels that they can’t ante the $2,419 for this powertrain combination should not even take a test drive because it will make living with the anemic 2.2-liter four-cylinder and notchy five-speed manual difficult.

The Vortec is all iron and overhead valves, so it will rocket you away from a stoplight but protest loudly and harshly at high RPMs. The ZQ8 suspension makes the Xtreme one of the best handling trucks on the market but transmits even the smallest road imperfection to the cabin. The over-boosted power steering also somewhat dulls the fun. Furthermore, the package nullifies the S-10’s ability to tow a trailer. As in all extended cab compact pickups, the rear jump seats are laughably small.

Is it worth it? It’s “Xtremely” hard to justify, but if looking good is all that’s important to you, and if you were going to do it anyway…

For more information contact 1-800-950-2438


Type: 2-Door Extended Cab Pickup
Engine: 175-horsepower, 4.3 liter V6
Transmission: 4-speed Automatic
EPA Mileage: 17 city/22 highway
Tested Price: $23,422