Almost 200 Hp And A Set Of Really Good Brakes
The Crew Cab package comes standard with the Vortec 4300 V-6 engine, and it generates a respectable 190 hp and 250 lb-ft of torque, thanks in part to a number of power-producing internal items, including roller rocker arms, a roller timing chain, and a powdered metal timing chain sprocket. For 2001, the engine received a new powertrain control module that works in conjunction with a new, enhanced knock detection and spark correction system to improve the performance and efficiency of the engine. Gear selection is handled by the venerable 4L60E four-speed electronic automatic transmission that boasts an electronic interface between the engine and tranny, as well as electronic shift timing. This constant electronic communication between the engine and tranny helps create peak efficiency, which, in turn, helps produce good fuel mileage. With zero regard for fuel mileage, we averaged 15.6 mpg during our testing, which we consider to be quite good considering the high amount of four-wheel-drive operation we subjected the truck to, the brutally cold temperatures it was tested in, and our general high-velocity driving habits. The Insta Trac four-wheel-drive system is activated by dash-mounted buttons, which allow for easy selection of either 2-Hi or 4-Hi on the fly or 4-Low. In our snowy test environment, we were in and out of four-wheel drive quite a bit, and we found the system worked well with no need to jockey the transmission from Drive to Neutral to coerce the system to lock up (or unlock) when toggling between 2-Hi and 4-Hi. All models of S-10s feature an independent front suspension and a solid-axle leaf spring rear suspension, but the Crew Cab S-10 is upgraded to the Z85 suspension package, which includes 32mm twin tube shock absorbers, a 28mm front stabilizer bar, and P235/70-15ALS or P235/75-15 on-/off-road tires. Even with these mods, the S-10 drove respectably smooth, both on and off road. The standard four-wheel disc brakes with ABS rock, and they harness the 4,039-pound vehicle quite effectively. The brakes feature a 10.05-inch-diameter front rotor and an 11.6-inch-diameter rear rotor.
The Bottom Line
If you want a pickup that has room for five, can carry more than a 1/2-ton of payload, gets decent fuel mileage, and won't break the bank, the S-10 Crew Cab is screaming your name. Off road is where it's at in our world, and we were surprised by its capability to handle real world off-road challenges due in part to the optional limited-slip rear differential ($270) and the Goodyear Wrangler All Terrain white lettered tires ($143). We found that the truck's biggest hindrance to off-road travel is the massive underbody framerails, which often cause the truck to get hung up in deep snow. However, those beefy framerails help give the Crew Cab a darn impressive towing capacity of 5,200 pounds, which is more than enough to pull a medium-sized enclosed trailer packed with two dirt bikes, full riding gear, and tools, which makes us happy. Our loaded LS test vehicle model was priced at a modest $26,146.
Crew Cab Comparo
If you're trying to figure out which four-door compact pickup best meets your needs, we're here to help. We've collected some basic data on four popular trucks so you don't have to. All specifications are based on 4x4 models equipped with automatic transmissions and the largest non-supercharged V-6 engine available for that model. All measurements are in inches unless otherwise noted.
|Wheelbase ||Nissan ||Toyota ||Chevy ||Ford Explorer |
|Frontier ||Tacoma ||S-10 ||SporTrac |
|116.1 ||121.9 ||122.9 ||125.9 |
|Overall length ||200.1 ||202.3 ||204.8 ||205.9 |
|Overall width ||71.9 ||70.1 ||67.9 ||71.8 |
|Overall height ||65.9 ||67.5 ||63.4 ||70.1 |
|Engine horsepower ||210 ||190 ||190 ||205 |
|Brakes (front/rear) ||disc/drum ||disc/drum ||disc/disc ||disc/drum |
|Cargo box length ||56.3 ||61.5 ||55.2 ||50.0 |
|Maximum trailer weight ||5,000 lb ||5,000 lb ||5,200 lb ||5,080 lb |
|Rear seat headroom ||37.8 ||37.8 ||38.2 ||38.9 |
|Rear seat legroom ||30.7 ||33.8 ||34.6 ||37.8 |