Remembering The Chevrolet S-10 Xtreme Pickup39
When we think of GM sport trucks, several legendary models come to mind, including the Chevrolet C1500 454 SS, the GMC Syclone and Typhoon, the or the GMT-800-era Silverado SS. An oft-forgotten example was the Chevrolet S-10 Xtreme. Let’s take a closer look at the Bow Tie’s bygone hotted-up compact pickup truck.
Produced from 1999 to 2004, the S-10 Xtreme was Chevrolet’s answer to the era’s growing demand for sport trucks an entry-level price. That price point, which was just over $15,000, represented about a 15 percent price bump over a base model S-10. But the Xtreme got a lot of upgrades that Chevrolet figured would attract younger buyers.
Those upgrades included an aggressive body kit, model-specific 16-inch wheels, and ZQ8 suspension, which notably lowered the ride height. Interestingly, Chevy offered the Xtreme on both the regular cab and extended cab S-10 models, and with both fleetside or flareside bed options.
The powertrain of the Chevrolet S-10 Xtreme was shared with the standard S-10. That meant either a 2.2L four-cylinder or an available 4.3L V6. Either could be paired with either a 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic transmission. The real deal combination was the six-banger with the stick, which put out 190 horsepower and 245 pound-feet of torque, allowing this compact, rear-wheel drive pickup some capability, especially in some high school parking lots.
That ZQ8 suspension didn’t just lower the car 1.5 inches over the standard truck; it was a genuine high performance suspension kit, with thicker sway bars, front and rear, Bilstein shocks and additional frame bracing. It also included a quicker 12:1 steering box. The Chevrolet S-10 Xtreme also got a limited-slip differential, making it quite agile in the corners, especially considering its compact size.
Interestingly, the Chevrolet S-10 Xtreme has largely fallen into obscurity, and remaining examples do not seem to command any notable price premiums over standard S-10 units. However, we suspect that some amount of nostalgia, perhaps from our former high school parking lot hoons, will eventually give these trucks something of a bump in prestige and prices. Who knows, maybe the S-10 Xtreme will one day be considered alongside the 454 SS as the cool retro sport truck to have.
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What is amazing was the ZQ8 was a product of a GMC engineer that wanted to make is drive home more sporting. He visited the parts bin of the Blazer and Camaro and came up with this package. The center caps for the wheels were the highest cost in development.
The Extreme came later and was just a body package.
The reason for low values are two. One they made a ton of these trucks. Two even with the higher out put V6 these trucks lack power compared to today’s vehicles. Most were sold with the 2.2.
The truth is these made a lot of money and it is a shame GM does not offer a similar Colorado package..
Great post ! I have had 6 (six) ZQ8 trucks. A 1998 Sonoma, two 2001 Sonoma’s and a 2003 Sonoma. Next was a 2006 Colorado and then a 2007 Colorado that I still drive every day. They were all 4-cy and 5-sp man trans. Two of the Sonoma’s were stepside beds. Handled better than any of the Corvettes or Camaros that I have had.
I had a 1998 GMC Sonoma Sport 3 door which had the ZQ8 suspension. Same as Xtreme w/o all the body flares. Had v6. Loved that truck! Was in the family for 10 years. I would buy another tomorrow if they still made them. Was really fun to drive and rode great.
I totally agree, RCSB. It’s a shame that GM doesn’t make a small, affordable truck, anymore. The S-10 was wildly popular. When I was 21, I bought a brand new 1995 S-10 2WD (RCSB), with LS trim, 4.3 V6, automatic, and 3.42 gears. She was definitely a fun, quick little truck. I’d love to find another one in nice shape, but most of these trucks were driven until the doors fell off.
Hello Chevy truck guy yes we do need something high-performance with One of the LS motors ground effects large tires probably better with four-wheel-drive what do you think
Hey, Jeff. Yep, I’d love to see another S-10, especially with an Xtreme or SS option. LS power or new LT power would be killer. But, C8.R makes a good point below…the sport truck market is an echo of what it once was, and, as GM plays it safe more and more these days, odds are we wouldn’t see that exact truck, even if GM introduced a small S-10 type pickup. I’d say a ZR2 4X4 variant would have a better chance of being produced, than the 2WD sport truck that you and I would LOVE to see. But, us boys gotta dream!!
With GM hesitant to jump in with a Raptor competitor, why not remake a modern day Syclone.
Hey ChevyTruckGuy, Those Xtremes were and still are pretty awesome. I still have an 2002 Xtreme with the v6 4.3L in my garage. All black with the yellow stripes and a Xenon Large mouth body kit. I still get the stares when I do decide to drive the truck. Motor is just as strong as the day I bought it. Plus it only has 79,000 miles on it. Its a head turner thats for sure.
I know this is a older post but YES GM needs a COPO S10!!!
I own a 1985 S10 with the 2.8l engine. Long bed standard cab. Love this little truck. Would like to find one of these extremes to rebuild. Enjoyed the article.
I always loved the s 10 my first was a 1982 short bed it had a 2.8 by with a 5 speed.i still have the truck but I did it from ground up an it has a v8 powerglide with a posi.i run it down the track it looks factory new and runs 10 flat real fun.but I have 3 newer body style and there all great each one is lower and custom painted 03 runs a monster by supercharged and my shop truck is done into a rat rod slammed to ground with whitewalls.ill never sell any of them.to me best truck Chevy ever built
I just traded in my 1993 S-10 extended cab, original owner, with only 188K miles over 25 years.
I have a 2003 Xtreme, standard cab, V-6 with a 5 speed manual that has 27000 original miles. I am second owner and it has been my favorite project. Wish I could post a picture. I lowered the back with a 1” lower block kit and as a result the truck has a great stance.
My uncle has the Isuzu version of the S10 and is nearing 300,000 miles. The truck still runs and looks great. Living in San Diego also helps on saving on body rot
I loved my Sonoma ZQ8. I just wish it had a better engine than the 4.3 engine it had.
Imagine a Turbo 4 from the Camaro in that truck today.
As a previous owner these trucks were a blast to own and work on in terms of upgrades. I never had an issue with my GMC Sonoma Ext. Cab 4.3l with the ZQ8. It lasted until I needed more room and got the Trailblazer SS. Since then GM has lost itself for enthusiasts with families like myself who enjoy twisted roads and track days just as much as cross country road trips.
Yes Tim I miss my trailblazer SS good truck quick truck probably should’ve kept it
I am the original owner of a 1999 S 10 Xtreme . Never has seen salt only 33 thousand kilometers on her It listed at $30.000 CDN dollars. It is white extended cab sport side every available option all original my summer driver after my 2019 Vette G S.
P S Why cant G M come out with something that sits low to the ground like my Xreme!?
They can do that but the sport truck market kind of died,
I used to sell tons of drop spindles and sport truck parts but the market dried up. I hated to see it as I loved the sport trucks.
Today most people are taking cars and older trucks and doing Ride Tech air suspensions now.
Most of the market went off road as there are 20 times the off road parts today than 20 years ago.
Even all th3 MFGs offered sport trucks full size and small but none do other than the Raptor. Then again it is off road.
Callaway offers sport packages for GM trucks sold 5hrough dealers but they are rare.
I love s10s! I have owned over 12 of them and I am only 35 lol. My first was a 1985 ext cab with the 4.3 that I modified to put a 8ft bed on it that was my fav at the time. Now I have a 3door ext cab 4.3 Xtreme on air ride and she looks soooo sexy layed out on the frame. All the other s10s were square body style with the 4.3 or a V8. One of my 4.3 trucks died with 320,000 miles.
Another Xtreme owner here. It was my first new car….. err truck back in 2000. I special ordered a black regular cab sport side with the V6. Sadly I had to sell in back in 2002 so I could buy my SS Camaro when they were winding down Camaros in 2002. I’ve always loved the S10 platform and had several used ones over the years. Today I own a SS Silverado and it reminds me of that truck just a little bigger…… I love sport trucks but the market is rather small I think….. lol.
I remember a guy I worked with at the grocery store, we used to call him Joe Banana because he was a produce clerk… AND… he drove a bright yellow s10. Good times, long gone.
S10 and Sonoma were perfect size for me living in the suburbs. I always referred to my ZQ8 extra cab as my El Camino cause that was as close as I would ever get to having a nice riding car with a bed, LOL. I settled for a Silverado rcsb in 2014. Actually too big and too hard riding.
I am the original owner of a 2003 “heat” package ext cab Xtreme. White with factory flames. Currently has 23k on the clock. It’s been lowered 2 inches otherwise it’s uncut. I have always loved these trucks. Big fan of the cyclone and typhoon as well. I had an opertunity to buy a 2004 Colorado as GM was changing over the model over the year I bought mine. So happy I didnt buy a Colorado or Canyon.
Yes it would be nice to have a two door Tahoe lowered LS 7 SS trim fat meats something they talked about with the SS Tahoe a few years ago but never got built
i love these truck. i hav a 2004 ext cab xtreme. on airide, it has only 4k original miles!! it sat in a garage under a cover for years before i bought it of an old man w an extensive car collection. I don’t even know if I should drive that I don’t wanna put any miles on it!I really feel like it’s a nicest one left anywere
Wish I had that problemo 🤣
This story needs to include a sideline on the company that added the Xtreme body pieces in secondary assembly outside of the Shreveport plant. I don’t remember the name, but it’s a shame that it didn’t do what the (similarly produced) SLP Camaro SS did, and inspire GM to do more.
Tengo una chevrolet xtreme cabina y media 2001 4.3lts v6 unico dueño con 160mil millas es grandiosa
I had a 2002 Xtreme extended cab with the 4.3 v6. It was a great truck, and l loved!!
I had a 1993 S-10 p/u ext. cab 4.3 L , 5 speed transmission and had it for 25 years never wrecked, never leaked a drop of oil since day one. It Had 160K highway mikes when I sold it. Still in use today!
Mechanically it was easy to fix, but cosmetically things were hard to find.
If Chevrolet was smart they’d bring that S-10 size back ! Because not all of us need to purchase those 4 dr useless as a truck by any means!
I had a Chevy xtreme 2003 limited edition s-10, but about a month ago this lady pulled out in front of me and completely wrecked it and I haven’t been able to find any for sale to replace it sadly. It is an amazing truck though
Sorry for your loss, I have I am the original owner 1999 put away for winter, loaded sport side, white. Canada.
i own the 1 of 1 extreme zz4.3 concept truck drives like a dream and very fast