Fast Storm A-Rising

  • Post category:Road Test / Syclone
  • Post last modified:07/01/2024

Mini Truckin


As you may or may not realize, one benefit we as editorial types enjoy is testing out all the new trucks each year. We put them through their paces and then make an evaluation based not on graphs, dyno numbers or advertising slogans, but rather on how much fun- they are to drive. We do notice differences between these trucks, but in all honesty the differences never seemed incredibly drastic. That was until we got our hands on the GMC Syclone. There has been hoopla a-plenty surrounding this Sonoma hybrid, everybody from Car & Driver magazine to GMC dealers are exposing this truck’s virtues. But it isn’t until you strap yourself in and drive this beast that you truly appreciate what a revolutionary vehicle the Syclone is.

No two-week test vehicle has ever elicited the type of begging and desire this truck did. Everyone on the editorial staff, most of whom normally show minimal interest when it comes to driving test vehicles, were stressin’ hard to cruise this machine. Even several advertising folks were begging like children just to blaze it around the block a few times.

Why does the Syclone elicit such blatant groveling? Because it’s a downright blast to drive, it corners like a dream, has ass-kicking acceleration, and features the most driver- friendly cockpit of any truck we’ve tested. This truck is fun!

Rather than continue rambling on about how much enjoyment we had at GMC’s expense, let’s take a look at the technical number’s this truck boasts. Capable of 0-60 mph acceleration in less than 5.0 seconds, this truck is powered by a turbocharged 4.3 liter (262 CID) Vortec V-6 powerplant with 8.35:1 compression ratio and 14 PSI turbo boost. The intercooled V-6 is port fuel-injected (Pintel-style) with an L98 throttle body and separate fuel rail/regulator port injectors. The engine produces 350 lbs/ft net torque at 3600 rpm and 280 horsepower at 4400 rpm. This powerful combination enables the Syclone to blast through the quartermile in 13.4 seconds.

The Syclone is a two-door, two-passenger Sonoma hybrid .; that features all-wheel-drive and a four-wheel anti-lock braking system. Tranny duties are doled out to a Hydra-matic 4L60 four-speed automatic transmission and Borg-Warner All-Wheel-Drive transfer case with viscous clutch and interaxle differential. The torque split ratio is 35 percent front, 65 percent rear.

The truck hugs corners so well due to independent front suspension with low rate torsion bars, 32mm stabilizer bar, and lowered ride height. The rear suspension is semi-elliptic with lower rate leaf springs, and both front and rear includes Firestone 245/50VR-16 high performance tires wrapped around 16 X 8 aluminum, machine finished wheels specifically designed for the Syclone.

The Syclone’s standard equipment list reads like a who’s who of luxury features, including AC, PW, PDL, AM/FM Stereo cassette, tilt wheel, intermittent wipers, analog gauges, cruise control and tinted windows. Also standard is a Lexxus TruxCover tonneau cover which snaps to an aluminum frame that attaches to the truck’s bed without drilling holes.

The truck’s interior contains contoured sport seats with an inflatable lumbar support, a floor mounted shifter and leather-wrapped steering wheel.

We could go on and on about this truck, but sufficed to say it’s one truck that’s in a class by itself. Retailing for around $26,000 it’s a tad more expensive than your average truck, but if you can afford it, it’s definitely worth serious consideration.