Since Sonoma is a twin to the S10 pickup, our critique of the Chevy holds here. However, a word about the Sonoma GT and the Syclone–models exclusive to the GMC line-is in order.
GMC claims the Syclone is capable of 0-60-mph acceleration in less than 5.0 seconds. Our test drives bear out that it is in fact one very quick truck and its all-wheel drive system gets all that power to the pavement without spinning a tire, regardless of weather conditions. And with production limited to just 3500 annually, there’s some collector potential here. Overall, however, we find little to recommend beyond the thrill of standing-start acceleration. The transmission’s shift from first to second is quite jarring. and the engine seems to run out of breath even sooner than its rather modest 4200-rpm horsepower-peak rating suggests. The taut ride isn’t jarring, but bumps or rough pavement upset the truck enough so that you slow down, particularly around turns. Handling is great for a pickup, but with the light tail, rather numb steering, and touchy brakes, there’s really not enough balance here to let you take advantage of all that power. We recognize that GMC doesn’t intend the $27,000 2-seat Syclone to be a “practical” truck, but even at that, its SOO-pound payload is 300 pounds less even than a Geo Tracker’s.
The new Sonoma GT, which has a list price nearly $10,700 below that of the Syclone, is a far more attractive proposition. It has much of the visual impact of the Syclone and, according to GMC, it runs 0-60 mph in 8.5 seconds, which is still plenty fast. You’ve got to feather the throttle a bit to keep the rear tires from spinning, but the naturally aspirated 4.3 seems to deliver its power in a more linear fashion than the Syclone’s turbo variant. The GT’s ride is more compliant over rough surfaces, it has a more credible 104S-pound payload ceiling, and where Syclone has a modest 1100-pound towing limit, the Sonoma GT can pull trailers weighing up to 6000 pounds.