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1999 GMC Sonoma Truck

Reg Cab 108' WB

Starting at | Starting at 23 MPG City - 29 MPG Highway

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  • $12,368 original MSRP
Printable Version

1999 GMC Sonoma Truck

Printable Version

1999 GMC Sonoma Truck


1999 GMC Sonoma SLS

Source: New Car Test Drive

This truck works hard and plays hard.

by Sue Mead

Base Price $12,672
As Tested $22,974

Attractive looks, healthy torque from V-6 engines, three doors and a myriad of options make the GMC Sonoma a popular pickup. Along with the Chevy S-10, the Sonoma competes with the Ford Ranger, Dodge Dakota, Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Mazda B-Series and Isuzu Hombre.

Originally introduced in 1994, this truck has been refined and upgraded for the past five years. Recent changes include more powerful engines, better fuel economy, improved suspensions and a greater selection of options, including a third door.

For 1999, the Sonoma comes with a next-generation driver-side airbag. Heated power mirrors are now available and all exterior mirrors have been redesigned and enlarged for improved rearward vision. Insta-Trac is now standard on all 4X4 models; just a touch of a button engages the shift-on-the-fly four-wheel-drive system. Composite skid plates are optional. An anti-theft alarm and flash-to-pass feature were added this year.

GMC offers a huge selection of options with two- and four-wheel-drive models, regular and extended cab bodies, short and long beds, seven different chassis packages and SL, SLS and SLE trim levels.


Our test truck was the Sonoma SLS 4X4 extended cab. Ours came with a $256 Heavy Duty package that includes heavy duty springs and shocks. It also came with an optional $1802 package that included the Wideside body, SLS sport decor, the Vortec 4300 V-6 engine, aluminum wheels, air conditioning, tilt steering wheel, cruise control and an AM/FM/cassette stereo with a clock. And it was equipped with dual lighted visor mirrors, cupholders, and full floor carpeting with mats.

The Sonoma is an attractive truck with a smooth, aerodynamic hood that wraps around the front end. Its clean exterior lines includes a body-colored front bumper, fascia and grille and a new headlamp design that integrates all forward lighting functions. Composite headlamps are standard with optional integral fog lamps. The front license plate bracket is molded into the charcoal-colored lower valance, while a new center step cutout in the rear bumper gives easy access to the cargo area and increases towing capacity on some models. A palette of new metallic colors includes Topaz Gold, Meadow Green, Fire Red, and Indigo Blue.

Maximum towing capacity is 5000 pounds when equipped with a 4.3-liter V-6 engine, automatic transmission. Final-drive ratios include a 3.42 and 3.73 for towing.

The stiff, four-sided ladder-type frame dips in the center to make it easier to step up and step down when getting in and out without sacrificing ground clearance for off-pavement driving. The stiff frame allows the suspension to do its job properly for improved ride quality and better handling.

Now a popular choice, the third-door option for extended cabs was an industry first for compact trucks when GMC introduced it. A driver-side panel swings out to make it easier to load personal gear, pets and people.

Buyers of two-wheel-drive Sonomas have a choice of three types of suspension tuning: Smooth Ride damps out bumps, Heavy Duty offers increased payload and towing capabilities and Sport provides the sharpest handling response on paved roads.

The Sport, or ZQ8, suspension package for two-wheel-drive regular and extended cab models is designed for performance enthusiasts. This street suspension package enhances handling and goes a long way toward making the Sonoma ride and drive like a car. This is accomplished using shorter springs, high-performance gas shock absorbers, urethane bounce jumpers, front and rear stabilizer bars, specially tuned variable-ratio power steering and wide eight-inch aluminum wheels with Goodyear P235/55R-16 tires. An optional locking rear differential enhances traction on unpaved roads.

Buyers of four-wheel-drive models have a choice of suspension packages to suit their needs: Smooth Ride is designed primarily for paved and gravel roads and offers a comfortable, but solid ride quality. Heavy Duty is designed for high payloads and towing; it rides very firm and is a serious work truck. ZR2 Highrider Off-Road package are designed for off-road driving enthusiasts. Distinctions include shocks, springs, and the wheel and tire package.

The Inside Story

Sonoma's interior is roomy, comfortable and functional. The long, wide body along with a relatively thin door design translates to impressive shoulder, hip and head room.

Seat options include high-back bucket seats for two passengers or bench seat for three; a reclining 60/40 split bench is available in addition to the standard bench. Seat comfort is enhanced by two-way driver lumbar and standard recliners on SLS models. Seats, as well as door panels and carpet, are a Scotchguard stain-resistant fabric.

The sculpted instrument panel includes radio and ventilation controls that are angled 15 degrees toward the driver for improved accessibility. Dashboard details include a gauge cluster, individual air-conditioning outlets with shutoff controls that completely stop air flow, and a passenger-side assist grip located on the instrument panel. Uplevel models now have two dash-mounted power outlets below the ashtray.

Sun visors come with extensions for additional glare protection. The center console can accommodate an optional remote cassette player with dual feedback. A glovebox, door pockets and space behind the seats provide basic stowage needs. Extended cab trucks offer fold-down jump seats for rear occupants, but this space is better reserved for pets and packages.

Other options include power windows, door locks, tinted glass, and an upgraded remote keyless entry system with security alarm.

Safety features include taller integral head rests and a new seat belt design that allows the belt to travel with the seat for a safer, more comfortable ride for occupants of all sizes; daytime running lamps are standard.

The Sonoma offers good seating position, with good visibility and an open, airy feel. A sloping hood, narrow A-pillar and unobstructed views to the rear make for good visibility in all directions.

Ride & Drive

We enjoyed driving the Sonoma 4X4. The ride quality was a bit jouncy with the Heavy Duty suspension package. This suspension is at its best when hauling a heavy load or pulling a trailer and rides better with a cord of wood in back. The Smooth Ride suspension is more comfortable for everyday use and works well for the light-duty work most pickups perform.

Two different 4.3-liter V-6 engines are offered. Ours came with the more powerful optional engine, which served up a robust 190 horsepower at 4400 rpm and 250 pounds-feet of torque at 2800 rpm. It delivered healthy throttle response across the power band, which made everyday driving enjoyable and assisted with passing maneuvers.

The standard 4.3-liter V-6 offers 180 horsepower and 240 pound-feet of torque. Both use sequential central port fuel injection and offer an excellent combination of horsepower and torque. The base 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine delivers 120 horsepower at 5000 rpm and 140 pounds-feet of torque at 3600 rpm.

Our SLS was equipped with an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, a $1070 option.

Sonoma's electronic transfer case called Insta-Trac is a dream to operate. Simply push a button to shift into low-range and you're ready for the toughest terrain. A high ground clearance, a locking differential, aggressive tires, gas-pressure shocks and heavy-duty multi-leaf rear springs produced positive results during our off-road excursions. The Off Road Package is designed for serious off-roaders. Four-wheel disc brakes come standard on four-wheel-drive models.

We particularly enjoyed the feel of Sonoma's capable brakes. Brake pedal travel is relatively short with improved pedal feel, all of which instills confidence.

Final Word

The always-improving Sonoma line is one of the most versatile compact trucks on the market with models and options to suit a wide range of drivers.

Order our 200+ page magazine of reviews. Send $8.00 (S&H included) to New Car Test Drive, 2145 Crooks Rd. Suite 200, Troy, MI 48084.

© 1998-1999 New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

1999 GMC Sonoma Truck

Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Passenger On/Off Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Intermittent Wipers Std


Anti-theft System Std
Printable Version

1999 GMC Sonoma Truck

Original Warranty  help
Original Warranty
An original warranty is the warranty associated with a vehicle when it is brand new. In addition to the original warranty, select items, like tires, are typically covered by respective manufacturers. Also, an act of Federal law sometimes provides protection for certain components, like emissions equipment.
The original warranty is often broken down into multiple sections, including:
Basic Warranty:
Typically covers everything except for parts that wear out through normal use of the vehicle. Examples of non-covered items are brake pads, wiper blades and filters.
Drivetrain Warranty:
This warranty covers items the basic warranty does not protect. Wear and tear items such as hoses will not be covered, but key items like the engine, transmission, drive axles and driveshaft often will be.
Roadside Assistance:
The level of service differs greatly with this warranty, but many manufacturers offer a toll-free number that helps provide assistance in case you run out of gas, get a flat tire or lock your keys in the car.
Corrosion Warranty:
This warranty focuses on protecting you from holes caused by rust or corrosion in your vehicle's sheet metal.
Please check the owner's manual, visit a local dealership or look at the manufacturer's website to learn more about the specifics of the warranties that apply to a vehicle.

Basic 3 Years/36,000 Miles
Corrosion 6 Years/100,000 Miles
Roadside Assistance 3 Years/36,000 Miles

GMC Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

2-Year/24,000-Mile1 CPO Scheduled Maintenance Plan.

12-Month/12,000-Mile2 Bumper-to-Bumper Limited Warranty.

5-year/100,000-Mile3 Powertrain Limited Warranty.

1Covers only scheduled oil changes with filter, tire rotations and 27 point inspections, according to your vehicle's recommended maintenance schedule for up to 2 years or 24,000 miles, whichever comes first. Does not include air filters. Maximum of 4 service events. See participating dealer for other restrictions and complete details.

2Whichever comes first from date of purchase. See participating dealer for limited warranty details.

3Whichever comes first from original in-service date. See participating dealers for limited warranty details.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 2009-2014 model year / Under 75,000 miles
Lease Term Certified No
Point Inspection 172-Point Vehicle Inspection and Reconditioning
Download checklist
Return/Exchange Program 3-Day 150-Mile Satisfaction Guarantee
Roadside Assistance Yes
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $0

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

1999 GMC Sonoma Truck

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