Chevrolet S10 Xtreme truck looks like a customized low-rider
Date Posted: 5/10/2005
SHREVEPORT, La. -- Cruising down the boulevard, a low-rider truck flashes the pricy mark of a way-cool drop job, bulging at the bottom with curvy body-colored dams and skirts which seem to float mere inches above pavement.
The slinky stance comes from a suspension system lowered by several inches, then 16-inch aluminum wheels and blackwall tires applied, and the bottom of the package wrapped in special aero fascia and fender flares to accent the low-slung carriage.
You could pay a chop shop a bundle to work up such a customized appearance package, but with this particular truck that's not necessary because it comes directly from a Shreveport factory dressed out with a dropped suspension and all of the appearance gear of a custom hot rod truck.
Call this an extreme treatment because Chevrolet labels it as such with the flashy badge of Xtreme.
The idea for a factory-built customized truck traces to the Hugger, a one-of-a-kind concept vehicle from Chevrolet which demonstrated what a customized truck might look like if designed by the manufacturer.
Influences from the Hugger eventually appeared in another concept derived from Chevy's S10 compact pickup, Xtreme Force, which led to a NHRA Pro Stock dragster.
Then came the radical concept of developing a factory issue of Xtreme with the look and feel of a customized truck -- plus a lowered suspension set by the automaker and shielded under the truck's standard warranty.
That idea resulted in this new street cruiser, Xtreme.
The Xtreme becomes a 1999 specialty issue from Chevrolet's rear-drive S10 truck, as offered with regular or extended cab and a choice of 4-cylinder or V6 engine.
One driver logged a week of miles in an Xtreme LS with base engine for a tab which totaled to only $17,822.
The tester carried a cluster of preferred equipment coupled to the Xtreme appearance package, which added $3,097 to the S10 base price of $13,319, plus a $520 delivery fee.
Several extra items -- like power operation for windows and door locks and heated mirrors -- jacked the tally up by $795, as did a tilting steering wheel and cruise control ($395), reclining high-back bucket seats ($291), tinted glass ($75) and the upgraded stereo sound system with CD deck ($180), but a Chevy promotional discount chipped away $850 to bring this particular Xtreme home for under $18,000.
Thus, you end up with a handsome and comfortable boulevard truck bearing the look of an expensive customized job but the affordable price tag of a factory issue.
Even with 4-cylinder power, Xtreme delivers zippy off-the-line action. The engine -- a so-called Vortec 2200 L4 from General Motors -- displaces 2.2 liters and musters 120 horsepower with excellent torque.
A manual 5-speed transmission that mates to this engine utilizes a wide range of gear ratios, while the tight stick lever with short-throw movement permits sporty shifting.
GM's 4L60-E 4-speed electronic automatic transmission -- smooth to shift and smart too -- may be added for $1,070.
A $1,090 optional V6 for Xtreme, GM's Vortec 4300 LF6 plant, expands to 4.3 liters and runs output to 175 hp.
In such a light-weight (1.5-ton) truck, the 6-pack lets Xtreme fly.
Roots of Xtreme trace to the remake of S10 in 1994 with a new generational design that created curvy exterior shapes, generous space for passengers and a variety of configurations for regular or extended cab renditions with either rear-wheel or 4-wheel-drive format.
Enhanced engines came in 1996, along with the option of a third access door for extended cab editions. It tucks behind the driver's door with a hinge along the rear edge.
Yet Xtreme looks best, at least from one person's eye, when outfitted with the regular cab because it maintains a concise package that typifies a customized street 'rod.
To get that low profile, Xtreme applies the Chevy ZQ8 suspension package to lower the ride height by two inches. It then receives de Carbon shocks, front and rear stabilizer bars and 2-stage multi-leaf rear springs.
Hidden behind the slick sheetmetal, Xtreme's ladder-type frame with dropped center section employs steel structural cross members and boxed frame rails. These components create a strong truck and also contribute to the smooth ride and interior quietness.
An aerodynamically efficient exterior design with the Xtreme add-on aero forms also contributes to truck's quiet ride, but so do sound deadening components concealed in an acoustical package, plus thick door seals which lock noise out of the passenger compartment.
In a spacious cabin, optional bucket seats are separated by a center console and provide lumbar support, just like a sporty coupe would. The standard seat layout uses a bench that with upgraded LS trim adds a recliner and split folds to seatbacks.
For the extended cab variation, a couple of flip-up jump seats mount in place of a rear bench. Without spare passengers aboard, that rear space will hold a lot of personal gear.
The pickup box in Xtreme consists of double walls to prevent cargo box dents from showing through to exterior walls. Sides of the box have ledges and pockets to permit twin-tier load stacking, and tie-down loops in the four corners can be used to secure cargo.
For long items, the fold-up tailgate detaches quickly without requiring special tools.
Also, the S10's shapely Sportside cargo box may be specified for Xtreme to further accentuate a sporty form.
For added safety, all S10 editions tote two air bags for passengers, and all have as standard equipment a computerized anti-lock brake system keyed to all wheels.
Conveniences run from analog instruments to power steering, twin cup holders and a handy elastic strap on the driver's sun visor for securing maps or sunglasses, or hidden assets like door guard beams, full-size spare tire, step bumper at the rear and a 19-gallon fuel tank.
Exterior trim elements specific to Xtreme include perimeter ground effects and wheel flares, a front air dam with integrated fog lamps, unique 16-inch wheels and a monochromatic paint scheme in Victory Red, Onyx Black or Summit White.
1999 CHEVROLET S10 XTREME TRUCK
| 1999 CHEVROLET S10 XTREME VEHICLE SPECIFICATIONS
||Compact low-rider truck
| Model Options:
||Compact low-rider truck
||Regular: 108.3 inches
Extended: 122.9 inches
| Overall Length:
||Regular: 190.1 inches
Extended: 204.7 inches
| Engine Size:
||OHV 2.2-L I4
OHV 4.3-L V6
| Gas Mileage:
||I4 M/5: 23/29 mpg
| MSRP Price:
||$ 15,000 to $ 20,000