1997 GMC Sonoma SLS 4.3L Vortec from North America


This truck seems to have been engineered overnight


The fuel gauge does not operate correctly. I had run out of gas on a cold winter day with the gauge showing a half tank.

The wipers don't work.

The right fog light has a crack in it and now mold has grown on the lens. The bulb also burned out.

I get a squeaking noise from the drive train when I accelerate.

The buttons on my AM/FM Cassette popped off and won't stay on any more.

All the speakers on the right side of the truck will not work.

My oil cooler lines rubbed together causing a leak and had to be replaced at 113,000 miles.

The upper left control arm cracked at 110,000 miles. I had to get towed and the price of repairs was $1100.

That's about it. Otherwise it's been pretty good.

General Comments:

It starts every morning and is pretty good for running around town, but I wouldn't trust it for long trips.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st September, 2005

1997 GMC Sonoma SLS V6 vortex 4.3 from North America


Good looking truck, decent performance


I bought my 1997 Sonoma 18 months with 92,400 miles. I have driven it just over 6000 miles. So, my experience with this vehicle is limited.

Replaced front tires at 91,000 miles.

Replaced fuel filter at 94,000 miles. Not cheap (about $450) but dealer included lifetime warranty.

Replaced wiper motor - based on other reviews, not uncommon repair.

Replaced front shocks and rear brakes at 96,000 miles. No complaints, it was time, and cost of repair was reasonable.

Currently have coolant leak through gasket. Probably couple hundred dollars repair.

Replaced the cassette deck with CD player - definitely not an easy installation! Crutchfield has the best installation kit and instructions.

General Comments:

My first truck - I like the higher up driving position.

Very sharp looking truck.

Great selection of options with SLS line. Cab nicely equipped.

Engine very difficult to work on with V6 and Air Conditioning. Good news: many routine service items (like changing spark plugs) are only done every 100,000 miles.

Ride is comfortable for a small pickup.

Acceleration with V6 is more than adequate. Engine is reasonably quiet.

Fit and finish is mixed bag. While quality of interior cab materials (dash, seat, hardware) is pretty good, there is pronounced wind noise from driver side window at highway speeds. Driver door also sags when opened. Periodic rattling noise.

Easy availability of parts.

Gas mileage lower than expected given the size of the truck - expect about 15-18 MPG.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 25th March, 2005

29th Mar 2005, 16:24

Correction: said I replaced the fuel filter for $450. Should have been replaced the fuel pump.

11th May 2006, 07:25

My 1997 sonoma gets about 26mpg with a 5 speed. I have a 4.3 v6 and still get this gas mileage with winter tires. Maybe try a tune-up? so far I replaced plug wires (medium grade Autolites) and bosch platinum 2+ plugs. Maybe a quick tune-up will get you some more miles to the dollar.

22nd Jun 2006, 13:03

Truck is 4.3 V6 with auto transmission. Even with new plugs and wires, and tune-up, gas mileage in town runs about 15-18 mpg.

2nd Aug 2006, 18:40

I'd suggest replacing the O2 sensor (s) as that can have as much as a 30% difference in fuel economy.

18th Oct 2009, 12:47

I have owned my 96 Sonoma for 3 years. It has the automatic transmission and is 4x4. I am lucky to see 17mpg. but it is definitely a good truck. She has 214,000 on the truck with a newer motor, and a new front end. She runs like a top, just not so good fuel economy.

1997 GMC Sonoma SLS 4X4 4.3 liter from North America


We are NOT "Professional Grade".


Windshield wiper motor quits working at times due to faulty solder connections on the pulse board connector. I found a notice on the NTSB web site regarding this fault a year before I got the service bulletin notice from GMC. I repaired it myself by re-soldering the connections.

Fuel pump replaced at 80,000 miles, cost over $800.

Replaced 4L60E 4 speed overdrive automatic transmission at 131000 miles due to multiple failures, cost $3200.

Collapsed oil seal to left front CV shaft while under warranty.

Fuse 19 keeps blowing when going to or from 4 wheel drive, dealer unable to find faulty wire.

Replaced starter around 100,000 miles.

Remote engine oil filter lines leak, replaced lines and started leaking again after a few months service.

General Comments:

Nice truck with engineering related problems, ie. designed obsolscence.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 19th September, 2004