We enjoyed driving the Sonoma 4x4, although the ride quality is a bit jouncy with the Heavy Duty suspension package. This setup is at its best when hauling a heavy load or pulling a trailer, and it rides better with a cord of wood in back.
The Smooth Ride suspension is more comfortable for everyday use, yet still works well for the light-duty work most compact pickups perform.
The Vortec V6 engine serves up a robust 190 horsepower at 4400 rpm and 250 pounds-feet of torque at 2800 rpm. It delivers healthy throttle response across the power band, which makes everyday driving enjoyable. Passing maneuvers can be completed without drama. (When fitted on 2WD models, the V6 produces 180 horsepower and 245 pounds-feet of torque at the same engine speeds.) Both V6 configurations use sequential central-port fuel injection and offer an excellent combination of horsepower and torque.
Sonoma's Insta-Trac electronic transfer case is easy to operate. Simply push a button to shift between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. Low range is available for traversing steep or slippery ground. 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.
We particularly enjoyed the feel of the Sonoma 4WD model's brakes. Brake pedal travel is relatively short with good feedback. Four-wheel discs come standard on four-wheel-drive models. Two-wheel-drive Sonomas come with disc brakes in front and drum brakes in the rear. All Sonomas have four-wheel ABS.