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Chevy Silverado Four-Cylinder Is Barely More Efficient Than The V8

Engine / 20 Comments

So, why buy the four-cylinder?

Among all of the new improvements on the 2019 Chevy Silverado, one of the biggest is the introduction of a new 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This new four-cylinder unit replaces the previously standard 4.3-liter V6, although the V6 will still be available in the Silverado Work Truck.

Switching to a four-cylinder engine is an interesting move in the full-size pickup truck segment, and we assumed this new engine could compete with the Ram 1500 V6 e-Torque and Ford F-150 2.7-liter EcoBoost to be one of the most efficient full-size trucks on the market. That's until we saw the EPA fuel economy figures that have just been published.

The four-cylinder Silverado (rear-wheel-drive) is rated at 20/23/21 mpg city/highway/combined. This is not only less than the Ram e-Torque's 20/25/22 ratings, but barely betters the Silverado 5.3-liter V8 that's rated at 17/23/21 mpg city/highway/combined. That's just three mpg less in the city and the same in the highway and combined ratings.

Chevy says the four-cylinder produces 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque, which is more than Ford's 3.3-liter V6 and Ram's 3.6-liter V6 with e-Torque, though both of those truck are more efficient. The four-cylinder also produces less power than the 5.3-liter V8, which is rated at 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque.

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As we mentioned, Chevy will still sell the old 4.3-liter V6 in the work truck and the improvements of the four-cylinder may be mostly chalked up to improvements in the Silverado as a whole. Even with a much heavier curb weight in last year's 2018 model and an older six-speed automatic (instead of a newer eight-speed), the V6 was able to get 18/24/20 mpg city/highway combined. The EPA hasn't rated the V6 engine with the lighter 2019 body but it will likely be more efficient.

This makes us wonder why GM didn't just drop in its more modern 3.6-liter V6 along with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Smaller engines in large vehicles typically have to work harder and can suffer from poor real-world fuel economy as a result. While we were initially excited by the prospect of a four-cylinder Silverado, we now wonder why anyone would buy it.