V-6 Technology Takes Center Stage

2014-4.3L V-6 EcoTec3 II

Yes, we've driven the snot out of the new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 half-ton V-6 and it is impressive. It will be the biggest engine in the segment, with the most torque of any base engine (excluding the Titan, which doesn't have a V-6 base engine) in the class.

We respect General Motors for staying true to its heritage with overhead valve technology, but we have to wonder if this is something GM might regret down the road. Of course, GM also has the opportunity to borrow some cool technology from the likes of Cadillac in the form of the twin turbo 3.6-liter V-6 going into the new ATS and CTS sedans. Naturally, although nothing was announced at the Silverado intro, we'd expect these engines to be more appropriate for something like a Silverado SS or Raptor-fighting Silverado ZR2. Just spitballing here.

In the meantime, horsepower-heavy and "low-torque" dual overhead cam competitors will need to respond in some way. And we can't wait to see what they do. Here's the most up-to-date direct comparison information of all the V-6 engines (and their vital specs) in the half-ton segment.




Too bad there was no place for the Atlas I6 in the Silverado's future. With direct injection it would have been a sweet base option, but since the V6 can share components and machining/assembly, its a lot cheaper.
Especially with the V6's being offered in 4wd crew versions from the D3 now, it really makes a strong case if you don't need to pull anything bigger than a 20ft boat or 16ft car hauler.
The age of the powertrain is really showing over at Toyota. To give up 3-5mpg on the highway AND have the lowest tow rating (even if its J2807) is less than competitive. AFAIK, they have decided that the Tundra is not improtant enough to spend money on powertrain with the minor (midcycle) refresh they just did. Sure would be nice to have the DI 4.6 and 8speed for a premium fuel econ engine.

@Mark, this is a contest for the low ballers. Local Ford lots in Central Florida have a short supply of late model used F150 trucks with V8 engines, but the lots are brimming with 2011 and 2012 F150 3.7 L trucks. Chevy dealers cannot give away the base 2012 and 2013 Silverados, new or used. I saw a 2012 advertised work truck six today for 13K.

Ditto Ram and Toyota. Try selling a Ram with the 3.7 engine! The Titan is no longer even a player, if they ever were in this space. Any payload carrying vehicle that weighs more than 4000 lbs empty wants a V8, at least, period.

For anyone who's shopping trucks, a lightly used 2 year old V8 makes a more appealing package every time.

It seems Ford has made up the difference in torque with higher gear ratios. So is it impressive that we can still expect similar mileage out of its V6? Even with the higher gear ratio?

Axle ratios:
No 3.08 for the GM 4.3 V6? Maybe it won't match Dodge's 25mpg highway...
Isn't 3.92 available for the Dodge Ram V6 4x4?
Toyota could easily change their 5 speed automatic into a 6 speed automatic, it is just an extra overdrive ratio. Then change the ring/pinions to 4.1/4.3. Toyota is just being lazy.

If GM was going to use their 'Atlas' inline 6 engine in the pickups, they would have adopted the larger diameter pistons for 4.4 liters of displacement years ago (when the 2.8 became 2.9, and 3.5 became 3.7), and added variable intake valve timing-for 300hp 300ft-lbs, and used the 6L50 transmission.
Hell GM could have used the 3.7 I5 (circa 250hp 250ft-lbs courtesy of VVT on the intake side) with the 6L45 as a rental/fleet option.

When the 10 speed automatic arrives, I'd would like to see cylinder shutoff removed and cam-in-cam VVT take its place.

The coming RAM 1500 3-litre diesel can afford 268 hp and a stunning 421 lb-ft of torque at just 2000 rpm. It will be a hit. This fall it will be there.

Toyota has said before, nearly 80% of the trucks they sell have the 5.7, since Toyota doesn't sell 300,000 trucks similar to GM and Ford, in my opinion, they see no need to "update" engines that are not being bought. I bet the Toyota engines will get updated here in 2 years. My Tundra has the 5.7 with the 4.30 gears, and it is sitting on 35" tires. From what my friends tell me, my Tundra on 35s is getting pretty good MPGs for a gasser. I get around 12 mpg city, my buddy's 6.0 Chevy gets 9 on 35s.

I consider Ram to be in this boat too, nearly every other Ram I see (1500 of course) has the 5.7 hemi. This might change with the updated Pentastar engine.

@John - Over all, 4.30s are optimal for 35" tires (with the V8). But then, 35" tires with stock Chevy gears will require more throttle to get off the line than your combination or the Chevy with stock wheels and tires.

diesel diesel . then you have gas millage in the 30s and lots of torque . Why is it the big 3 are holding back on Diesel engines for light trucks . If they can do it in Europe surely we can do it here, without sticking a $5000 preimum. for the privilege.

OT a little but concerning diesel, for the 1st time is as long as I can remember reg gas is more than diesel here. If that trend were to continue, which of course it won't but that would spur sales of diesel trucks IMO especially the new Ram 1500.

One problem I see with the new engines, no matter the brand, is that the newer engine adds roughly $2000 to the price. If they want people to buy these engines, they need to make them standard and little, if any, more expensive than the previous year's model.

Both the Ram and Ford V6's are still slated to add direct injection at some point in the future. When this happens they will likely come close to if not exceed the peak torque numbers of the GM motor, though at higher rpms.

I've also done some towing with crossovers in the 250/280 hp range. By 4k lbs their struggling at grades becomes apparent. At 5K lbs they are really working it. I'm not sure I buy these 7K lb tow ratings. Hopefully I'll be able to tow with a couple of these trucks one day and see for myself.

@phillyguy, good points, but don't forget that tow ratings aren't just the drivetrain & grunt. They also relate to wheels/tires, springs and especially braking. I agree that 7k is pretty doubtful.

@knowitall, agree re: Atlas engine family. Esp. the six. Once the Gen 3 & 4 eight cylinders came out, the Atlas looked pretty lame. Even the early Atlas motors were being outclassed by the competition from Asia and Ford. The Ford Essex six back then was finally very dependable and the 4.2 Essex got great reliability ratings. I think the Atlas probably looked really competitive back in 1996 when it was on the drawing board, but it took GM more than five years to go from drawing board to showroom back then.

@ John. I get 14-15 mpg in mixed driving in my dbl cab tundra 4x4 engine 5.7 with 4:30 gears with the bilstein 5100 shocks in front to level truck and have 34" tall tires. 305-70-17. Nitto terra grapplers, wear like iron. Next set will go with nitto dura grapplers, more hiway tread in a 285-75-17 that size will be a bit shorter like a 33.5" tire and being hiway tread may improve my mpg a bit. Love the terra grappler but dont really need a all terrain / off road tire. that tire did very well in snow though when i was up in utah for CHristmas during a big snowstorm. I live in phx so will just have to slow down with dura grapplers if in snow that one or two times a year.

Not sure about the v-6 engines. I don't think they will get the mileage mfg say. Since one will have to put their foot in it a lot more to make it go, taxing those 6 cylinders a lot which sucks the fuel. Vs a V-8 that just loafs along if empty. If driving empty 75-80% of the time maybe v-6 makes sense, i doubt it. will wait to see real world fuel economy from truck owners not some phony baloney sticker from mfg and our so honest govt.

Well, I have been saying for quite some time now that the cost of improving your mpgs will rise. UNECE is the best model to retain most of what you have, CAFE will strangle your trucks.

There will unfortunately be more technology required, forcing up prices more and more.

The rising cost of US pickups might gradually make them a work truck again. People might opt for smaller affordable CUVs/SUVs.

@ phillyguy
Look at Hyundai's 3.8 V6, large 96mm bore like the Pentastar & 95.5mm of the Ford 3.7 & it already has direct injection. Torque is only 295ft-lbs (on premium) and 291 on regular in the Sedan (slightly different intake manifold than the coupe).

And if Ford is getting the ZF 8 speed automatic, they would probably drop the 3.7 V6 for a naturally aspirated direct injection 3.5 V6. (and use shorter gearing)

GM has the option of dropping the 5.3 V8, and enlarging the base V6 to 4.6 liters. But that would also have to wait for the 10 speed automatic.

The chevy v-6 makes the most torque at lowest rpm, that is a Good Sign at least. I would Love to see an Atlas I-6 engine from chevy, that was an awesome engine in my friend's trailblazer. WHY COULDN'T CHEVY PUT THAT WONDERFUL TORQUEY INLINE 6 ENGINE IN THEIR 1/2TON TRUCKS????
CAUSE IT MAKES TOO MUCH SENSE?? We towed a 2500 chevy truck back from punte carrbra mexico on a way under-rated trailer. We had plenty of power just not enough mass of tow vehicle and or a trailer rated to carry such a big load. had to keep it under 55 the whole way. but that engine just hummed along, no problem towing the load. that had to have been a good 7000-8000 lbs. My crazy friend said if we kick it up over 70 maybe that will get us passed the wiggles / swaps. well that didn't work, not sure how we didn't roll and flip a few times, after we got it back under control, it was under 55 the rest of the way for sure !

Some of those torque ratings are better than I thought they were. Those DOHC engines aren't far off of GM's. I think the DI will probably add another 15 lbs of torque to both Ram and Ford's engines and likely improve the overall curve. They are more complex for sure but likely have the most headroom to grow in terms of power and refinement.

I think GM jumped the gun not having their 8-speed ready to go since it will likely be in there for the 2015 models.

@ cmon I got the OME 613 coils/suspension on my 5.7 Tundra, they ended up giving me ~4.5" lift even with my bumpers installed. I'd bet with the bumpers, and what not my truck is pushing ~6,000 curb weight. I get about 16-17 highway with this setup. Which isn’t too bad compared to my friends (with gassers).

I never had good luck with the Nitto Terra Grapplers either, My Nitto Trail Grapplers have been awesome. Good wear and they did great here in the Midwest snow storms.

Nice truck mobile apps and games

Vulp, These are the standard base model engines.

I don't think Ford will have the 3.7 around for long. They will drop to a smaller EcoBoost to get better ratings all the way around. Most of these entry engines are 90% commuter type driving anyway and rarely haul or tow a thing. Other than marketing hype to get your attention on "class leading" numbers, I don't see much interest in these engines. When push comes to shove, guys buy the meat and potato engines (GM-5.3, Ford EB or 5.0L, etc).

I hope you're right, Ken, because the EcoBoost from Ford and the PentaStar from Chrysler are adding to the price over the base engine.

As it should. Nobody is even talking about the EcoBoost here - that's the premium engine. For Ram the Pentastar is $500 over the crappy 4.7 V8.

@Ken: And about $2K over the base V-6 which it supposedly replaces. If these new GM engines don't increase the price of the base model trucks by that same $2K figure, then GM has a real jump on the other two, effectively forcing them to cut that additional price just to remain competitive.

Ford850... I think that is true to an extent, pretty soon though, mom and pap outfits like plumbers, exterminators, handymen etc are going to have to go to these things if prices and regulations keep trending the way they have been. My wife's uncle is GC and he always went with V8's even if it meant stepping up to a more expensive truck because his comment was that once you turn on the A/C and tow anything the V6 gets worse MPG than even the smaller V8's.
This 4.3 is a game changer though in that people like him now have a solid torquey option in a base package that keeps an eye on the bottom line. I see the diesel HD guys fighting about 15lbs ft of torque and a few hundred RPM's all day in HD forums so this thing really smashes the competition at 30-35lbs ft if we follow the same logic. Also note that peak HP is over 1000rpm sooner than the ford and dodge. Ask anyone who ever towed with a 5.7l Vortec Chevrolet how big a difference that makes. A lot of people didnt even like the new 6.0l (forget the 5.3l haha) despite massive technological improvements and way more power just because you had to rev it that much more to get to peak HP.

Also, I always get a kick out of those who knock OHV. I seriously doubt Chevy will ever regret staying with OHV's until they fail to get the same power and torque and better FE from their engines (5.3 chev vs 5.0l ford) all in a design with less moving parts and easier to service in a smaller lighter lower cg package.

Like someone else said though, Ford will stick some turbos on a 4 popper at some point in the near future and be right there with this thing.

Hi Mark,

I am pretty sure you are well aware of the fact that FORD is being inestigatesd for its FORD 250 and FORD 350 for a steering whell problem. The news came out last Monday, but we still don't see it on this website. Would this be the case if it was about GM?

Now we have just learned that after being sued over Ford C Max's false fuel efficiency claims, Ford Motor Co. is being sued by three vehicle owners in Ohio because of alleged defects in the automaker's six-cylinder EcoBoost engine.

According to the lawsuit, the 3.5-liter V-6 EcoBoost engine "contained serious latent design, manufacturing, or assembly defects" that cause vehicles to shake, misfire and rapidly lose power.

The problems often occur at highway speeds -- putting the plaintiffs and fellow drivers in life-threatening situations, according to the suit.

Two of the plaintiffs, who are married, claim their 2010 Ford Taurus SHO lost power and stalled several times. Another plaintiff says he lost power while accelerating his F-150 pickup.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has received nearly 100 complaints about the engine, the lawsuit states.

According to the suit, the problems stem from a buildup of moisture in the engine's intercooler.

Acceleration results in more air flow through the intake tube, creating a vacuum that pulls in the air and moisture from the tube into the engine.

Ford knew of the problem, the suit says, because it published several technical service bulletins and suggested potential fixes to dealers covering the F-150.

According to the suit, owners weren't informed about the defects, which allegedly impact all vehicles with this engine.

This is not the first time Mark who apparently knows everything about trucks, just chooses to ignore these bad news regarding FORD. My question to you Mark is the following: Why?

@BaF0 - Why do you keep predicting the end of full-size trucks? While the end of mid-size trucks is happening right before our eyes.

Even if full-size trucks kept current MPG with no gains by 2025, the direct CAFE fines of $55 per MPG (under the scheduled targets), wouldn't amount to much more than a set of floormats, when ajusted for inflation. And no, CAFE fines aren't going to rise.

CAFE can only suggest and encourage better fuel economy. As mid-size trucks become the full-size we knew before the '90s, the last survivors, if any, will also roam free.

Hey Mr. Mark Why these 3 new motors have 3 belts ?

glad to see that they didn't include the ego boost engine on this comparison. what a ticking time bomb that junker is.

Everything I've seen, minus the interior screen execution, shows me that GM finally "gets it". And honestly, I have a suspicion that they've 'got it" for awhile, but have just been hamstrung by some government interference. Using the small block architecture seems old school, but they spent enough money to suggest that there's plenty of meat on the bone.

Jim, PUTC already covered the first issue. Where were you? If they covered every lawsuit and TSB that's out there that is all this website would be about. They did not cover the GM MyLink lawsuit and some others either. They don't cover TSB's.

I think V6 make a great choice remember 15 or 20 years ago V8 didn`t make that kind of power V6 do today. Unless you use your truck to haul serious stuff V6 is the best choice.

Yeah, Jim, this is one big story PUTC has got cover: 3 people suing with little or no damages.

The EB issue is old news. It was an issue with condensation building up and being sucked into the engine. Ford made a quick fix for it last year and it fixed the problem. The problem was the parts getting to dealers.

@ RLM Back to front
:dedicated vacuum pump
:air conditioning compressor
:alternator & coolant pump

Thanks GeorgeC ....

Vulpine, The V6 that was replaced didn't have an 8 speed and some other updates. But you are correct it is amost $2000 more when all is said and done. I know where you are coming from and hate the price increases.

I've been saying your protectionist CAFE/EPA/Design Regs/Taxes protecting you full sizers will be the end of your trucks as you know it. Or you will end up with F-250/350 sized half ton pickups, like Lou had alluded too, costing lots more to purchase and operate.

In the shorter term, diesels will get you guys out of trouble. Maybe you will end up with unitary constructed utes, styled like road whales with turbo 4s and V6s.

It is odd. To the mid size detractors. The world outside of the US will still have traditional styled pickups, maybe 9/10ths the size but with a full chassis.

I can't see a full chassis not being used here. Why? Because we need traybacks and the UNECE regulations allow for this.

You might not like the UNECE regulations. Why? Because some think its un American. But they will allow for your full size trucks and yes they will have to compete against our mid sizers.

But having half the number of full sizers is better than none.

Detroit, UAW, Energy, Government have to sit and look at where they want the US to head. I do think the Canadian will hopefully see the light first.

What a pitiful mess, sorry.

Are we trolling again? Lying again?

Dont Forget your turbo SUCK more gas whit a trailer..

Ford have a hight gear ratio because the engine not able to bring the power to the wheel..??

Im confused as to why an OHC setup is generally thought to be less torque oriented. While many are that way, I was under the impression that bore/stroke ratio had far more to do with how an engine makes its power. Anybody care to explain?

@Benchimus, agree, there's nothing intrinsically torquey (or not) about the valve train infrastructure. There is a lot to consider though with bore/stroke as you noted and ONE MORE THING the size of the valves. Naturally aspirated engines that breathe well at high rpm, need to have small enough valves to keep from stalling at low rpm. Likewise if the valves are too small the atmospheric pressure will not be high enough to allow much horsepower at reasonable rpm ranges. Turbo can help. Whether or not it has OHC or not is less relevant.

Who ARE you? :)

Sometimes I think it's Mark Williams just messing with us...haha.

@Gregory J,

I actually thought he was you, but considering his IP Address, I found he/she to be from Canada.

Go figure, a Canadian dyslexia.


"...your protectionist CAFE/EPA/Design Regs/Taxes protecting you full sizers will be the end..."

First of all, that's the most bizarre wives tale I've ever heard on PUTC! How the heck does "CAFE/EPA/Design Regs/Taxes" *PROTECT* full-size while not ALSO protecting mid-size AND the Tundra/Titan??? It's such a vague statement that it could mean anything... Or nothing!

And 2nd of all, how will "protectionist CAFE/EPA/Design Regs/Taxes" *ALS0* "be the end of your full sizers as you know it..."??? So which is it? "Protect" or "End"???

"Or you will end up with F-250/350 sized half ton pickups"

For what reason would 1/2 tons grow? Half tons are the right size and why would they grow any? It's mid-size that will grow and that's already underway.

"In the shorter term, diesels will get you guys out of trouble."

The only thing diesels have done is get me INTO trouble. Diesels for anything under 3/4 tons are a fetish/niche.. There's absolutely zero reason for them in the US EVEN IF the engine (option) price was the same as gas and -AND- diesel cost the same as gas (or less!).

"Maybe you will end up with unitary constructed utes, styled like road whales with turbo 4s and V6s."

OK, what's a "road whale"? DWF also eluded to them, but a search comes up with nothing (that makes sense).
Turbo 4s and V6s don't really give you better MPG unless they're in a compact vehicle. But it's the compact vehicle that's giving you the best results.

"It is odd. To the mid size detractors. The world outside of the US will still have traditional styled pickups, maybe 9/10ths the size but with a full chassis."

1st) Who's "detracting" mid-size? Other than US consumers, as a whole? 2nd) The rest of the world can continue to live without a viable class of Vehicles (known as full-size) or they may not? I don't see why they should continue to deprive themselves, but "Maybe you will end up with unitary constructed utes, styled like road whales with turbo 4s and V6s."

"I can't see a full chassis not being used here. Why? Because we need traybacks and the UNECE regulations allow for this."

A full chassis is what kills the (compact pickup) deal. Everything in that class is uni-body so it could not, can not share a platform. Definite deal breaker. You've got to have your "trays" in OZ and that's fine. Your deal, not ours. We can run trays here, but we don't have your overrated and blown out of proportion, GVWR anyways.

"You might not like the UNECE regulations. Why? Because some think its un American. But they will allow for your full size trucks and yes they will have to compete against our mid sizers."

It's not a matter of "liking" UNECE regulations. If we don't like the trucks, it doesn't matter. And US full-size trucks in OZ are limited to grey market/used, overpriced, aftermarket RHD conversion, no warranty and US spec GVWR.

"Detroit, UAW, Energy, Government have to sit and look at where they want the US to head. I do think the Canadian will hopefully see the light first."

Market demand is the determining factor in what OEMs build for US consumers. They can not force us buy hybrids or EV either. The tail doesn't wag the dog here. It's not a 'dictatorship'. At least not when it comes to vehicles.

@DeverMike/Paul etc
Quit the crap, really.

It's getting long in the tooth.

You want to debate, but it has to be on your terms.

Learn to debate with good information, then we might be able to have a decent debate.

Opinions are good, but if they are only your view to support the UAW, then how good are they. Look at what you guys have done to Detroit.

Terror tactics (union tactics) don't work on me.

If PUTC wants the UAW or whatever to control this site I suppose it's their decision.

It's not kids like I've been told by PUTC.

They don't seem to care. So this will go on.

If PUTC wants the UAW or whatever to control this site I suppose it's their decision.

It's not kids like I've been told by PUTC.

They don't seem to care. So this will go on.

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