How Small Can We Go? Four-Cylinder Half-Ton Pickups Have Arrived

2019-Chevrolet-Silverado-RST-025 II

It wasn't that long ago that four-cylinder engines were rigidly relegated to the likes of subcompact and hybrid cars. The very idea of a four-banger making it into a full-size pickup truck would have been (and was) ridiculed just 20 years ago. Then came Ford's EcoBoost V-6 engines in the F-150; they gained momentum and resistance wilted. Now, a twin-turbo V-6 is Ford's top-of-the-line performance engine and the new Ford F-150 Raptor is selling just fine without a V-8.

But GM's move to a four-cylinder engine for the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has quite a few people scratching their head.

V-6 engines traditionally have been the base engine for half-ton pickups, but that's all changed now. Close to 70 percent of the No. 1-selling Ford F-150s leave the lot with a V-6. In fact, if you include the new turbo-diesel Power Stroke V-6 and two versions of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, the only remaining engine not a V-6 in the lineup is the stout 5.0-liter Coyote V-8. That's six different engine choices and only one is a low-volume V-8. Pretty interesting for a company that at one time offered three different levels of V-8 power for its F-150. (Do you recall when that was?)

Now comes GM with its all-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 boasting an impressive high-tech four-cylinder as an option. Granted, GM is predicting only a small number of shoppers will choose that engine — 10 percent is the estimate — but depending on the trade-offs those buyers will have to make, it could become more popular as word spreads. For now, the engine is restricted to just two mid-level trims.

From the mechanical side of the equation, using dual exhaust flow tubes (or volutes) to feed the oversized turbocharger, with all sorts of versatile cooling options, is quite ambitious. No doubt it will sound different than most half-ton pickups. Ford addressed that issue with the EcoBoost V-6 engines by using an active sound modifier that made the V-6 sound like a V-8. We'll let you decided whether that's clever or deceptive. We don't know what GM will do, but with almost 350 pound-feet of torque, our pre-production first-drive impression was an eye-opener.

However, we're pretty sure GM engineers have exhausted themselves hunting for the right tones and sounds. Lord knows pickup buyers are particular about truck design and exhaust notes, even if they're saving a good chunk of money on a new truck with an efficient engine that offers strong fuel economy. Understanding exactly which trade-offs are non-negotiable and which ones are is more art than science, no matter how many focus groups you use.

We'll know more about the new GM half tons after we spend more time with the different powertrains in August, when we'll be able to haul and tow with each of the new engines (except the diesel). In the meantime, we're guessing GM's 10 percent number might be optimistic, unless it can build some credibility with a 400-horsepower high-performance model. But we won't hold our breath waiting for a four-cylinder Silverado SS.

Manufacturer images

2-7L-Turbo-with-Active-Fuel Management-and-stopstart-technology (1) II

2-7L-Turbo-with-Active-Fuel Management-and-stopstart-technology (2) Turbo 1 II

 

Comments

@ brick

I or anyone else has the right to tell the imposter to get out when he/she uses others user names. Its getting terrible and rather cumbersome. Cant hold conversations with anyone bc we don't really know who is who.

We do know its a childish ford guy though!

You ain't nothin' but a hound dog
Cryin' all the time
You ain't nothin' but a hound dog
Cryin' all the time
Well, you ain't never caught a rabbit and you ain't no friend of mine

@LongBoat

Windsor, M-series, and 385-series 429:460. Mid 70s to 82, in trucks.

Windsor head design was too restrictive at the time and the Cleveland style M heads had great flow, especially in trucks.

One can debate the numerous V8 design changes at Ford vs incremental evolution with some leaps, but it is the past.

The 4 cyl, if done properly, has success potential.
88-95, the TBI 350 was a stellar 210 hp @ 4400 rpm and 300 lbs ft of torque at 2800. As V8 as it was, the 4 has it beat, well, on paper. In a gas engine, 300 hp is going to require the same amount of fuel, give or take a few %, regardless of 4 or 8. It is that in between part-throttle HP that has varied fuel demands. Generally speaking the smaller the engine, the higher the part throttle BSFC relative to an engine with larger displacement, but similar output.
Where the 4 suffers is against the fuel savings tech in multi-cylinder shut down on a V8, it shines under steady state, low load situations with less bore swept area.
I’m not sure the 4 is ideal for the actual outdoorsman, or person who tows frequently, but for a commuter truck, not a bad idea.

funny ? isn't it ?

for years and years F-150 Eco-Boost Owners like me have been harassed that our turbo engines are crap and NOW Chevy has a turbo

they make up stories of turbo and timing belt failures where the truth is the only issue is bad throttle bodies on the Eco-Boost

then the person buying a new F-150 gets scared and picks the 5.0 engine instead of the Eco-Boost
with the 5.0 gas hog you can watch the fuel gage move cause it sucks

It's a sin seeing a higher end model of the F-150 Lariat with the 5.0 V8,,,,, what a loser and waste of money !

@james

Viewed another way, the 2.7 turbo 4 cylinder with its 300 lbs ft of torque will do about 85-90% of the work of GM's bigger V8, under all but the most demanding conditions.

For buyers who consistently require the performance of a high feature 6.2 engine there is no acceptable substitute. However, for GM's volume customer the smaller engine will satisfy most requirements.

papajim

The F-150 Eco-Boost makes it's 475 lbs torque at 2500 RPM where the 6.2 engine needs double the RPM's to come close to that torque rating

look at the Ford 3.5 NON-Turbo engine, the ONLY way to get power out of it is "floor it" and tach it to 6000 RPM's where the 3.5 Turbo can match it's power at 1500 RPM's

I climb a 7% grade mountain with my Eco-Boost at 70 MPH and I look at my tach and I am under 1500 RPM's
If I took the same Chevy 6.2 up that same mountain, same speed it would be well over 2000 RPM's

just like those motorcycle crotch rockets that pass you up on the highway, they are fast but that engine is screaming at 8000 to 10,000 RPM's

Horsepower and Torque are different !
you can have high HP and low torque or have high torque and low HP

yea, the 6.2 is powerful but the engine is working much, much harder to produce that power

@ecoboost rules

Did you even read my comment (or comprehend?).

I was commenting on GM's approach to the small displacement turbo engine and the large displacement v8.

The point I attempted to make is simple: The smaller turbo motor can deliver most of the performance of the bigger engine, if the more powerful engine's output is not a daily requirement.

GM FINALLY reading the writing on the wall and FINALLY making an attempt to at least nuance it what could be a smart way.

If I had a choice between 2 high tech engines with the same displacement and output and one was 4cyl and the other a 6 my typical preference would be the one with fewer cylinders for its mechanical simplicity and what should be corresponding reliability and durability because of it.

If 10% of their half tons come with this engine it will at least be more common than the 6.2V8 GM likes to market about but not produce for the half ton truck fans.

Personally me at this point I wouldn't be going this small. With such excellent choices in the 3ish to 5ish liter range in the half ton world and power and efficiency way up it becomes an issue of reliability and durability for myself.

"I want to see an all EV pickup that looks like Dodge A100. Only wider and with a taller cab. A full size, deep bed with a cover. All under A/C and with 110v plugs in the bed." ---- Posted by: No Sun Beach

--- And this is why today's pickup trucks are so impractically large.

You know guys, there IS a way to tell who's real and who's fake.


Think about it.

Yes Vulpine...a blood test. :P

"Viewed another way, the 2.7 turbo 4 cylinder with its 300 lbs ft of torque will do about 85-90% of the work of GM's bigger V8, under all but the most demanding conditions.

"For buyers who consistently require the performance of a high feature 6.2 engine there is no acceptable substitute. However, for GM's volume customer the smaller engine will satisfy most requirements." ---- Posted by: papajim

--- ... And people wonder why I keep saying the full-sized pickup is a waste of money for all but those who actually need the size.

@vulpine

You are still fighting the last war. The dealers already have the truck you want.

If you don't like full size half ton and three quarter ton trucks, go buy a Frontier, or Colorado or even a clean used S10. If you're less than 5'10" get yourself a new Tacoma.

"The smaller turbo motor can deliver most of the performance of the bigger engine, if the more powerful engine's output is not a daily requirement."

Posted by: papajim

The turbos are [variably] spinning the entire time the engine's running. These motors are tested to be under full boost for long periods of time. They are designed to fulfill the need for full potential as a "daily requirement."

The 6.2 is a great motor, but it does not make torque more efficiently than a turbocharged motor of lesser displacement.

I remember those Ford Probes from the 80s and 90s.

wow

GUTTSSSSS

GLORYYYYYY

TOP OF THE HEAP

2019 CLASS LEADING RAM

@redbloodedxy

Turbos are very old designs in terms of today's technology. The year after I was born (long ago) a car with a turbo attempted to qualify for the Indy 500. 20 years before that a Cummins diesel did the same. There's really nothing new under the sun.

There is no free lunch however. Turbo and Indy had a speckled relationship because car owners and drivers got greedy and asked way too much from rod bearings, valve springs and crankshafts.

Of course there are great victories in the history of turbo engines. Try to find an oil burning freighter or tanker not powered by a turbo engine. Ditto for modern 18 wheelers.

GUTTLESSSSS

OVERGLORFYYYYYYDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD

TOP OF THE PILE OF SHEAP S%!T

2019 CLASSLESS LEADING RAM


Posted by: Ford Rules GM Drools | Jul 10, 2018 8:38:37 AM

JUNKKKK

OVERRATEDDDDD

NOT BETTER THAN RAMMMM OR ANY OTHER BRANDDDDD

FORD F-SERIESSSSSS

"You are still fighting the last war. The dealers already have the truck you want. If you don't like full size half ton and three quarter ton trucks, go buy a Frontier, or Colorado or even a clean used S10. If you're less than 5'10" get yourself a new Tacoma." ---- Posted by: papajim

--- Ever hear the old saying about the squeaky wheel getting the grease? If it weren't for noisy people like me, we wouldn't even have those right now.

As for what I want, the Frontier comes the closest, but a 5-speed transmission is too old-school; 8-speeds and higher are well proving themselves capable. Add to this the new Frontier is expected to be bigger, possibly challenging the C-twins and the coming Ranger for size and we're going even farther away from what a lot of the market wants (and can't get.)

Your own words gave you away when you talked about the engines. Clearly, there are those who don't need nor want a massive, fuel-thirsty truck with a massive-fuel-thirsty engine. If they can live with a small--truly small--engine, then they will probably appreciate a small--truly small--truck WITH that same, tiny engine.

"Yes Vulpine...a blood test. :P" ---- Posted by: redbloodedxy

Nope. I've been using it myself on this forum. I know which is the Real me and so should the rest of you.

I think the answer to "why" is very simple.... GM has for a very long time wanted to be first in SOMETHING. But they always got beat and had to resort to attack ads until they could catch up (remember those Howie Long attack ads about the Ram heated steering wheel? - and that's just one example.) Now GM has finally succeeded! They have included a truly underpowered engine in a full-sized truck. Wow. Really GM? I have owned more GM in my long life (I'm retired) but gave them up years ago for good reasons. I have tried to be civil and stifled laughs many times. But now I can't help it. I'm not only laughing out loud, I'm guffawing while I slap my leg over and over and over!

none of you guys have a clue what you are talking about. I owned several failed dealerships, so i know

The F-150 Eco-Boost makes it's 475 lbs torque at 2500 RPM where the 6.2 engine needs double the RPM's to come close to that torque rating

look at the Ford 3.5 NON-Turbo engine, the ONLY way to get power out of it is "floor it" and tach it to 6000 RPM's where the 3.5 Turbo can match it's power at 1500 RPM's

I climb a 7% grade mountain with my Eco-Boost at 70 MPH and I look at my tach and I am under 1500 RPM's
If I took the same Chevy 6.2 up that same mountain, same speed it would be well over 2000 RPM's

just like those motorcycle crotch rockets that pass you up on the highway, they are fast but that engine is screaming at 8000 to 10,000 RPM's

Horsepower and Torque are different !
you can have high HP and low torque or have high torque and low HP

yea, the 6.2 is powerful but the engine is working much, much harder to produce that power


Posted by: Ecoboost Rules | Jul 10, 2018 3:41:25 AM

Some of your points are valid, others not so much.

At 2500 rpm, the 6.2 is well over 300 ft. lbs and climbing. Granted not turbocharged grunt, but more than adequate to do the job. It also exceeds your ecoboost in HP and torque at it's peak. 90% of torque available at all usable rpm is great considering it doesn't need a turbo or intercoolers to get there.

Anyone arguing the merits of rpm between small displacement and large displacement engines (comparing crotch rockets to truck engines) doesn't understand that rpm does not matter.

I don't care if your engine is spinning at 2k or 10k. Its the design envelope its built for that matters. If the motor can spin at 10k and deliver the same reliability as a motor turning at 2k, then other things like torque curves, packaging, etc. will be the defining characteristics. Not RPM!

The rpm on grade is based on gearing as well. I have seen my 6.2 run up grade and never downshift. Your evidence is very substantial based on your own opinion. The 6.2 will most likely downshift before the ecoboost, but I think I might rather have the trans downshift before applying 15 psi to the pistons and boil my turbos. In that regard, the 6.2 actually does not work as hard as the ecoboost. It just downshifts more, which is the point of things like 8 and 10 speed transmissions.

Now reliability has not been on the priority list at Ford since the mod motors so that in and of itself is where most people get disgruntled with the Ford product.

I think the answer to "why" is very simple.... GM has for a very long time wanted to be first in SOMETHING. But they always got beat and had to resort to attack ads until they could catch up (remember those Howie Long attack ads about the Ram heated steering wheel? - and that's just one example.) Now GM has finally succeeded! They have included a truly underpowered engine in a full-sized truck. Wow. Really GM? I have owned more GM in my long life (I'm retired) but gave them up years ago for good reasons. I have tried to be civil and stifled laughs many times. But now I can't help it. I'm not only laughing out loud, I'm guffawing while I slap my leg over and over and over!


Posted by: Dale | Jul 10, 2018 10:43:23 AM

Remember the fat guy back in the 90's selling Fords. When GM showed the Ford TTB axle getting hung up while the independent suspension in the Chevy truck cleared it, the best Ford could do was run a commercial with said fat guy dumping coffee on a rock and asking, "who wants a rock?"

Two way street.

This turbo 4 will out run any v8 from that era if all other variables were equal.

Try not to be so simple minded. I don't have an issue with the ecoboost from a design standpoint. I have an issue with known shortcuts Ford has put in their motors in the last 15 years to save a buck and create potential, major, repairs for the customer down the road.

Ford needs to stop sh*tting where they eat in that regard.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHA

Chingon is our supreme leader. HAHAHAHA HAHAHAHA HAHAHA

hahahaha HAHAHAHA, YES!!! Vulpine!!!!

I also pledge allegiance to Chingon!!!! HAHAHAHA HAHAHAHA!!!!

@ andrwken The 5.3 GM has cost Gm and customers a lot of money. When a complete engine has to installed before 100,000 miles this is a real problem. GM has been trying to get variable displacement right since 1981. GM's latest variable displacement system was bought from a outside company which has since been bought by GM. Now every body can go into denial mode.

The 5.3 GM has cost Gm and customers a lot of money. When a complete engine has to installed before 100,000 miles this is a real problem. GM has been trying to get variable displacement right since 1981. GM's latest variable displacement system was bought from a outside company which has since been bought by GM. Now every body can go into denial mode.
Posted by: frankinFL | Jul 10, 2018 11:58:15 AM

It hasn't cost customers any more than any ecoboost used in the F-150. The 5.4 Triton definitely cost owners more money.

The Gen V 5.3's AFM has been very reliable. There are close to 4 million Gen V engines with AFM on the road today. There are random cases of lifters failing but there are just as many Ford Ecoboost and 5.0 Coyote engines with failed hydraulic lash adjusters, which results in similar damage. And a 5.0 Coyote needs 32 lash adjusters. A Gen V V8 only needs 8 AFM lifters. And AFM can easily be disabled, even without a tuner.

Not to mention GM has been covering repair costs for the pre-2014 5.3's that have oil consumption issues. Many are also covered under an extended warranty.

Remember the fat guy back in the 90's selling Fords. When GM showed the Ford TTB axle getting hung up while the independent suspension in the Chevy truck cleared it, the best Ford could do was run a commercial with said fat guy dumping coffee on a rock and asking, "who wants a rock?"

Two way street.

This turbo 4 will out run any v8 from that era if all other variables were equal.

Try not to be so simple minded. I don't have an issue with the ecoboost from a design standpoint. I have an issue with known shortcuts Ford has put in their motors in the last 15 years to save a buck and create potential, major, repairs for the customer down the road.

Ford needs to stop sh*tting where they eat in that regard.


Posted by: andrwken | Jul 10, 2018 10:51:58 AM

One time at band camp, some guy ask another guy what a camaro was, he said it was a cricket.

@ brick The 5.3 has not been as reliable as Ford's engines. When you have replace an engine before 100,000 miles that customer will likely not be back. This does happen and much more often than you are willing to admit. The 5.3 is the reason GM has lost market share.

I just love to watch the dotards argue,,LOLOLOL
Carry on

Why is everyone so JEALOUS of Chevy motors?

He's referencing 09 and 10 when Ford offered the 2v 4.6, 3v 4.6 and the 5.4.

Also, I find claiming the stat of "X % of all new f150s sold are v6s!" as proof people WANT a v6 disingenuous. If that's all Ford will provide dealers then of course it's all that will sell...

@ frank in Florida

Your issues with the 5.3 are pretty ridiculous! care to share proof that they cost gm millions. Last I checked that engine has been in production for 19 years. I doubt a billion dollar company would keep it on the table for that long!! I mean look at ford,tl they new the tritons were junk hence thats why they got rid of them!

@ tntgmc You can ignore facts but it will not change reality. If Ford is so bad how do they keep selling trucks. The reality is you don't stay in first place by selling junk.

If Ford is so bad how do they keep selling trucks?
Posted by: FrankinFlorida | Jul 10, 2018

@FIF

For starters, they can count on undiscerning customers like you. Second, they know that their ad budget entitles them to continue with the lie that they sell the most pickups.

Grab your pocket calculator and do the math, or have someone do it for you.

@ frank

Again no facts. U never have anything but ford sells more for your comeback. Sound like toddlers at McDonald's! We all know they aren't the best, yet they sell the most. Get a clue

@ frank

Again no facts. U never have anything but ford sells more for your comeback. Sound like toddlers at McDonald's! We all know they aren't the best, yet they sell the most. Get a clue


Posted by: TNTGMC | Jul 11, 2018 5:48:27 AM

but the GM guys keep saying GM sells more trucks so can the Ford guys use McDonald's argument against GM, Gm is definitely not the best truck (JMHO) but that's what sites like this are for to hash it out, GM sells more trucks, and SUV's over all, but Ford has the best selling brand, F-series, Explorers, Mustangs, the McDonald's comparison to most truck sales is the lamest comparison yet 2 totally separate industries

@ Ford drools

OK, well your argument is still they sell more..
Mustang...fleet queen...camaro is far superior car... Heck its been called a $40k supercar! Or dodgr makes the challenger which is a muscle car sedan that makes for great cruising

F150.. Fleet king...still can't compete with GMs V8s...heck like papajim said, they got rid of their best v8 the 6.2L in the half tons.

Explorer...cop car u mean...geez. Have u seen those explorers. They are aged since 2010...I drove a 2014 sport bc the hype was this ecobust is so impressive.. Please its a bloated pig that has blind spot galore on them.

You need to get off the Ford lies kool aide and drive a real mans V8! They are made by GM and Ram, but your precious ford makes the coyote so go take that for a spin and hear a TRUE V8/sound instead of false/fake sounds coming from your stereo.... Now that's pathetic!

OK, well your argument is still they sell more.. i just said GM sells more WTF

Mustang...fleet queen...camaro is far superior car... Heck its been called a $40k supercar! Or dodgr makes the challenger which is a muscle car sedan that makes for great cruising
i don't ride around in cars and don't like sports cars so i won't comment on this

F150.. Fleet king...still can't compete with GMs V8s...heck like papajim said, they got rid of their best v8 the 6.2L in the half tons.
how can you sit there and say the F-150 doesn't compete with GM, The 5.0 smokes the 5.3, i just watched the 3.5 TT beat a 6.2 not once but twice and the 6.2 had 3.73's, i had 6.2 great motor don't know why they quit using it, but it sure smack the crap out of the 6.0 GM has

Explorer...cop car u mean...geez. Have u seen those explorers. They are aged since 2010...I drove a 2014 sport bc the hype was this ecobust is so impressive.. Please its a bloated pig that has blind spot galore on them.

i got a 2018 for my wife and we love it rides nice get decent FE has a nice interior and 2nd row seating has leg more than the GM's version of the explorer and don't talk to me about Explorers we are on our 3rd one with over 300k on the 3 combined and have not had 1 issue with any of them

You need to get off the Ford lies kool aide and drive a real mans V8! They are made by GM and Ram, but your precious ford makes the coyote so go take that for a spin and hear a TRUE V8/sound instead of false/fake sounds coming from your stereo.... Now that's pathetic!

you need to get off the GM lies and propaganda, it's a company owned by investors, been bailed out, filed for bankruptcy, GM's had the same V8's for almost 20 years and still can't get it right why is it every time i go the my friend's garage there's more GM's there than Ford or Ram combined and he hates Fords


Posted by: TNTGMC | Jul 11, 2018 7:33:59 AM

@ ford drools

Well I love sports cars. Love to go fast!

Again that 3.5,L beat the 6.2L bc of the driver!! If u knew sports cars and go fast things u would know this! The 6.2L still beats the 3.5,L to 60 mph! And with the new 10 spd it will be worse

As for explorers. Glad u like them bc I thought they were a disaster. The 2nd row doesn't have more leg room than a new traverse. Plus, they have a 9/spd transmission to fords 6.

And u are again lying to yourself if u only think gm went bankrupt. Your beloved company did as well they just called it a different name. Government welfare...... And they are still paying it back to this day!

Anything else u want to debate?

Anything else u want to debate?

Posted by: TNTGMC | Jul 11, 2018 9:41:49 AM

nope won't debate with someone who doesn't know the difference from a loan to bankruptcy

nope won't debate with someone who doesn't know the difference from a loan to bankruptcy


Posted by: Ford Rules GM Drools | Jul 11, 2018 10:05:23 AM

I'd stay from that toxicity, loooney

nope won't debate with someone who doesn't know the difference from a loan to bankruptcy


Posted by: Ford Rules GM Drools | Jul 11, 2018 10:05:23 AM

I'd stay from that toxicity, loooney

Anything else u want to debate?

Posted by: TNTGMC | Jul 11, 2018 9:41:49 AM


You are from this, you're crybaby.

@ Ford drools

Government welfare u mean from Ford. But OK. Have a great day

As for Frank

You don't debate. .u insult bc u get put in your place all the time. We all know this and this is why u do what u do!! Take your meds and run along like a good little child.



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