A 4-Cylinder Pickup? Chevrolet Takes a Gamble With 2019 Silverado 1500

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Just 10 years ago, the idea that a turbocharged V-6 engine in a full-size, half-ton pickup truck would be an acceptable powertrain was unthinkable. When Ford introduced the EcoBoost V-6 to the world, analysts and pundits were skeptical: Would buyers used to V-8 engines accept something like this? Would anyone buy it? Ford stuck it under the hood of a model-year 2011 F-150 pickup, and now turbocharged V-6 engines power nearly three-quarters of all new F-150s sold every year. The skeptics have been silenced.

Related: Ready for the Revolution: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 First Drive

We're about to take the next step in seeing what customers will accept when it comes to small, turbocharged engines in pickup trucks. Chevrolet has introduced a 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as the new standard powertrain in the 2019 Silverado 1500 LT and RST trim levels (the Work Truck and Custom trim levels will continue to use the 4.3-liter V-6 ... for now). According to Chevrolet engineers, this engine started life as a truck engine — it's not a modified passenger-car motor built up for heavier duty cycles. In fact, Chevy says that the direction given to its powertrain engineers was not "give us a four-cylinder engine," but simply to meet some specific power, efficiency and weight requirements for the latest Silverado pickup. And the resulting motor turned out to be this turbo four.

Out on the Street

We'll get into the specifics of this impressive new motor, but first, don't you want to know how it drove on our extended media drive outside Phoenix? The answer: astonishingly well. The four-cylinder fires up to a growly timbre that you'd swear is piped-in sound, but Chevy insists that it's not — the sound you hear from the exhaust is real and live, not an interior soundtrack, as the LT and RST don't use active noise cancellation or pipe in modified sound. Old-fashioned sound insulation mats on the firewall keep unpleasant engine and road noise muted.

Slip the eight-speed into gear and off you go with surprising urgency. The torque curve of the 2.7-liter turbo four is such that there's plenty of oomph from standing stops or rolling starts, and the creamy-smooth eight-speed automatic is beautifully matched to the engine, shifting almost imperceptibly and keeping itself in the proper gear for the conditions. It handily outpaces the seat-of-the-pants acceleration comparison with both the Ford F-150 naturally aspirated 3.3-liter V-6 and the Ram 1500's 3.6-liter eTorque mild-hybrid engines, and sounds better than either of those engines while doing it.

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Elevation changes don't faze the 2.7-liter engine in the slightest. A light pressure on the accelerator drops the transmission a gear or two, depending on what you've asked for, and the truck surges up with minimal drama. What's even more impressive is the quietness that this engine brings to the Silverado. My drive through Scottsdale, Ariz., and the surrounding highways (which were in amazing condition and often totally smooth) revealed an impressively hushed cabin with minimal road, wind and powertrain noise. Part of the credit surely goes to the high sidewalls of my LT double-cab test-truck's 17-inch tires, which soaked up what few road imperfections there were and went a long way toward helping isolate road noise, but with only an occasional growl from the engine's exhaust upon application of the accelerator to cut into my silent reverie, the Silverado's cabin was wonderfully quiet at any speed.

With that smaller, lighter engine under the hood comes different handling dynamics. If you've only ever sampled GM's V-8-powered pickups, you need to get into this four-cylinder model — handling that's already sharper than competitors gets even better thanks to the lower weight. The truck feels smaller than the massive footprint its considerable dimensions define, almost as if it were a slightly bigger version of the Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup. The truck's lightness also gives it a numerical advantage when it comes to truck-style duties: The 2.7-liter-equipped Silverado is rated for almost 2,300 pounds of payload and a maximum towing capacity of 7,200 pounds.

Now, all this praise comes with a caveat: My test drive was done in a completely unloaded pickup with just me and a passenger. It wasn't loaded to the gills with bags of sand, wasn't towing a trailer and didn't have a bunch of beefy construction workers filling all six seats. How the 2.7-liter engine behaves when tasked to do truck-style duties is something we'll be testing soon, but until then, we can't speak to how it behaves under load or while towing.

Under the Hood

Get a look under the hood and you'll realize that this is no ordinary turbo four. At 2.7-liters, it's a big four-cylinder — as much displacement as Ford's turbocharged 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6, actually. It pumps out an impressive 310 horsepower and 348 pounds-feet of torque. That's a considerable 14 percent bump in torque over the previously standard 4.3-liter V-6's output, and also bests Ford's base 3.3-liter V-6 and Ram's 3.6-liter Pentastar eTorque V-6 in the latest 1500. For those keeping score, it's also more power and a lot more torque than the 3.6-liter V-6 makes in the Colorado, which makes us wonder if it might find a home there soon, too.

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The 2.7-liter is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission and can be had with or without four-wheel drive, in double-cab or crew-cab configurations and on the LT or RST trims — the two most popular models in the Silverado trim pantheon. Comparisons with the old 4.3-liter-equipped LT are also impressive — it's a second faster from zero-to-60 mph (6.8 seconds, according to Chevrolet), weighs up to 380 pounds less than the old model and, according to EPA estimates, can achieve 23 mpg on the highway (20 mpg in the city). We didn't quite hit that lofty gas mileage number. My test loop was rather higher speed and involved considerable elevation changes, so I saw a maximum of 21 mpg according to the trip computer. A dedicated fuel economy test is likely in the near future.

Related: Chevrolet Releases EPA Numbers for 2019 Silverado 1500 Four-Banger

The new engine has several features designed to maximize fuel economy, including active fuel management — that's cylinder deactivation to the rest of us — meaning that under certain conditions, the motor operates in two-cylinder mode. The shift between four- and two-cylinder mode is so imperceptible that I didn't even realize the engine could do it until I was told it did it — hours after I'd already driven the truck. It also features Chevrolet's first application of active thermal management — a system that can send coolant to various parts of the truck's powertrain (the head, the engine block, the transmission) to speed up heating and optimize fuel efficiency. And despite being turbocharged, the compression ratio of 10.0:1 means that the motor can happily run on 87 octane gasoline — regular unleaded, no need for premium like in most turbocharged engines.

Priced to Sell

With the LT and RST trim levels making up the most popular models in Chevy's Silverado lineup, expect to see a lot of these engines appearing on showroom lots around the country. They also operate in the sweet spot for pricing, too, covering the $30,000-$40,000 range where Chevy says it sells the most trucks. The least expensive truck with this engine is a two-wheel-drive LT double cab, which starts at $38,395 including destination fee. My test truck was such a model, but it added a few popular equipment packages and left the factory with a sticker price of $44,900. Start ticking off options boxes on an RST crew-cab 4x4, and you can easily top $60,000 for a four-cylinder turbo half-ton pickup. It's unlikely that many are going to go out the door like that, however. If you're spending that kind of money, you've already likely specified one of the optional V-8 engines.

We'll have to reserve overall judgment on the 2.7-liter as a suitable Silverado pickup engine until we can test one with a load in the bed and a trailer on the hitch. But if your duties rarely include such tasks, which is entirely possible given that people who tow or haul regularly are more likely to go for a V-8, and you find yourself using a truck more for lighter duties, the new turbo engine could be a sweet choice for you and a welcome addition to the Silverado powertrain lineup.

Cars.com photos by Mark Williams

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Comments

2.7L engine done right.

Give it a couple of years. We'll see how they hold up. GM's track record for turbos lately's been spotty.


Honestly, the 2.7 does not sound--in more ways than one--appealing in a full size truck, especially after reading this article and others.

Physics, not "GM's" spin doctors, are going to be the dominating force in how well this truck does in the market place.

This engine's true home is in a mid-size truck.

Its interesting to see how Chevy is marketing this engine. I’m sure I’ve heard of another manufacturer promotion the benefits of smaller, turbo charged gas engines over naturally aspirated engines... I still think that consumers will compare this more to the smaller Ecoboost than their base engine regardless how it’s marketed by Chevy.

I just think a 4cyl gas engine, no matter how advanced it going to be so over worked in a big truck. I always felt like it was in smaller trucks. I would feel much more comfortable with Fords V6 Ecoboost.

At least GM gives the option for a couple bullet proof v8's, one with more grunt then any other half ton

and now turbocharged V-6 engines power nearly three-quarters of all new F-150s sold every year. The skeptics have been silenced.

@PUTC

Ford dropped their strongest V8 at the approximately same time. Without the 6.2 SOHC V8 buyers had to choose between a non turbo six, a small V8 and the Ecoboost. For anyone whose tastes leaned toward torque and towing power there was no choice.

It was hardly enthusiasm. Ford spent untold sums to warm up the public to the idea. So far I've yet to see a single GM ad praising their new turbo 4 truck motor.

So in conclusion

If you don't have anything to load into the bed

If you don't have anything to tow

This could be welcome...maybe

Or

Maybe not

Does not sound too confidence building

I'm going to recommend my client not to buy

lol chevy thinks their competitor is fords 3.3 v6. it should be against fords 2.7T but GM had to detune the 2.7 because of the low output of the 5.3, which they couldnt exceed the torque on.

GM's track record for turbos lately's been spotty.
Posted by: redbloodedxy | Nov 19, 2018

LOL. You cannot be serious!

Ford's turbo six has hardly been covered in glory. Shall we recite the long list of Ecoboost issues again?

GMs couple V8s deactivate to 4 cylinders. GM. All 4 cylinders lineup!

Shall we recite the long list of Ecoboost issues again?

Posted by: papajim | Nov 19, 2018 7:59:27 AM

LOL and these are not the half of them!

The 09-14 and 15-18 F-150's have just as many issues that are just as severe as the GM trucks if not more.

http://www.lemonlaw.com/wordpress/ford-f-150-vibration-continues-leave-drivers-shaken/
https://www.f150forum.com/f118/vibration-issues-group-thread-ford-complaint-please-read-395499/
https://www.f150forum.com/f118/2017-ford-f150-crew-cab-pickup-has-vibration-395910/
https://www.f150forum.com/f2/2017-xlt-bad-vibration-issue-394591/
https://www.f150forum.com/f118/vibration-highway-speed-421543/
https://www.f150forum.com/f118/2018-heavy-duty-payload-vibration-highway-speed-423652/
https://www.f150forum.com/f2/2016-platnium-vibration-problem-345873/
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1483731-2016-f150-screw-3-5-ecoboost-vibration-help.html
https://www.f150forum.com/f106/vibration-highway-speeds-421547/
https://www.fordf150.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=119087
https://www.f150ecoboost.net/forum/31-f150-ecoboost-problems/42449-vibration-high-speeds.html
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/thought-oh-high-speed-vibration-fix-355338/
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/vibration-highway-speeds-363806/
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/highway-speed-vibration-163926/
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/thought-oh-high-speed-vibration-fix-355338/
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/2014-fx4-rear-vibration-353695/
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/2012-f150-vibration-issues-over-65mph-310870/
https://www.f150forum.com/f118/2015-f150-fx4-vibration-help-297498/
https://www.f150forum.com/f70/good-vibrations-bad-60-mph-harmonics-225468/
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/5-0l-truck-shake-70-mph-282934/
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1466406-shaking-vibrating-at-highway-speeds.html
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1350674-2014-f150-vibration.html
https://www.fordf150.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=123333
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/2013-screw-intermittent-highway-vibration-254810/
https://www.yellowbullet.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2239186
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/vibration-after-70-a-111993/
https://www.fordf150.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=123308

Shall we recite the long list of Ecoboost issues again?

Posted by: papajim | Nov 19, 2018 7:59:27 AM

LOL and these are not the half of them!

The 09-14 and 15-18 F-150's have just as many issues that are just as severe as the GM trucks if not more.

http://www.lemonlaw.com/wordpress/ford-f-150-vibration-continues-leave-drivers-shaken/
https://www.f150forum.com/f118/vibration-issues-group-thread-ford-complaint-please-read-395499/
https://www.f150forum.com/f118/2017-ford-f150-crew-cab-pickup-has-vibration-395910/
https://www.f150forum.com/f2/2017-xlt-bad-vibration-issue-394591/
https://www.f150forum.com/f118/vibration-highway-speed-421543/
https://www.f150forum.com/f118/2018-heavy-duty-payload-vibration-highway-speed-423652/
https://www.f150forum.com/f2/2016-platnium-vibration-problem-345873/
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1483731-2016-f150-screw-3-5-ecoboost-vibration-help.html
https://www.f150forum.com/f106/vibration-highway-speeds-421547/
https://www.fordf150.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=119087
https://www.f150ecoboost.net/forum/31-f150-ecoboost-problems/42449-vibration-high-speeds.html
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/thought-oh-high-speed-vibration-fix-355338/
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/vibration-highway-speeds-363806/
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/highway-speed-vibration-163926/
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/thought-oh-high-speed-vibration-fix-355338/
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/2014-fx4-rear-vibration-353695/
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/2012-f150-vibration-issues-over-65mph-310870/
https://www.f150forum.com/f118/2015-f150-fx4-vibration-help-297498/
https://www.f150forum.com/f70/good-vibrations-bad-60-mph-harmonics-225468/
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/5-0l-truck-shake-70-mph-282934/
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1466406-shaking-vibrating-at-highway-speeds.html
https://www.ford-trucks.com/forums/1350674-2014-f150-vibration.html
https://www.fordf150.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=123333
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/2013-screw-intermittent-highway-vibration-254810/
https://www.yellowbullet.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2239186
https://www.f150forum.com/f38/vibration-after-70-a-111993/
https://www.fordf150.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=123308

The public eye will only see Ford 2.7 vs Chevy 2.7. The Ford will decimate that garbage and get better MPG doing it.

This engine will be just fine. It will work and it may be accepted across the whole range eventually. The flat torque band will not "overwork" the engine and it's got to be a fairly high revving engine to boot.
The Ecoboost worked their issues out and now there are 2 of them in the F150 line. A big four cylinder makes sense, it may not be as cool as 6.2 liters or or a Hemi but for what most folks use a truck for these days it will work.
I had a 4.3 V6 for my truck at work and I loved the light feel of the smaller engine, can't imagine how this truck couldn't drive better with a an even lighter engine and way more power.

@Old GM Guy

I've been saying this for a long time. If you can take weight off the front end, your truck will feel like a sports car in traffic.

It's one of the reasons that people loved those old four-cylinder-stick shift regular-cab Rangers and S10s.

Looking at the door-jam sticker, I'm reminded that I much prefer a 17inch wheel on the LT. Better ride, cheaper tires.

@Old GM Guy

I've been saying this for a long time. If it ain't a big V8, I ain't interested. Yet I only buy small V8s and 4 cylinders. Why? Because I'm cheap.

I like 17 inch spare tire though. GM is too cheap to give you a full-size spare. LOL.

This is likely the first in a series of turbo engines for GM trucks.

@old gmguy . I'm with you. I have an '18 4.3 single cab lwb work truck. I like the engine alot. So much more than my previous ram 3.6. the 3.6 was always overworked while the 4.3 always has pedal left.

This is likely the first in a series of turbo engines for GM trucks.


Posted by: Just the truth | Nov 19, 2018 8:57:07 AM

How many times do you need to be reminded of your ignorance.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/GMC_Syclone

@ Gms Why do we have to keep going over the same material. Ford or GM did not invent turbo engines. That said Ford did get acceptance of turbo engines in mainstream non-high- performance applications.

The truth is Ford sucks hahaha!!

I would prefer to read up on Rivian coming out in the LA Auto show. Might be part of Fords Mach 1 program. Gas Turbos are better than a diesel but no where near as powerfull or efficient as battery electric drive.

The truth is Ford sucks hahaha!!


Posted by: GMSRGREAT | Nov 19, 2018 9:56:29 AM

hahaha

8 years late Chevy and GMC arrive to the small displacement, modern, turbo, engines in truck party Ford started almost a decade ago. Give them their golf clap they again earned.

As a standard entry engine it brings a lot of technology and excellent power for anyone and especially Chevy and GMC. Hopefully Chevy, and GMC's first foray into this type of engine in a full size truck will also be well engineered and reliable. Excellent that it doesn't need premium fuel, I love the thought of a large 4cyl compared to small v6 (like Ford's 2.7). While the 2.7 V6 isn't Ford's standard engine and the 2.7 turbo 4cyl obviously currently outperforms Ford's standard 1/2 ton 3.3 V6 comparisons between the 4cyl 2.7 turbo and the V6 2.7 turbo will be unavoidable and far more interesting and that's where the party ends for the 4 cyl. Honestly I expected more from it. At least more MPG and more low end torque than Ford's little V6. I'm looking forward to future tests and what percentage of Chevy/GMCs actually end up with this engine or is it just another 1/2 ton marketing stunt like the 6.2. This engine obviously would be right at home in one of the government pretend trucks and possibly the edge it would need with the coming ranger.

5.3L V8 is great engine. What a fantastic service record.
Half of a V8 with a turbo added is an unknown. GM's track record with turbocharged small displacement engines is concerning. Turbo failure and other reliability issues.
Why choose the 2.7L? Performance? Price? Reliability? Trucks last a long time. Compromising on reliability is not wise.

They should have put this in the ZR2 when it came out, instead of the same 3.6 that is in all the twins

You see the new ford F450 truck for 2020 https://bit.ly/2BeRIyc

I haven't seen as many ho-hum reviews of a new truck since the latest Titan came out. Another solid single by GM and their Engineering by committee system.

@papa
The 6.2 in the F150 is not required. And I dont think it’s because of the engine - although I’d argue the boosted motor is better for towing even if you just compared it to the 5.0. My point is that truly heavy towing (8000#) is better left to 3/4 ton trucks. I know all MFGs 1/2 tons are capable but it’s much better to pull that weight with a 3/4 ton truck - of any brand

Chevy sure missed the mark on this truck.

Especially with this 2.7L Turbo.

What a P.O.S.

Shall we recite the long list of Ecoboost issues again?


Posted by: papajim | Nov 19, 2018 7:59:27 AM

Get on topic you fuqing loser.

So for similar $ I can get a 5.7 Tundra that will out work out last out truck this expensive wanna be. I'd just get the 5.3, it's at the very least shown to be reliable.

I don't intend to buy a 4 cylinder pickup.

Nice truck, not my cup of tea though! Sounds like a great TRUCk motor!

A smaller engine at the same price with no appreciable gain in MPG is a win for shareholders, it's a win for the banks and its a win for the oil companies.
Looks like the only ones getting the short end of the stick are you and I.

Would probably be a good truck in the mountains, given curvy roads and higher altitudes where neutral handling and forced induction would excel.

@ Gms Why do we have to keep going over the same material. Ford or GM did not invent turbo engines. That said Ford did get acceptance of turbo engines in mainstream non-high- performance applications.


Posted by: Just the truth | Nov 19, 2018 9:38:08 AM

____

GM was the first to use it in an automobile application.

8 years late Chevy and GMC arrive to the small displacement, modern, turbo, engines in truck party Ford started almost a decade ago. Give them their golf clap they again earned.

As a standard entry engine it brings a lot of technology and excellent power for anyone and especially Chevy and GMC. Hopefully Chevy, and GMC's first foray into this type of engine in a full size truck will also be well engineered and reliable. Excellent that it doesn't need premium fuel, I love the thought of a large 4cyl compared to small v6 (like Ford's 2.7). While the 2.7 V6 isn't Ford's standard engine and the 2.7 turbo 4cyl obviously currently outperforms Ford's standard 1/2 ton 3.3 V6 comparisons between the 4cyl 2.7 turbo and the V6 2.7 turbo will be unavoidable and far more interesting and that's where the party ends for the 4 cyl. Honestly I expected more from it. At least more MPG and more low end torque than Ford's little V6. I'm looking forward to future tests and what percentage of Chevy/GMCs actually end up with this engine or is it just another 1/2 ton marketing stunt like the 6.2. This engine obviously would be right at home in one of the government pretend trucks and possibly the edge it would need with the coming ranger.


Posted by: Clint | Nov 19, 2018 10:11:51 AM


I hope they are reliable too. Ford can then take them apart and figure out how to make their engines reliable.

Explain to me again what engines "require" premium fuel?

or is it just another 1/2 ton marketing stunt like the 6.2. This engine obviously would be right at home in one of the government pretend trucks and possibly the edge it would need with the coming ranger.


Posted by: Clint | Nov 19, 2018 10:11:51 AM

IF your looking for a 1/2 ton marketing gimmick in a 6.2, look no further than how many 6.2's showed up in F-150's.

The pretend Ranger has similar numbers to the 3.6V6, you really need to stop. Your sounding more like Frank everyday.

@;andrwken And when was this "first" use?

that's where the party ends for the 4 cyl. Honestly I expected more from it.

@Clint

Have you even SEEN one yet? You act like it's been out for years. It's brand new. GM has developed an impressive motor, something that will probably survive the ups/downs of the American energy-price roller coaster.

At least give it an honest chance to win your approval.

Clint and Frank are the same person

They are just upset bc GM built this engine for a TRUCK, while the EcoBoost was first made for a Taurus.

Give it time. It's a brand new motor. Those that have driven it have been impressed with it. For an entry level motor. I think it should do well. Idk if $45k is worth it when u can get a reliable 5.3L for that

4 cyl in big truck is a dum idea,,throw some load in the back and it will strugle and suck gas like crazy..

Ill keep my old Silvy w 4.8 V8..get 26mpg even w my TC in bed..
10 years old and still runs awesome..
And still get beter mpg then CC v6

They are just upset bc GM built this engine for a TRUCK, while the EcoBoost was first made for a Taurus.


Posted by: TNTGMC | Nov 19, 2018 3:46:12 PM

That is a weak argument. You are pretty desperate looking with that juvenile comment. I’m ashamed to be a GM fan when there’s one like you out there too.

This is quite easily the best engine for the Colorado. I dont know why the engineers didnt put the pipe down when they made this decision. Show me real world mpg's with a family, a small boat, and a hefty payload in the bed.

Clint..., You raised a good point in that a comparison between Ford's 2.7V6 Turbo and gm's 4cylinder 2.7 will be unavoidable.
Ford's 2.7V6 Turbo is a much stronger engine. GM knows that and went with a much easier comparison (base engines or not). Who knows..., maybe gm will follow Ford's lead a little further and come out with another turbo engine. This time a V6 turbo...

The disappointment that I have with this truck is that those EPA numbers awfully mimic the EPA numbers of the 2007 Silverado 4.3 liter V6 and the 4.8 liter V8, over time, let's hope those numbers are drastically better with the next Silverado overhaul.

Not good news for GM fans!!! This posted today..

https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/companies/general-motors-buyouts-likely-to-fall-short-layoffs-loom/ar-BBPTns9?li=BBnbfcN



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