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

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By Aaron Bragman

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

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-05/ford-prepares-to-cut-salaried-jobs-in-11-billion-restructuring


"Ford Motor Co. has told its 70,000 salaried employees that they will face unspecified job cuts as part of the automaker’s $11 billion restructuring..."

"Morgan Stanley has speculated that Ford may pare more than 20,000 jobs from its global workforce of 202,000, but the automaker wouldn’t quantify how large it expected the salaried reduction to be or it if would involve involuntary separations."

"In July, the second-largest U.S. automaker cut its profit forecast for 2018 after second-quarter earnings fell by more than half. Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett announced the restructuring at that time but declined to give details beyond the $11 billion cost. He also canceled a September investor meeting in Dearborn, Michigan, where the company is headquartered."

"Investors are stampeding out of its stock, which has fallen 27 percent this year, and its credit rating is now one step above junk."

"For now, though, it’s seeking to cut more than $25 billion in costs and has now revealed that some of that will come by shrinking its salaried workforce."

LOL yeah Ford's stock is down 40% from 4 years ago, they fired the last CEO and hired this guy to save Ford Motor Company, and still the Ford girls try to spin things like GM is the one in trouble. So far the new Ford CEO's plan to save the company is by laying off 20,000 people, make an electric crossover named after the Mustang Mach 1, and to cut costs out of the vehicles. The F-150's interior is already the worst in quality in the market, with dashes melting in the sun and the aluminum cracking out of the blue. Now he wants to cut more costs out of the vehicles?

Have to agree with papajim here. Articles like to point at the take rate of the eco as evidence that it is what people actively want but when its 90% of all the dealer has... Idk. Seems disingenuous.

Can't wait for a direct comparison of this GM 2.7 vs the Ford ecobust 2.7. I haven't driven this new engine but the reviews seem to indicate that it has better response and low end power delivery than the Ford.

@WXMAN

What does Ford have to do with this weak 4cyl Silverado?

Get on topic.

Ford 2.7 already owns this poser 2.7 from GM. It's not even close, GM when the easy route, Bean Counters won again.

Why did the Bean Counters decide to go with the 8 speed? This is typical GM. Save the best power train for the higher optioned levels. Buying a GM truck in mid or lower trims requires much disappointment.

That's a good thing, disappointment will be your constant companion with these trucks.

Ford has more than 100 patents on the Ecoboost technology. GM may be having problems getting the performance Ford does without infringing patent rights.

Ford has more than 100 patents on the Ecoboost technology.

Posted by: just the truth | Nov 19, 2018 8:59:46 PM

Ecoboost technology, is that like mystical military grade aluminum or unicorns?

@ gms That may be one of the dumbest things posted on this forum. I suggest you educate yourself on patents.

See that aluminum outer tie rod? We at GM copied that from the Toyota Tundra that came out in 2007. Actually we copied the entire front suspension and side profile from Toyota.

It's what we do, copy from the best, then say we are the longest lasting on the dealer lot.

@ gms That may be one of the dumbest things posted on this forum. I suggest you educate yourself on patents.

Posted by: just the truth | Nov 19, 2018 9:41:20 PM

I suggest you get out of your mom's basement and go complete your GED.

Ford has more than 100 patents on the Ecoboost technology.


Posted by: just the truth | Nov 19, 2018 8:59:46 PM


I'm sure Ferrari and Mclaren would trade everthing they know about turbos for just a glimpse of that ecoboost technology. HAHAHA!

WOW. It is amazing at he ignorance you display. The patent office is public anyone may look at patents.

WOW. It is amazing at he ignorance you display. The patent office is public anyone may look at patents.


Posted by: Just the truth | Nov 20, 2018 6:32:24 AM

So it won't be any trouble for you to post information to support your claims. Go ahead we all want to see the ecoboost and military grade patents.

WOW Maybe it is not ignorance just plain stupidity.

@Bob Franconia: Thanks for the compliment! :)

Why do ford guys always need to compare their middle engine to Chevy's base engine, or for that matter, Ford's premium engine to Chevy's middle engine. They do the same with the ecoboost mustang vs turbo camaro, f150 3.5L vs 5.3l instead of 6.2L etc. Chevy doesn't see the small turbo as the premium engine, it's the base engine in most of it's product lines...at least for now. The ford 2.7L is a step up from even the 5.0L in terms of power. Now if only Chevy would allow the 6.2L in a lower trim level. I want the good engine, but I'm not spending $75k on a 1/2 ton truck.

WOW Maybe it is not ignorance just plain stupidity.


Posted by: Just the truth | Nov 20, 2018 8:07:24 AM

Stop making stupid comments and I won't embarrass you by call you out on it.

This is not a "Ford guy" thing. Two engines the same size both turbo both available in full size trucks. Logic says they will be compared.

@gms You embarrassing any one would be a first.

@gms You embarrassing any one would be a first.


Posted by: Just the truth | Nov 20, 2018 11:03:16 AM


In that case, you won't mind posting the patents about the ecoboost technology. I'm very interested in how they make it work.

@gms I do not post links. Google will find it for you. If you can't find it you want understand it.

@gms I do not post links. Google will find it for you. If you can't find it you want understand it.

Posted by: Just the truth | Nov 20, 2018 11:49:00 AM

Ford has more than 100 patents on the Ecoboost technology.

Posted by: just the truth | Nov 19, 2018 8:59:46 PM

I'll cut you a break. If you post just one of those patents describing "ecoboost technology" I'll stop calling you out on the comment you made above.

Gmsrgreat

This car guy who has 20 different usernames, claims he doesn't post links bc he NEVER has facts to justify his nonsense. He should be fords new spokesman. Then maybe he could afford to get a truck and actually have useful/knowledgeable comments.

Gms and tntOnline Ganging up on me. I tell you I am scared. If I added both of your IQs together it still would not be 100.

If you added up "its" 20 personalities it doesn't even total 20. That's how sad that clown is!!

Have a great day and see a shrink

@tntonline You are the one in need of a help. You get on the internet and make fun of your family. You defend Michael Jackson and claim him not to be a pervert. You throw multi-posting hissy fits.

@ "it"

Umm... u spew nonsense and twist words. U have issues. Everyone knows u twisted the words. Find the personality that has the issue and see a shrink! Seek help before Thanksgiving IT!

Good day to your 20 personalities...don't know which one I'm talking to anymore. Its most be so rough for u it

@ "it"

Umm... u spew nonsense and twist words. U have issues. Everyone knows u twisted the words. Find the personality that has the issue and see a shrink! Seek help before Thanksgiving IT!

Good day to your 20 personalities...don't know which one I'm talking to anymore. Its most be so rough for u it


Posted by: TNTGMC | Nov 20, 2018 3:03:42 PM


you're a shirnk help his @$$ out

@gms I do not post links. Google will find it for you. If you can't find it you want understand it.


Posted by: Just the truth | Nov 20, 2018 11:49:00 AM


Look. You don’t post links because the internet doesn’t have data to support what you pull out of your butt.

Just prove your point.

For once.

@andrwken You can join up with gms and tntOnline and be three stooges. The combined IQ would still be less than 100.

@andrwken You can join up with gms and tntOnline and be three stooges. The combined IQ would still be less than 100.


Posted by: Just the truth | Nov 20, 2018 6:16:39 PM

Yep.

Frank

Have to agree with papajim here. Articles like to point at the take rate of the eco as evidence that it is what people actively want but when its 90% of all the dealer has... Idk. Seems disingenuous.
Posted by: Benchimus


Yup. Not to mention Ford puts the heaviest incentives on trucks with the 2.7eb. For those on a tight budget, the dealer with a 2.7eb XLT with the big "$15,000 off" tag on it is what they'll settle for 95% of the time. Dealers stock 5.0's but they're usually loaded up with options, higher trim levels, or there are lower incentives available for them. Ford has basically shoved the ecoboost down people's throats. A guy I work with just traded in his 2015 F-150 3.5EB for a 2018 5.0. He had IWE problems and got tired of taking it in for stumbling/stalling that the dealer claimed were normal or no diagnostic codes found.


See that aluminum outer tie rod? We at GM copied that from the Toyota Tundra that came out in 2007. Actually we copied the entire front suspension and side profile from Toyota.

It's what we do, copy from the best, then say we are the longest lasting on the dealer lot.
Posted by: GMBeanCounter | Nov 19, 2018 10:12:49 PM

Wow you really think the 2019 Silverado's IFS design is a copy of the 2007 Tundra's IFS? Have you actually compared pictures of the two? The Tundra's sway bar is mounted ahead of the front axle. The tie-rod design is totally different. The steering knuckles are much different. I'm guessing you think it's a copy of the Tundra's because of the method of mounting the upper control arm? Because the 07 Tundra isn't the first truck IFS with the bolt running through the strut tower like that.

The only company stealing from Toyota lately is Ford...
https://gas2.org/2015/12/04/ford-toyota-hybrid-pickup-truck-program-ends/

" Speaking to reporters at the Tokyo motor show in October, Koei Saga, senior managing officer in charge of Toyota’s powertrain division, said the project progressed quite far and that Toyota was stunned when Ford decided to pull the plug. He feels Ford simply used the talks to tap Toyota’s hybrid expertise.

“Because we proposed everything,” Saga said. “It even went as far as the drawings. Technologically, we went far, and the engineers of both companies agreed that that technology was good enough to do it,” Saga said. When Ford ended the relationship, it made sure it kept all those lovely drawings and technical information, Saga says ruefully."

Toyota was foolish to share any technology they pioneered in the joint development while Ford just laid on their backside, stole it and suddenly decides they have enough to get them started alone.

It is a shame the Ford guys seem to feel so threatened by a 2.7 four cylinder half ton. GM's truck will either make its mark or it won't, but I doubt that loyal GM buyers will care whether or not Ford guys like it.

Re: Fuel Economy.

I've seen some indepth reviews of the 2019 Chevy where the drivers are impressed with the performance of the new engine, and they believed that once these motors have a few thousand miles on 'em they'll really shine on the Interstate. A proper break-in should do wonders.

It's a lie for GM to stick an engine half way up their trim line as a standard engine and call it a base engine just because they don't allow it as an option in lower or higher trims. A truck that starts at $39K with any particular engine standard is not a base engine. It's wrong for the media to go along with this charade. Truth is a customer can get any of Ford's gas engines in a lower end truck cheaper than the lowest-priced Chevy or GMC with their new turbo. Using this logic, Ford could say their 2.7L is a base because it's standard in Lariat. The 5.0 V8 is standard in King Ranch. The 3.5L Ecoboost in Platinum. Are they all base engines? It's the only way GM can spin their new power train to win a comparison. In LT and RST, they have a better standard power train, but it's not the base. The 4.3L V6 is still their base in the lower trims, so that makes it the base engine by definition.

@Greg

10 years ago Ford's base V6 was an Essex 4.2 and it was long past the end of its service life. So bad in fact that you could not buy an F150 with a six following the retirement of the 4.2 until the 3.5 and 3.7 came out.

We can admit that everybody's base six cylinder today is light years ahead of Ford's old Essex. I say this having owned several Essex motors myself.

I mention this for 2 reasons:

Everybody has upped the game a lot in less than 10 years. Secondly the newest 3.3L Ford base engine is really not that much different than the Ford Duratec 3.5 from nine years ago---they're just working it harder.

During that time GM and RAM joined the game with 3.6L DOHC engines that were competitive with---or better than the Ford six. For some reason, GM chose to roll out an all new 4.3 pushrod engine, which you mentioned, and it is a great motor that will probably be retired soon in pickups and replaced with the 2.7 Four.

Give the TwoSeven a chance. You'll be impressed.

That engine looks like it’s really packed way back in the engine compartment. Sure hope there’s nothing important in back 40...

@Tony

engineers and designers have wanted to avoid overloading the front axle for a long time. better weight distribution. unfortunately in my truck it means that reaching the right rear spark plug is like brain surgery. thank God for platinum plugs.



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