2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 2.7L Turbo I-4 Gets Rated by EPA
Torquey Four Excels in City, Falls Short in Highway Rating
Chevrolet is implementing a number of new technologies to improve the efficiency of its fullsize 2019 Silverado 1500, including lightweight construction and computer-sculpted aerodynamics. Most intriguingly, however, was the company’s plan to replace the outgoing 4.3L V-6 with a 2.7L turbocharged I-4 as the base engine in some trim levels. And thanks to numbers released by the EPA today, we know how well that engine actually performs in terms of improving fuel efficiency.
In rear-wheel-drive form and mated to a standard eight-speed automatic transmission, the 2.7L turbo four achieves 20 city/23 highway/21 combined mpg in EPA testing—we presume these numbers also apply to the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 equipped with the engine. Chevrolet is quick to point out that the city number exceeds that of Ford’s 3.3L base V-6, and it matches that of the mild-hybrid Ram 1500 and its 3.6L Pentastar V-6. However, both Ford and Ram have the Chevrolet beat in highway driving, as both achieve 25 mpg in that metric, as well as combined ratings of 22 mpg.
Working in GM’s favor, however, is the turbo engine’s superior output: 310 hp and 348 lb-ft. Neither Ford’s nor Ram’s base V-6 engines could hope to match the little turbo four’s torque output, and only the Ram comes close in power (305 hp). Chevrolet also does very well in terms of max payload, with the 2.7L I-4 rated at up to 2,280 pounds, albeit in fleet-only regular cab configuration. That eclipses both the Ram’s 2,100-pound rating and the Ford’s 1,990-pound rating when comparing maximum payloads from the base engine.
A few things are worth noting about Chevy’s revolutionary new engine. First, the 4.3L V-6 that’s still available in the Silverado Work Truck, Silverado Custom, and Silverado Custom Trail Boss is rated higher in terms of payload and towing than the 2.7L V-6—although it’s difficult to compare maximum ratings between trim levels since some come equipped with more (read: heavier) equipment. Secondly, the Silverado LT and RST, which come standard with the 2.7L turbocharged four, are also available with a 5.3L V-8 and eight-speed auto combo. This engine matches the turbo four on the highway and offers greater towing numbers (although its city rating of 16 mpg is significantly lower).
All that means is the prospective Silverado 1500 buyer has a few more options at his or her disposal. For folks who primarily haul air in their truck beds on the daily commute between home and office, the city-efficient 2.7L turbo is ideal, and it still offers impressive towing and payload numbers for when it’s time to hitch up the boat and hit the lake. Budget-minded buyers who need to do hard work will still find enough to enjoy about the carryover 4.3L V-6 and six-speed auto found in the Work Truck, Custom, and Custom Trail Boss. And those who tow more regularly should find the 5.3L V-8 and eight-speed auto a good companion.
And while we’re a bit disappointed in the 2.7L turbocharged I-4’s highway fuel economy, one thing is still for certain: The 2019 base truck shopper is spoiled for choice—a small-displacement and high-tech V-6 from Ford, a mild hybrid from Ram, and a torquey turbo from Chevy, with myriad other powertrains on offer as well.