The race for fuel efficiency is an ongoing one throughout the automotive industry. For a while, full-size trucks got away with less than stellar numbers because they were trucks. The last few years have sparked something of a fuel mileage war between the American automakers.
It started with Ford and their turbocharged EcoBoost engines. Then RAM introduced a diesel engine in the 1500 and now Ford has done the same with the F-150. In response to this, GM’s introduced the first 4-cylinder engine to find its way under the bonnet of a modern full-size pickup.
The 2.7-litre 4-cylinder gets huge numbers and related technology. It puts out 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque from 1500 rpm to 4000 rpm. It features dual-vane turbocharging, automatic stop/start system, variable valve timing, an electric water pump, cylinder-deactivation and the use of an aluminum block cuts about 80 pounds from what the 4.3-liter V6 weighs.
Despite all this wizardry, the EPA ratings of 21 mpg combined, 20 mpg city, and 23 mpg highway are disappointing (11.2/11.8/10.2). Disappointing because the 4.3-litre managed 22 mpg combined. Both the RAM 1500 with the 3.6-litre and the Ford F-150 with the 2.7-litre EcoBoost manage 22 mpg combined.
While the GM’s turbo-4 might seem more efficient on paper, in the real world, 1 mpg does not make a difference. How many truck people will actually opt for a 4-cylinder engine, no matter how powerful, in their new Silverado?