Compared to Ford’s Trucks, Chevy’s Fuel Economy Engine Falls Flat

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New Chevy four-cylinder truck engine got worse fuel economy than the high-output EcoBoost V6.

The Ford F-150 offers class-leading fuel economy from a pair of V6 engines, with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost leading the charge in the gas engines while the 3.0-liter PowerStroke leads the way in diesel group. When Chevrolet rolled out the newest Silverado, the company went with a new turbocharged four-cylinder mill in an effort to get great fuel economy.

In theory, having a smaller, turbocharged engine should yield better fuel economy, but in Car and Driver’s fuel economy testing loop, the 2.7-liter I4 got significantly worse fuel economy than the 3.0-liter diesel-powered F-150. The four-cylinder Silverado also got worse fuel economy than the 5.3-liter V8-powered Chevy that Car and Driver tested previously and the four-cylinder truck tied both the GMC Sierra Denali with the 6.2-liter V8 and the new Ford F-150 Raptor with the 450-horsepower EcoBoost engine.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 2.7L Turbo Engine Underhood

In other words, Chevrolet’s fuel economy engine has proven to be one of their least-efficient options for those who spend time driving the big truck on the highway at higher speeds.

The Test

Car and Driver recently tested a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado with the new 2.7-liter turbocharged I4 engine. The expectation was that this small engine would yield solid fuel economy numbers, but when the test was done and the numbers were crunched, the half-ton Chevy averaged just 18 miles per gallon.

For comparison, the new Silverado RST with the 5.3-liter V8 averaged 21 miles per gallon on this same test loop and the GMC Sierra Denali with the 420-horsepower, 6.2-liter V8 saw the same 18 miles per gallon. The Ford F-150 Raptor also averaged 18 miles per gallon on this route, so Chevy’s fuel economy engine offers the same fuel economy as Ford’s highest performance truck engine.

All-new 2.7L Turbo

The Ford F-150 with the 3.0-liter PowerStroke diesel leads all half-ton trucks in Car and Driver testing, averaging 26 miles per gallon.

Why So Bad?

It should be noted that in EPA testing, the 2.7-liter I4 engine in the Silverado hit 22 miles per gallon on the highway, so why were the numbers that Car and Driver got so much worse? Well, Car and Driver drove around 75 miles per hour on their test while the EPA stays around 48 miles per hour, meaning that the small engine is working a whole lot harder at higher speeds. That leads to increased fuel usage at higher speeds and as a result, the turbocharged four-cylinder uses more gasoline than larger, more powerful engines that don’t have to work as hard to maintain that higher speed.

 

In other words, Chevrolet will have to go back to the drawing board in order to challenge the Ford F-150 in terms of half-ton fuel economy, with the Motor Company leading the way in the gasoline and diesel groups.

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"Before I was old enough to walk, my dad was taking me to various types of racing events, from local drag racing to the Daytona 500," says Patrick Rall, a lifetime automotive expert, diehard Dodge fan, and respected auto journalist for over 10 years. "He owned a repair shop and had a variety of performance cars when I was young, but by the time I was 16, he was ready to build me my first drag car – a 1983 Dodge Mirada that ran low 12s. I spent 10 years traveling around the country, racing with my dad by my side. While we live in different areas of the country, my dad still drag races at 80 years old in the car that he built when I was 16 while I race other vehicles, including my 2017 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat and my 1972 Dodge Demon 340.

"Although I went to college for accounting, my time in my dad’s shop growing up allowed me the knowledge to spend time working as a mechanic before getting my accounting degree, at which point I worked in the office of a dealership group. While I was working in the accounting world, I continued racing and taking pictures of cars at the track. Over time, I began showing off those pictures online and that led to my writing.

"Ten years ago, I left the accounting world to become a full-time automotive writer and I am living proof that if you love what you do, you will never “work” a day in your life," adds Rall, who has clocked in time as an auto mechanic, longtime drag racer and now automotive journalist who contributes to nearly a dozen popular auto websites dedicated to fellow enthusiasts.

"I love covering the automotive industry and everything involved with the job. I was fortunate to turn my love of the automotive world into a hobby that led to an exciting career, with my past of working as a mechanic and as an accountant in the automotive world provides me with a unique perspective of the industry.

"My experience drag racing for more than 20 years coupled with a newfound interest in road racing over the past decade allows me to push performance cars to their limit, while my role as a horse stable manager gives me vast experience towing and hauling with all of the newest trucks on the market today.

"Being based on Detroit," says Rall, "I never miss the North American International Auto Show, the Woodward Dream Cruise and Roadkill Nights, along with spending plenty of time raising hell on Detroit's Woodward Avenue with the best muscle car crowd in the world.

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