The all-new 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 offers a 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine as standard that GM hails as a fuel-efficient unit. But is it really so?
Well, Car&Driver assessed the fuel economy of both the four-cylinder Silverado and the 5.3-liter V8 model and came up with rather surprising results.
What EPA says
According to the EPA, the 2.7-liter model’s best figures are 20 mpg city, 23 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined. On the government site, the 2019 Silverado equipped with the 5.3-liter V8 is rated at 17 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 19 mpg combined in the best case scenario — the numbers vary depending on the cab and drive configuration.
It’s worth noting that the EPA’s highway fuel economy tests are performed at 48 mph (77 km/h) while Car&Driver’s real-world highway fuel-economy tests are run at 75 mph (121 km/h), making the results of the latter more relevant for consumers.
What real-world tests show
That said, the publication didn’t compare identical Silverado models, pitting a 2.7-liter Silverado RST double cab against a 5.3-liter RST Crew Cab which was 314 lbs (142.4 kg) heavier. Theoretically, that should have played in the four-cylinder model’s favor.
It didn’t. Even with the weight advantage, the 2019 Silverado 2.7 averaged 18 mpg (13 l/100 km) during the real-world test, compared to 21 mpg (11.2 l/100 km) for the V8 model. Had Car&Driver had the trucks in a similar cab configuration, the difference could have been even bigger.
This goes to show that small-displacement, forced induction engines perform well on the low-speed EPA tests but not that well at higher speeds that are closer to real-world driving conditions.