2019 Chevy Silverado V8 More Fuel Efficient Than 4-Cylinder In Real-World Test

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.

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  • robotlogic

    I get 30mpg on the highway in a C6 Corvette while passing cars with 75% less displacement getting about the same.

    • Stephen G

      How about traffic light to traffic light? Maybe instead of a $16K Cruze everybody should buy a $60K Corvette. And isn’t the new Corvette a 4 cylinder out on the freeway?

      • robotlogic

        I get about 20mpg in town. I don’t think my vette shuts off cylinders, at 65mph I’m only at 1200rpm in top gear. You can get a nice used Vette for the price of a $16K Cruze and perhaps save your driving spirt from being crushed.

  • TheAmerican

    Same for my buddies.
    One owns a lifted 2013 F150 with a coyote.
    One owns a stock 2015 F150 ecoboost.
    V8 gets better mpg

    • Arg

      I thought this ‘Ecoboost’ deception was explained years ago. Yes, in entirely unrealistic conditions an Ecoboost-equipped vehicle will score impressively but in real world conditions your foot is always depressing deeper and more aggressively to obtain an equivalent performance and you never get anywhere near the theoretical mileage figures. That’s okay for a Ford GT but for an option foisted entirely based on supposed gas dollar savings the Ecoboost tech is almost as scammy as Volkwagon’s diesel manipulations.

  • DBP

    48 mph for highway test makes zero sense…which “highway” has such a low speed limit? What a useless stat. I never knew that the test speed was so low. Wow. I would think 70-75 mph would be a more accurate standard to mirror real life driving. Thanks for sharing.

  • Refayat Haque

    Is this because the V8 may have cylinder deactivation?

    • Rocket

      And no boost.

      • Refayat Haque

        That makes sense, the poor 2.7 4 banger probably has to breathe in way more air than the V8 to sustain the torque at such high speeds. Also, it’s still a VERY heavy vehicle, so the 4 banger has to do way more work than it is optimized for to pull all that weight at that speed (75 mph must also put a lot more drag on vehicle that is not quite as aerodynamic as a small Japanese econobox like a Prius)

  • Jason Panamera

    2.7 liters and 4 cylinders seems like strange numbers for me. Wouldn’t be 6 cylinders instead of 4 a better choice for engine work culture?

  • Rocket
    • Perry F. Bruns

      What does Carlos Ghosn have to do with this? 😉

  • Paul

    This was a half baked lame test with a lot of missing info and things left to be desired.

  • FoxJ30

    Weight doesn’t actually factor in a whole lot when we’re talking about a steady-state cruise – acceleration’s where weight matters a lot. If anything, the Crew Cab’s longer length may have minimally helped with drag.

    Not that it’s not a disappointing result for the 4-banger. It was probably dipping into the turbocharger every time there was a rise in the highway.

    As for the highway MPG test – 48mph doesn’t seem too out of whack when the national avg speed limit was 55mph not that long ago. But yes, quite a bit off of what people actually do.

  • Dylan Wentworth

    Results not typical.

    The EPA estimates are notorious for being works of fiction but judging by the logs on Fuelly, ain’t nobody in the real world getting 21mpg either. I don’t see any of the 4 bangers on there yet.

  • john1168

    One is an 8 cylinder that can turn off half so it becomes, essentially a 4 cylinder. The other is a 4 cylinder that remains a 4 cylinder and also has a turbo spinning all the time. You want to save gas in a turbo engine? Keep the rpm’s down so the turbo doesn’t spin so much. At 75 mph, that turbo is spinning and killing fuel economy.

  • X RD X

    nice to see the Z71 with some beefy tires

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