2019 Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra get turbo I-4 option in mpg battle vs. Ford, Ram

The new engine in the 2019 Silverado RST is rated at 310 hp and 348 pound-feet of torque.

DETROIT — General Motors is doubling the number of engines available in the redesigned 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, including the addition of a new four-cylinder turbocharged engine that can run on two cylinders to increase fuel economy.

The 2.7-liter I-4 turbo engine is a major milestone for the company. It is the first modern-day four-cylinder engine in a full-size pickup and the industry’s first pickup capable of running on two cylinders.

The engine, GM believes, will help it lead in fuel efficiency against Ford’s aluminum-bodied F-150 with V-6 Ecoboost engines and a redesigned Ram 1500 with a mild hybrid system.

“Everybody’s going to get their chance to claim they’re winning. We’re going to claim that we’re the highest fuel efficiency vehicle and what it means for our customer and the value we give back to our customer,” Tim Herrick, executive chief engineer of GM’s full-size pickups, said during a media briefing Thursday at the company’s proving grounds in the Detroit suburb of Milford.

GM did not release fuel economy estimates for the engine, exact payload and towing specifications or details about its availability and capabilities in the Sierra.

Jeff Luke, global director of gasoline engines at GM, said “it is very possible” the new four-cylinder could eventually replace the traditional V-6 in the pickups.

“This engine has been specifically designed for truck durability and reliability and performance,” Luke told Automotive News. “We believe this package is going to be very well-received by our customers.”

The engine is rated at 310 hp and 348 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and will be standard on the new Silverado RST and popular Silverado LT trims — replacing a 4.3-liter V-6 that’s rated at 285 hp and 305 pound-feet torque.

According to GM, the new engine package in the Silverado delivers 0-to-60 mph performance in less than 7 seconds and weighs 380 pounds less than the current pickup with the 4.3-liter V-6. The company also made significant enhancements to reduce turbo lag.

According to GM, the new engine package in the Silverado delivers 0-to-60 mph performance in less than 7 seconds and weighs 380 pounds less than the current pickup.

Comparable payload

Compared with competitive full-size trucks, GM says it is expected to deliver comparable payload capability with greater torque than the 3.3-liter, V-6 engine in the Ford F-150 XLT and the 3.6-liter V-6 engine in the Ram 1500 Big Horn — both which weigh less than 2,000 pounds.

All engines in the next-generation Silverado and Sierra pickups — which are expected to go into production in the third quarter — feature GM’s Active Fuel Management system that can operate in two different cylinder modes or its new Dynamic Fuel Management technology that continuously adjusts the number of cylinders firing — down to two — between 17 modes based on performance needs.

It is GM’s first use of active fuel management in a four-cylinder engine. The technology reduces the number of cylinders in use down to two cylinders in light load conditions.

GM’s all-new 2.7-liter, I-4 turbo engine with active fuel management and stop/start technology paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It is SAE-certified at 310 hp and 348 lb-ft. of torque.

Six powertrain configurations

Overall, GM is offering six powertrain configurations with six engines and three transmissions — six-, eight- and 10-speed — for the 2019 model-year Silverado and Sierra.

The four-cylinder engine is one of two all-new engines on the pickups. The other is an optional Duramax 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel that will be available later in the model year. They join the 4.3-liter V-6 — standard on three entry-level Silverado models — and three V-8 engines.

The V-8 engines include an updated optional 6.2-liter (420 hp/460 pound-feet) and two variants of the 5.3-liter (355 hp/383 pound-feet) — an optional work truck variant with active fuel management and a standard version with dynamic fuel management on its high-end Silverado LT TrailBoss, LTZ and High Country trims.

Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet truck marketing director, said even with the new engines, the company expects the mix of V-8 offerings to remain at about 90 percent of all Silverado sales, including a mix of 80 percent for the 5.3-liter V-8.

U.S. sales of the Silverado rose 1.9 percent to 585,864 last year while the large pickup market grew 5.6 percent.

In 2017, Sierra sales slipped 1.7 percent to 217,943.

Production of the pickups is expected to start at GM’s plant in Fort Wayne, Ind., in the fall. GM also builds the trucks in Mexico, but it has not announced production details.

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