The Turbocharged 2.7-Liter Chevrolet Silverado Shows Just How Far Truck Engines Have Come

We’ve said it many times before in the TFLtruck office: pickups trucks and V8s go together like peanut butter and jelly. Since their very inception, trucks have historically housed V8 engines. Up until the 1990s and 2000s, it was truly bizarre to put anything other than a great big American V8 in a full-size pickup. Well, perhaps with the exception of a straight six.

But times, they are a-changing. It started with the V6s. Ford’s EcoBoost in particular popularized the trend of removing cylinders and adding turbos in the truck world. That engine – in 2.7 and 3.5-liter forms, has been an enormous hit for Ford. Now, the company only expects one-in-four F-150s sold to have a 5.0-liter Ti-VCT V8. Chevrolet just took that strategy and pushed it even further with the surprise introduction of a gasoline-powered 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine – the first of its kind for a full-size pickup.

Why Make the Change?

There are two reasons that trucks used V8s for such a long time. For one, trucks are all about numbers. Frankly, anything less than a V8 wasn’t potent enough to keep up with the demands of truck owners. Furthermore, fuel economy was not as much of a concern as it is today. What’s mind-boggling to us about this new engine is the fact that they have been able to extract so much power from this engine. Back in the ’90s, the Toyota T-100 had also had a 2.7L four-cylinder, although it was much smaller than today’s half-ton offerings. It only developed 150 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. This 4-cylinder turbo from Chevy is the same size, yet it manages to produce twice as much horsepower (310 hp) and torque (348 lb-ft). For perspective, Chevy’s 5.3-liter V8 makes 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. There’s just 45 horsepower and 35 lb-ft of torque separating the two engines. Impressive. Unfortunately, we don’t know anything about fuel economy yet, but our expectations are that it will be more efficient than the rest of Chevy’s current engine lineup. Although the 3.0-liter Duramax diesel on offer in the new Silverado may come close.

Will it find success?

In 2011, its first year on sale, The F-150 EcoBoost covered about 35% of F-150 sales in the U.S. Seven years later, that number is up around 65%. This begs the question, will Chevy’s four-cylinder turbo garner the same rapid success? Chevy thinks that the turbo engine will snag roughly 10% of Silverado 1500 sales initially. Perhaps that number will grow with time. The 2.7-liter engine will be standard equipment on the LT and RST trim levels of the 2019 Silverado 1500. It comes paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The truck should hit dealerships later this year, with no delay for the new engine.

Will this new engine find success like the EcoBoost did? Are more trucks going to see smaller engines? Let us know what you think in the comments below!

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