Having owned a Tahoe SUV, Silverado and Ram full-sized trucks over the past 10 years, all of which came equipped with at least a five-plus liter V8 engine, finding out that a full-sized truck with only four cylinders was headed our way for a week had us more than a little curious to say the least.
What would the advantages be to having such a small engine in a truck? It almost seemed to us like blasphemy to not have a truck equipped with at least a V6 with some kind of extra help to give the truck the power it would need to compete with all the others on the market.
Of course, we had to look up what the capacities would be driving a truck with such a small motor; could it tow? Could you load it up and use it like a truck? Well, there are some limitations with the smaller engine as it will only tow up to 7,200 pounds versus the 12,200 pounds that a similarly equipped V8 model could handle.
We were hoping in the gas mileage side that the smaller engine might really excel, so we were a little disappointed to find that the EPA only put the Silverado at 20 mpg combined. However, that is up 1 mpg from a 2018 V6 version, and if having a fleet of trucks is part of the plan that would make a huge difference over a year.
With all of this in mind, we really wanted to put the Silverado through some paces and see how it would perform in everyday driving along with putting some weight behind it to get a good grip on its towing abilities.
Since we have had time in the new Silverado in various trim levels, the most recent being the new Trailboss version, it was good to get a nicely equipped LT trim with some additional creature comforts inside to make everyday driving more enjoyable.
After the Silverado’s arrival, we took our first opportunity for a quick 5-mile jaunt in what is now a slimmed down, just over 4,700-pound truck. This was mostly to familiarize ourselves with the controls and see how the smaller engine would do around town.
Our first impressions were outstanding as we couldn’t notice any difference in propelling the truck to speed around town. We would have to think that most folks who don’t drive as many different vehicles as us wouldn’t notice the smaller engine.
The sound was one of the only differences that came to light on the drive. The smaller engine just doesn’t make the same throaty roar as the larger V-8, again something most likely only we would take note of. Getting to 60 mph was no problem for our quick freeway test that night, as the 2.7-liter engine will take all 4,700 pounds there in just under seven seconds. Our larger trucks were right in the same place.
So much for not keeping up with the competition in the speed category; in fact, only the larger 6.3-liter heavy duty really does any better, and will cost a whole lot more.
To be fair, we thought it prudent to reset the gas mileage to zero and see what our everyday driving would do. So after a couple of days and almost 200 miles of running around Utah Valley for work and a dinner, we were sitting right at 19 mpg. A little less than the EPA would have put the truck, however the truck arrived with only 2,200 miles on the odometer, so still very new. We would think that would go up after it really gets broken in.
Saturday dawned partly cloudy and hovering in the 50s, so we figured what better than a nice spring day to put some weight on the truck and take a drive up Spanish Fork Canyon, down into the Sanpete Valley and return through Nephi, where we could get some 80 mph freeway driving/towing in.
Hooking up a 16-foot box trailer that included some of my sound gear inside and weighed in as just over 6,300 pounds, we figured what better test to tackle some mountains and freeways with the newly-equipped Silverado?
Off we went with the Silverado outperforming all the expectations we had preconceived in our minds. It pulled the large trailer with ease, even proving its worth heading up over Billy’s Mountain and keeping a constant 65 mph. We were even able to pass a semitrailer with no trouble at all.
The truck continued to haul extremely well, and we never felt there was not enough power as it would down shift through the eight-speed transmission as needed to keep the optimum power and torque needed to keep us at speed.
There was only one time on the stretch coming up the hill into Utah County when the truck was trying to stay at 80 mph that the tachometer even got close to the 5700 rpm redline as we hit 5000 rpms.
After about 150 miles of towing a box trailer, we were nothing but impressed with the smaller engine and how it handled the large load. The only downside was we dipped to just 11.4 mpg after the long tow, although the Silverado was willing and ready to keep going and pull the trailer wherever we would have needed it.
With 310 horsepower and 348 ft. lbs. of torque, the new Silverado comes with the little engine that could, as we found out. This new truck will most likely fit the bill for 80 percent of the folks and their truck needs, including those looking for a great daily driver and a way to move stuff on the weekend.
When we really thought about it, many buyers that are moving up from a midsized SUV are most likely coming from a four-cylinder turbo charged engine anyway, so way to go Chevrolet for taking it one step further and giving the world a truck that will perform with the same engine!
Base Price: $40,200
Price as Driven: $49,365