How Does GM's Don't-call-it-a-four-cylinder Turbo Truck Engine Stack Up?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
how does gm s don t call it a four cylinder turbo truck engine stack up

When GM released EPA-estimated fuel economy for its 2.7L Turbo full-size pickup engine today, many of us were taken aback. For a four-cylinder (yes, it is a four-cylinder, and the omission of this info from GM materials is glaring), we expected a higher MPG figure. Perhaps not significantly higher, but enough to create a greater gap between it and its cylinder-heavy contemporaries.

A combined rating of 21 mpg is what buyers can expect from the 2.7-liter unit, which sends its 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic. (The 4WD model is not yet rated). That torque figure beats the naturally aspirated V6 found in both the GM and Ford camps, and comes close to Ram’s Pentastar motor. If gas mileage is top of mind, however, it’s a much closer race.

The MPG rating for a 2WD 2.7-liter Chevrolet Silverado is 20 city/23 mpg highway/21 combined. As we told you this morning, the V6 offerings at Ford and Ram beat the GM four-banger by a hair.

Each member of the Detroit Three went in different direction when pursuing fuel economy in their entry-level mills. GM dropped two cylinders, added a turbocharger, and slapped on a cylinder deactivation system. Ford choose dual injection and thermal management measures for its 3.3-liter V6. Ram saddled its familiar 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with a mild hybrid system dubbed eTorque.

In two-wheel drive guise, a 3.3-liter F-150 (offered with an old six-speed auto) gets 19 city/25 highway/22 combined, while the V6 Ram (eight-speed auto) returns 20 city/25 highway/22 combined. While the 2019 version isn’t yet rated, last year’s 4.3-liter Silverado 2WD returned 20 mpg combined and actually saw a 1 MPG increase on the highway compared to its four-cylinder sibling. As a base engine for retail buyers (the 4.3-liter remains in contractor-friendly base trims), the 2.7L Turbo can boast greater average fuel economy (+1 mpg) horsepower (+25 hp) and torque (+43 lb-ft) than the engine it replaces, and that’s good for GM. But only to a degree.

The 2.7L truck is bookmarked by engines with greater tow ratings: up to 8,000 pounds for the 4.3-liter and up to 11,600 for the 5.3-liter V8, compared to the 2.7’s 7,200 lbs. Ford’s 3.3-liter tops out at 7,700 pounds, while the 3.6-liter Ram is rated for up to 7,730 lbs. Splitting hairs? Maybe, but different numbers matter to different folks.

Compared to its 5.3-liter, 2WD GM siblings, the combined fuel economy difference between the 2.7L truck and those with double the cylinder count is 2 mpg. Interestingly, a figure Ford made sure to mention was that its 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 nets an extra MPG in combined driving, while also boasting 400 lb-ft of torque. The 2.7L F-150’s max tow rating? 8,500 lbs.

There will, of course, be customers who prefer the 2.7L GM engine over its rivals, and a great many more who won’t really think about it at all. The new mill comes standard on LT and RST trims. Indeed, we haven’t taken a 2.7L Silverado or GMC Sierra for a spin yet, so these facts and figures are no comment on how the engine sounds, feels, and responds.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Ponchoman49 Ponchoman49 on Oct 22, 2018

    I'm highly suspect of the EPA's mileage figures with this truck and many other vehicles. One example being the 2019 volume Silverado with the new DFM 5.3 V8 that rated exactly the same MPG as last years AFM model despite losing 400 LBS of weight, gaining the DFM system which is claimed to improve MPG by up to 7% and the new 8 speed transmission. The new truck is also more aerodynamic. Even more telling is a recent C&D fuel economy test of the new Ram with the eTorque 3.6 V6 which fell well under it's EPA rated figures. In fact they said it wasn't far off the 5.7 engine! I would be willing to bet this new 2.7 will exceed it's highway figure by at least 1-2 MPG in real world driving.

  • Road_pizza Road_pizza on Oct 24, 2018

    Hmmmm.... in the 1400 or so miles I've put on my 2018 F150 XLT 2.7EB 4X4 Supercab I'm getting 20 in the city and 23 on the highway. Not impressed.

  • Ajla "2010-2019 Borrego"The Borrego only had model years 2009 - 2011 in the United States. The Borrego/Mohave did exist in international markets beyond them but the NHTSA of the United States would not be handling a recall on those. It's annoying that apparently the manufacturer, the federal regulator, and automotive press didn't notice this.
  • SilverCoupe The last Accord I test drove was in 1978, but I ended up buying a VW Scirocco instead. The Accords have put on quite a bit of weight since, then, but then again, so have I!
  • Merc190 I would like to show the stylists this new model side by side to a 93 Accord SE in black and point out how the older model looked better in every single detail.
  • Sobhuza Trooper Too many folks need that /sarc/ tag. In my opinion, that tag is the equivalent of a television laugh track. If you need the laugh track to know that last line was supposed to be funny, you're pretty hopeless.
  • Canam23 A fine car, but I still preferred the Mazda 6, very pretty and zoom zoom!