Getting That V6 Chevrolet Silverado Will Cost You At the Pumps
We’re on an MPG kick this morning, so let’s keep it going. The polarizing 2019 Chevrolet Silverado received plenty of press on these digital pages, though not all of it was praise. The revamped model’s face was only surpassed in volume of styling criticism after its big HD brother showed up.
While General Motors talked up the model’s fuel-saving technologies, weight savings, and new four-cylinder turbo in a big way upon the pickup’s launch, lesser trims soldier on with older engines and a transmission bearing fewer cogs. That’s not unusual for entry-level models aimed at contractors and the like, but the new base trucks differ from their forebears in more than just looks. They also “boast” significantly worse fuel economy.
Now that the EPA has seen fit to bestow a fuel economy rating upon each member of the Silverado family, the differences become obvious.
A rear-drive 2018 Silverado with GM’s 4.3-liter V6 and six-speed automatic carries an EPA rating of 18 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 20 mpg combined. For 2019, the same powertrain configuration sees its fuel economy fall to 16 mpg city, 21 mpg highway, and 17 mpg combined. That’s a drop of 3 mpg. In 4×4 guise, the 4.3-liter model returns 15 city/20 highway/17 combined, or 2 mpg less in combined driving.
Also returning to the pumps more frequently is the 5.3-liter model, at least when outfitted with the six-speed. The 2WD model returns 15 city/20 highway/17 combined for 2019, though 2018 models saw 16/23/19 — a 2 mpg drop in combined driving for the new model. 4WD versions drop 1 mpg in combined driving and 2 mpg in the city.
What gives? While the new-generation trucks shed up to 450 pounds through careful use of aluminum, they also gained a new face that doesn’t exactly slice through the air. It pulverizes those particles like a hammer.
Speaking to Automotive News, which called out the wonky MPG figures, Chevy spokesman Monte Doran blames the results on how awesome the new truck is.
“We increased towing capacity, payload, and it’s a much larger bed and a much larger cab,” he said. This is true, but this new truck is supposedly 7 percent more aerodynamically efficient than the outgoing model. Blame much of the MPG loss on the increased frontal area, Doran said, which counteracts efficiencies found elsewhere.
Human computer Bozi Tatarevic also noted there’s been a change in rear gear axle ratio for 2019, which also factors into the reduced efficiency.
So, if GM opted for a less… bold …front end, the company’s new 2.7-liter four-banger might have returned better gas mileage. As it stands, the 2.7-liter mill’s 21 mpg combined rating doesn’t exactly drop jaws. It’s interesting to note that springing for the 4×4 model with 5.3-liter V8 and eight-speed automatic returns better gas mileage (1 mpg combined) than the rear-drive 4.3-liter.
The Silverado’s sibling, the GMC Sierra, sees the same phenomenon for 2019, though the 5.3-liter/six-speed combo returns 1 mpg more on the highway.
[Images: General Motors]
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