By on December 11, 2018

2019 Chevrolet Silverado

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.

Image: GM

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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36 Comments on “Getting That V6 Chevrolet Silverado Will Cost You At the Pumps...”

  • avatar

    Just another reason not to buy GM.

  • avatar
    open country

    Off topic, but I recently saw a Trail Boss on the road in the same red color as above, and thought it looked pretty great. Jury is still out for me on the other trims, but my presumption is they all look better in person than the press photos.

  • avatar

    GM for cryin’ out-loud, stop being so stingy with the 10 speed auto!

    You could claw back some of that lost fuel economy.

    Other than Toyota’s full size and the base V6 F150 does anyone else still use a 6 speed auto in their trucks? Even Nissan uses a 7 speed in the Titan (although I still think they’re crazy for not just building an even 8 speed.)

  • avatar

    GM, what are you doing?!

    I generally fall in the GM apologists camp, and don’t even really take issue with the styling, but to go that much backwards on ratings and MPG? How does that get through? The engineering team knows how these are going to be tested… it’s not like this is a new EPA cycle right?

    The whole point of vehicle evolution is generally incremental improvements. Their competition is doing it. Going backwards without being forced to do so (say by some new regulation that everyone’s struggling to meet) should’ve never made it out the door.

    • 0 avatar

      Gotta agree, I am mostly a GM Guy, and I love the new look esp. the Trail Boss, but they could have built them to gain MPG, not lose. I won’t be buying a new pickup anytime soon, but the all new Ram seriously impressed me in a showroom crawl-around recently…..

    • 0 avatar

      It seems to me that it is a new EPA testing regimen. The truck should perform better than older numbers – BUT – I dont know anyone with a 2-3 year old Silverado that actually hits the highway MPG number. The numbers for the new model seem to be more realistic.

  • avatar

    I suspect Toyota is glad to see someone fall back in the pack with them from a gas mileage standpoint. I’m not in the market for a full size truck, but if I was, I would pay a gas mileage penalty to avoid cylinder deactivation or stop/start technology. I think this is one of the reasons the Tundra, although outdated, is still a consideration for some people.

  • avatar

    Honest question….how does this happen?

    If the truck is lighter and more aerodynamic, then why.

    If they use a shorter rear end, why did they do that?

    This seems like a big loss.

    Didn’t the Colorado and Canyon have something like this recently too? Was GM maybe pushing the older ratings and wanted to avoid a Hyundai type fiasco with overrating the mpg?

    I honestly would like to understand beyond GM spin.

    • 0 avatar

      My guess is something with emissions.

    • 0 avatar

      It sounds like they’re giving up on the fuel economy fight, in favor of payload/towing clout.

      Hell if MPG was that important to pickup buyers, would the Tundra and Titan even exist? Or midsize pickups for that matter?

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe its not that better aero wise. They admit it got bigger and can’t see how it slices thru the air better given its size and brick wall design. Maybe the mirrors are 7% better but they only make up 1% of the total aero signature.

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe they gamed the system last time and this time they know they have to play by the rules?

      • 0 avatar

        All automakers (selling in the US) game the EPA tests to some degree, but then figures derived from the EPA dyno get reduced by the vehicle’s weight and aerodynamics, meaning a Siverado, Tahoe and Suburban, all with the same 5.3 V8 and gearing, would all 3 come away from the rollers with very similar, raw figures.

        So there’s a lot of voodoo involved, but the EPA is as concerned with accurate and “real world” estimates, as they are with consistent tests so you can compare effectively, know what you’re getting into.

  • avatar

    A 2017 V6 truck gets better fuel economy than the 2019 with the 4 cylinder. Unless the EPA testing cycle changed or the truck somehow had to meet emissions requirements that were much different, this just doesn’t make sense at all.

    They’ll sell a million of these trucks, and if each one of those trucks averages 10,000 miles per year, that’s roughly an additional 50 million gallons of gasoline per year these trucks will use as opposed to the older model.

  • avatar

    Never has a manufacturer been so adamant to murder their truck line as GM.

    Every facet of these new trucks has one wondering what the hell they were thinking. It’s an unmitigated disaster.

  • avatar

    Good job GM. Ugly truck. 4 cyl option(LMFAO). Low quality junk interior. Terrible MPGs. Check check check and check. “Chevy really hit it out of the ballpark with this”

  • avatar

    I have owned Full size GM trucks my whole life But the New GM , Post Bankruptcy , NEWCO , has me baffled by their product decisions . They sure don’t seem to care what their customers want in a pickup .
    Based on what I look for in a new truck they are the least competitive to me and I have a GM bias ” Yesterdays Trucks at Tomorrows Prices “

  • avatar

    This almost has to do with the gearing or an increased weight of the truck, though the aerodynamics appear significantly worse as well. They really need to learn how to smooth out those lines. That’s why the Ram tends to achieve better overall mileage.

  • avatar

    These new GM trucks will sell many RAMs and Fords.

  • avatar

    Classic example of form over function.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Wait, I thought that being ‘Murrican was about wasting resources.

    Aren’t we s’posed to take pride in how inefficient our big trucks are?

  • avatar

    No matter what engine/transmission combo they install, this truck will still have an UGLY front end design.

  • avatar

    Off topic but I yesterday was at the GMC dealer taking a car in for an oil change.

    Checked out a new Sierra Denali. Over $60k sticker.

    The interior was extremely meh for a car that expensive.

    I tend to like some GM products and certainly don’t have any real hate for the company. I like the exterior style of these new trucks a lot. I like that they still have V8s. But I don’t know with this fuel info and what seems to be an interior that is NO BETTER than the old trucks (they had an old Sierra Denali in the showroom) and that the RAM is so competitive and nice and the F150 a default can’t-go-wrong choice I just don’t know how these new GMs will do. I’m starting to wonder if GM is going the just-make-it-cheap route and living off reputation and brand name for this gen truck? Works for awhile until you fall too far behind and your brand equity is gone and then what?

    GM Full size trucks have an excellent reputation. But releasing a brand new truck that seems to be moving backwards does not seem promising.

  • avatar

    GM, listen up:

    Remember the C/K trucks? Build something that looks exactly like them. I’ll leave the rest up to you, but make the interior retro and don’t put the gas tank someplace dangerous.

    Do this and you’ll have a great truck.

    • 0 avatar

      “Remember the C/K trucks? Build something that looks exactly like them.”

      Amen, amen. Put something like this on the lots and let the sales people become order takers:

  • avatar

    Unless all other brands experience similar mpg drops, heads should be rolling at GM. There is almost nothing in this truck which has met any acclaim, apart from the bragging by GM about how little it costs to make these things. All those responsible – up to and including dim Mary – should be worried about their jobs.

  • avatar

    Just another example of Queen Mary’s rubber stamped approved products. What happened to those “gotta have” products from the days of Lutz?

    • 0 avatar

      This, I’ll take cheap plastic interior and low priced V8s over the current crap all day. The C8 Corvette is doomed to be a failure, no reason it needs to go rear engine at a $20k price increase nor does it need to move technologically back to DOHCs.

      GM: legendary builder of V8 American vehicles

      GM under Barra: lets scrap everything our companies known for make what feels good.

  • avatar

    Ford recalled my Fusion for the takata airbag. Ford ended up paying for a rental car for three months while we waited for the parts. Rental was a 2018 F150 XLT crew cab 4×4 with the 5.0 liter engine and 10 speed transmission. Drove the truck over 4800 miles during the time we had it. Averaged 20 miles per gallon (measured at the pump). Road trip from western ny to Atlanta and back with the cruise set between 65 and 75 mph still averaged 20 mpg. We absolutely loved this truck. I’ve got over 6 grand in points on my GM card (not that they would let me use that much on a single purchase) but I would not even consider the GM trucks. That 5.0 has is a better option IMO than either the gm v8 options right now. Plus the aluminum body should hold up much better here in the rustbelt. I am smitten.

  • avatar

    All of these comments (which I agree with) do not bode well for GM.

    This is their most important product. Several people high on the food chain must have realized these short comings, yet did not, or could not persuade their bosses to correct them.

    Of course this is typical of Corporate America, now more than ever. Being a sycophant is the most essential trait for “success”.

    Even when GM does things right, they fumble it. The present Impala is a case in point. Consumer Reports rated it best sedan when it came out. I thought they were full of it, then I drove a loaded rental and agreed with CR.

    But, GM built the car in 2 plants, not one, for sales volumes that never materialized. Some one must have realized they would not be selling 250k Impalas at this price. Why? Because where the old Impala, with the same 3.6 V6, could be bought for the low $20s, a new one with V6 and leather and the toys that CR tested was closer to mid $30s. That’s a big price jump. Ditto the ATS and CTS. Despite their mediocre interiors, these cars had great reviews. But they were priced a LOT higher than the previous CTS. Even allowing for the drop in car sales, sales of Impala, ATS, and CTS were way down compared to the previous Impala and CTS.

    So GM had 2 inefficient plants building Impalas. Now they are closing them.

    One the one hand, GM is looking for returns that are the equivalent of the 4-minute mile–not attainable in a mature industry with a lot of manufacturing in the US and Canada. ON the other, it is betting on “autonomous”, a new and expensive technology which is more reliant on electronics and computers that really are NOT GM’s, or any automaker’s strong suits. The path to get there is massive salary layoffs (which the press seems to gloss over…it’s just a problem for the Detroit area, I suppose).

    I feel bad for those at GM who have lost, or will lose their jobs, because of their poor management.

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