Getting That V6 Chevrolet Silverado Will Cost You At the Pumps

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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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]

Steph Willems
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  • Kcflyer Kcflyer on Dec 12, 2018

    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 4x4 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.

  • TomLU86 TomLU86 on Dec 12, 2018

    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'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.

  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
  • Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
  • FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.
  • Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.