QOTD: Would You Buy a Four-cylinder Half-ton Pickup?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

General Motors is selling a full-sized pickup with a four-cylinder engine under its hood. Active fuel management, continuously variable valve timing, thermal management systems – Chevy’s put a good deal of thought and technology into this quad-pot effort.

Today’s QOTD is simple: would you buy a truck with four pistons?

Before you answer, let’s take a look at its specs. Standard on LT and RST trims, the new engine will make 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque. That’s not bad at all, especially considering it is a full 22 percent more torque than GM’s own 4.3L V6. Said to be developed specifically for truck applications, the new 2.7L turbo inline-four will deliver its peak torque between 1,500 to 4,000 rpm. Its electric water pump is a first for Chevy trucks.

On paper, that sounds pretty good. Blue Oval pickup truck fans have also been able to select an engine with 2.7L of displacement for a number of years. For 2019, that mill delivers 325 horses and 400 lb⋅ft of twist, with peak torque coming online at 2,750 rpm. Base specs between these two motors are pretty comparable, then.

Consider, too, that the mighty Fox-bodied Mustang of my youth only made 225 hp out of a honkin’ 302 cubic-inch V8. Progress, folks.

Here’s the difference: despite having an identical displacement of 2.7L, Ford’s engine has a cylinder count of six. Four bangers have long been associated with economy cars and small crossovers, not macho full-sized trucks with a grille the size of Texas. If GM’s new engine fails to capture a significant percentage of market share, your humble author believes it will be due to an image problem associated with the number of cylinders, not its capability.

I have not driven a four-banger Silverado yet, but our fancy-pants Managing Editor has, so hit up his review for more details. I do find it disingenuous at best that GM is comparing its 2.7L to Ford’s base 3.3L, since GM’s base mill is the old 4.3L V6. Most customers will – not unreasonably – compare the bowtie and Blue Oval 2.7L engines, whether The General wants them to or not.

How about it? Would you sign on the dotted line for a full-sizer with four-cylinders?

[Image: General Motors]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Vulpine Vulpine on Jan 08, 2019

    "QOTD: Would You Buy a Four-cylinder Half-ton Pickup?" --- In a word: No. Oh, I understand the little turbo four puts out a fair amount of horsepower. But if you're going for that four at all, then you're looking at a truck that's actually too big to take advantage of the engine's efficiency. This is almost identical to what was happening in the '70s, '80s and even '90s where they put the smallest engine into a vehicle possible and had to gear it (or turbo it) to such an extent that the efficiency is nearly impossible to achieve. This little four could easily replace the V6 in a mid-sized truck and realize even more fuel savings than the non-turbo model already residing in that mid-sizer. Essentially, the more torque available at low RPMs, the less the engine has to work when unloaded. Ford did well with putting a turbocharged, small, V6 in the F-150 but we can already see that the turbo four is averaging worse than the turbo six when empty and much, MUCH worse when loaded.

  • Nrd515 Nrd515 on Jan 09, 2019

    No, and I wouldn't buy any turbo'ed V6 either. I know one of these days, probably not too long from now, there will be very few, if any NA engines, but until then, I will pass on the turbos and be very happy. Right now, if I was looking for a half ton pickup, it would be a Ram with a Hemi. I like the looks, both inside and out(But not as much as the last gen's exterior), and everyone I know that has had a Ram since the hemi was introduced has loved theirs. I still miss my '03 1500 Quad Cab 4x4 this time of year.

  • Daniel J Until we get a significant charging infrastructure and change times get under 10 minutes, yes
  • Mike I own 2 gm 6.2 vehicles. They are great. I do buy alot of gas. However, I would not want the same vehicles if they were v6's. Jusy my opinion. I believe that manufacturers need to offer engine options for the customer. The market will speak on what the consumer wants.For example, I dont see the issue with offering a silverado with 4cyl , 6 cyl, 5.3 v8, 6.2 v8, diesel options. The manufacturer will charge accordingly.
  • Mike What percentage of people who buy plug in hybrids stop charging them daily after a few months? Also, what portion of the phev sales are due to the fact that the incentives made them a cheaper lease than the gas only model? (Im thinking of the wrangler 4xe). I wish there was a way to dig into the numbers deeper.
  • CEastwood If it wasn't for the senior property tax freeze in NJ I might complain about this raising my property taxes since most of that tax goes to the schools . I'm not totally against EVs , but since I don't drive huge miles and like to maintain my own vehicles they are not practical especially since I keep a new vehicle long term and nobody has of yet run into the cost of replacing the battery on an EV .
  • Aquaticko Problem with PHEV is that, like EVs, they still require a behavioral change over ICE/HEV cars to be worth their expense and abate emissions (whichever is your goal). Studies in the past have shown that a lot of PHEV drivers don't regularly plug-in, meaning they're just less-efficient HEVs.I'm left to wonder how big a battery a regular HEV could have without needing to be a PHEV.