Pickup trucks are supposed to have V8 engines. For the longest time, they did. But as other powertrains became more efficient, V8 engines have been moved to the wayside in many applications in favor of smaller, more fuel-efficient engines. That trend has moved to the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado.
Chevy’s new volume models (LT and RST) for 2019 will feature a 2.7L turbocharged engine. But unlike the 2.7L turbo in the Ford F-150, the Chevy’s is actually a turbo four-cylinder. It makes 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque. At its best, it can return 20 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway.
What’s it like driving a four-cylinder half-ton pickup truck?
Thanks to some clever engineering, the turbo four-cylinder in the Silverado accelerates quickly – it makes the run to 60 mph a full second faster than the 4.3L V6 it replaces at 6.8 seconds – and feels responsive.
The engine up front is also lighter, which improves steering feel and feedback. While it’s unfair to say that a full-size pickup drives like a sports car, it is the most balanced Silverado you can currently buy.
Chevrolet tells us that the average pickup truck buyer in this class tows around 5,000 pounds. The Silverado with the small turbo 2.7L tows up to 7,200 pounds and a max payload of 2,280 pounds.
For most people, the 2.7L should be more than enough engine.
Chevy compares this engine to Ram’s V6 eTorque engine and Ford’s base 3.3L V6. In most driving situations around our test loop in Scottsdale, Arizona, the 2.7L four-cylinder outclasses both of them. It has better off-the-line grunt and is also better at overtaking at speed.
See Also: 2019 Ram 1500 eTorque Review
Around town, the four-cylinder Chevrolet performs similarly to Ford’s 2.7L EcoBoost V6 engine. Even though both engines have the same displacement, the Ford’s is a V6 and is designed as an upgraded engine experience.
On the highway, a Ford 2.7L would pull away from the Silverado – it has more power and torque after all – but the Chevy’s engine feels solid around town so it’s hard to find much of a difference between that and the upgraded engine.
Chevy customers can spend an extra $1,000 on the LT and RST model and upgrade to the 5.3L V8. It’s nice to see the company still offer the V8 for the customers who might want it and don’t want to spend $60,000 on a pickup truck.
The sweet spot in the new Chevrolet trucks lineup are the models sitting in the $40,000 price point. RST, LT, and Custom all deliver differently designed trucks that come standard with the 2.7L engine.
The test truck we drove was priced at $44,900 and was really well-equipped. It packed a four-door double cab setup with four-wheel drive. Standout features included dual-zone climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support and heated seats with a heated steering wheel. Also, our LT model included LED headlights, which are often a costly upgrade at this price point.
The Chevy’s fit and finish is on par or exceeds the competitor’s volume models. It’s easy to nitpick luxury trucks with stratospheric price tags, but for models that most customers actually buy, an LT double cab like our test truck is a really nice place to be.
For folks who often look at buying a Ford, I often recommend spending the $995 to upgrade from the base 3.3L V6 to their upgraded turbo engine. It’s worth it in terms of performance and fuel economy.
With the turbo four-cylinder engine in the Chevrolet, I don’t feel as compelled to recommend people upgrade to the V8. Yes, the 5.3L V8 is a good engine and it makes a good noise, but you’ll pay more at the pump and more to equip the truck with the engine.
The Verdict: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 2.7-liter 4-Cylinder Turbo Review
The new Silverado 1500 with the four-cylinder engine doesn’t feel like a penalty box. It doesn’t remind you daily that you didn’t spend the extra money – or couldn’t afford to – on a higher trim truck.
The Silverado four-cylinder will handle all of the day-to-day activities of an average truck buyer. It’ll go to Home Depot without problems. It’ll tow a boat or a side-by-side. It’ll do all of that in a nicely equipped truck that won’t make you go broke buying it. It’s a compelling product that many will enjoy.