Downsized engines a test for GM pickups

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DETROIT — The new four-cylinder engine option for General Motors" 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups will test the loyalty and perceptions of pickup buyers who associate inline-fours with compact cars.

A four-cylinder engine in a full-size pickup was unimaginable a decade ago. But advancements in engineering as well as Ford Motor Co."s success with its V-6 EcoBoost engines have proved that V-8 engines aren"t necessarily the default choice for pickup buyers.

The question now is: How low can you go?

The 2.7-liter inline-four turbo engine is a major milestone for GM. It is the first four-cylinder engine in a modern-day full-size pickup and the first engine in a pickup that"s capable of running on two cylinders. The engine is rated at 310 hp and 348 pound-feet of torque. It"s paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and will be standard on the new Silverado RST and popular Silverado LT, replacing the 4.3-liter V-6 that"s rated at 285 hp and 305 pound-feet of torque.

GM believes the engine will help it lead in fuel efficiency against Ford"s aluminum-body F-150 with V-6 EcoBoost engines and a redesigned Ram 1500 with a mild hybrid system. GM didn"t release mileage estimates for the engine, exact payload and towing specifications or details about its availability and capabilities in the Sierra.

‘Different animal"

Based on GM"s expectations and the promise of increased performance compared with the previous engines, IHS Markit analyst Stephanie Brinley said she believes pickup buyers won"t mind the four cylinders.

"I think that consumers will look past it and look at what the end-result performance is," she said after driving the pickup last week. "And again, it"s important that it"s not intended to be the volume V-8 engine. That"s a different animal."

Powertrain mix
GM is offering 6 engine options and 3 transmissions — 6-, 8- and 10-speed — for the 2019 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra.
  • 2.7-liter 4-cylinder turbo
  • 3.0-liter 6-cylinder turbodiesel
  • 4.3-liter 6-cylinder
  • 5.3-liter 8-cylinder (2 variants)
  • 6.2-liter 8-cylinder
Source: GM

Sandor Piszar, Chevrolet truck marketing director, said that even with the new engine, the company expects V-8 offerings to account for about 90 percent of Silverado sales, including 80 percent for the 5.3-liter V-8.

At Ford, the 3.5-liter and 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6s together account for 72 percent of F-150 sales; the 5.0-liter V-8 accounts for 24 percent.

Jeff Luke, global director of gasoline engines at GM, said "it is very possible" the new four-cylinder eventually could replace the traditional V-6 in the pickups.

"This engine has been specifically designed for truck durability and reliability and performance," Luke told Automotive News. "We believe this package is going to be very well-received by our customers."

According to GM, the new engine powers the Silverado from 0 to 60 mph in less than 7 seconds and trims the truck"s weight by 380 pounds compared with the current model with the 4.3-liter V-6.

GM says it is expected to deliver comparable payload capability to competitors" trucks (about 2,000 pounds), with greater torque than the 3.3-liter V-6 in the Ford F-150 XLT and the 3.6-liter V-6 in the Ram 1500 Big Horn.

All engines in the next-generation Silverado and Sierra pickups — which are expected to go into production in the third quarter — feature GM"s Active Fuel Management system that can operate in two different cylinder modes or its new Dynamic Fuel Management technology that continuously adjusts the number of cylinders firing — down to two — in various combinations based on performance needs.

It is GM"s first use of Active Fuel Management in a four-cylinder engine. The technology reduces the number of cylinders in use to two in light load conditions.

Six engines

Overall, GM is offering six engines and three transmissions — six-, eight- and 10-speed — for the 2019 Silverado and Sierra.

The four-cylinder engine is one of two new engines for the pickups. The other is an optional Duramax 3.0-liter inline-six turbodiesel that will be available later in the model year. They join the 4.3-liter V-6 — standard on three entry-level Silverado models — and three V-8 engines.

The V-8 engines are an updated optional 6.2-liter (420 hp/460 pound-feet) and two variants of the 5.3-liter (355 hp/383 pound-feet) — an optional work truck variant with Active Fuel Management and a standard version with Dynamic Fuel Management on its high-end Silverado LT Trailboss, LTZ and High Country trims.

Nguồn: www.autonews.com