When General Motors was developing the all-new 2014 Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra, it spent more than 10 million computational CPU hours designing and analyzing the trucks’ new Ecotec3 engine family, with an impressive 6 million of those CPU hours being used for the combustion process of the new powerplants. And that’s not even counting the human hours invested in engineering the new truck-specific engine lineup.
Are the efforts paying off for GM? It seems so, as the automaker recently announced fuel economy and towing ratings for the 2014 trucks, with figures for both measurements being best-in-class.
When it comes to towing, GM’s 2014 1500-range trucks powered by the mid-level 5.3 liter V8 Ecotec3 rated at an SAE certified 355 hp and 383 lb.-ft. of torque are rated at 11,500 pounds of maximum towing. That’s 200 pounds more than the Ford F-150 powered by the 6.2 liter V8 or the 3.5 liter EcoBoost V6. Compared to Ford’s own mid-range 5.0 liter V8, the GM trucks are up by 1,500 pounds.
But the good news for GM’s new trucks doesn’t end there: the mechanically-identical Silverado and Sierra have the upper hand in fuel economy as well, being rated at 16 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway (19 MPG combined) when equipped with the new 5.3 liter Ecotec3 V8. Ford’s EcoBoost-powered F-150, by comparison, is down by one mile per gallon in each measurement, carrying a rating of 16 MPG city and 22 highway; meanwhile, the Blue Oval’s 5.0 liter V8 is rated at 15 MPG city and 21 MPG highway.
“Extreme testing” was necessary for today’s truck customer since they “are some of the most discerning and demanding people in the business”, said Jeff Luke, GM’s Executive Chief Engineer for the new trucks.
The GM Authority Take
It would seem that all the prepwork and testing is paying off for GM — at least initially, and on paper. It would also appear that the mid-range 5.3L Ecotec3 is the sweet spot for GM’s new light-duty trucks. However, we’ve also heard that the range-topping 6.2L Ecotec3 will be a beast of an engine — so we can’t wait for GM to release the numbers for that powerplant. And to top all of that off, we imagine that fuel economy will further improve once GM replaces the six-speed automatic transmissions in the new 2014 model year trucks with all-new eight-speed units.
In addition, we’ve heard several times that GM is the most diligent automaker when it comes to testing its powerplants for durability — and that’s not the fanboy (in yours truly) talking. With these recently-released ratings and the information about GM’s engineering preparation for the launch of the new trucks, nothing would seem closer to the truth.