GM Reminds Us That It’s Currently The Gasoline V8 Truck MPG Leader2
As Ford Motor Company holds its poker face on the fuel economy of 2015 F-150, GM reminds us their EcoTec3 small block engines are built upon a hertiage of dependability combined with new fuel-saving technologies. The “best in class” fuel economy race is on.
“Silverado is from the family of the most dependable, longest lasting full-size pickups on the road,” said John Fitzpatrick, Silverado marketing manager. “Our latest generation of Small Block engines help customers save money at the pump with engines that have been improved and by real-world experience.”
In the full-size 2015 Chevrolet Silverado (and the 2015 GMC Sierra)there are three engine options to choose from:
- 4.3L V6; 285 horsepower; 305 lb-ft of torque; up to 24 mpg EPA highway
- 5.3L V8; 355 horsepower; 383 lb-ft of torque; up to 23 mpg EPA highway
- 6.2L V8; 420 horsepower; 460 lb-ft of torque; up to 21 mpg EPA highway
Each of these engines come with a variety of fuel-saving technologies like direct fuel injection, continuously variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation). This technology provides power, torque and fuel efficiency in a broad range of driving conditions.
“The latest Small Block engines are ideally suited to Silverado and to the tough jobs that pickup customers do every day,” said Jordan Lee, global chief engineer and program manager for Small Block engines. “We give customers the power and torque of a full-size truck engine when they need it, then use Active Fuel Management and other advanced technologies to seamlessly shift to four-cylinder operation when the truck is under light loads, making the most of fuel efficiency.”
The Small Block design has a long heritage at GM with the new engines drawing on more than 60 years of history and improvement.
“Small Block engines have been used, abused, modified and raced in almost every type of car and truck imaginable,” said Lee. “Our engineers are able to draw on that experience to build stronger, more efficient, more dependable engines for Chevy truck customers.”
While a long heritage of dependability is nice, continual testing and improvement is a big deal for GM. They are constantly putting the engines through a battery of tough tests. This includes a grueling performance durability test that subjects it to a high-speed/high-load torture session. This session includes “full-throttle blasts from the equivalent of 0 to 120 mph.” Also, during this session, the transmission shifts are simulated with horsepower changes for hundreds of hours. This equates to thousands of miles of testing.
Other testing includes:
- Severe thermal cycle testing – this checks to see how the various gaskets and engine parts handle extreme hot and cold temperatures.
- “Hot scuff” test – this test takes a brand new engine and subjects it to wide-open throttle without a break-in period.
- Active Fuel Management validation – during this procedure the engine is cycled in and out of cylinder-deactivation to check the engine’s performance and durability.
All of these tests are done in the lab prior to the eninge being put in production.
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I think it would be wise for GM to introduce some kind of formula1 derived KERS system which recovers wasted energy from the exhaust (much like a turbo, but used to power an electric motor or alternator) to improve efficiency and fuel economy. This would help obviously in increasing fuel economy, but ultimately give GM something original to rival the ecodiesels and ecoboosts. I like small blocks, the 5.3l in my family’s 08 silvi was a beast, but it can’t live forever, and cylinder deactivation doesn’t do much, it just pisses off owners who are worried about their engines.
I believe the 6.2, now available with an 8 speed auto, is rated at 22MPG highway.