With rear-wheel drive versions of the truck returning 33 mpg highway and 23 mpg city (the four-wheel drive version is rated at 29 mpg highway and 23 mpg city) the Silverado is currently the most fuel efficient light duty pickup. This impressive result probably wasn’t much of a surprise for GM, though, which designed the Silverado from the outset to adopt the 3.0-liter LM2 inline-six turbodiesel and took careful steps to ensure the engine was as fuel efficient as possible.
“We designed the Silverado with this engine in mind,” Silverado chief executive engineer Tim Herrick told The Detroit News, also adding that the truck’s highway fuel economy figure is “rarefied air.”
The smooth running operation of the LM2 diesel means the engine can operate without a balance shaft, which puts additional drain on the motor and reduces overall efficiency, The Detroit News reports. Chevy also told the publication that it uses three electrically-powered fans to cool the engine to its most efficient operating temperature, rather than a standard engine-driven cooling fan that draws on engine power to operate.
Herrick also said he believes the engine will “draw new buyers to diesel light-duty pickups,” for GM and “surprise and delight people who don’t have previous experience with diesels.” While some consumers in the US have been turned off of diesel due to its price in certain states and fallout from VW’s diesel emissions scandal, GM’s 30+ mpg test result will certainly put the truck on some buyer’s radars.
“We set out to offer light duty truck customers the best of diesel – outstanding fuel economy, great horsepower and responsive torque – plus unexpected levels of refinement,” GM diesel truck program director, Nicola Menarini, said in a statement after the EPA fuel economy figures were published this month.
When the truck goes on sale later this year, Chevy will charge owners the same for the diesel engine as it does for the 6.2-liter L87 V8 engine, which carried a $2,495 premium over the 5.3-liter L83 V8 for 2019.