Both the 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 pickup truck and its corporate cousin, the 2021 GMC Sierra 1500, are available with a variety of engines; six, to be exact. The two entry-level powerplants are the naturally-aspirated 4.3L LV3 V6 EcoTec3 and the turbocharged 2.7L L3B I4. The future of the new L3B seems assured, at least for now, but how much longer can the 4.3L V6 last?
The LV3, which is part of the same EcoTec3 family as the 5.3L V8 L83 and the 6.2L V8 L86, is not exactly old. It was introduced for the 2014 Silverado and 2014 Sierra, and featured several modern technologies, including direct injection, Variable Valve Timing (VVT) and Active Fuel Management (AFM), which shuts down cylinders to improve fuel economy when only small amounts of power are required.
But the more modern L3B, which made its debut in the 2019 Silverado 1500 and 2019 Sierra 1500, has these, too. It also has variable valve lift, and the combination of those three features has led GM to give the valvetrain system the TriPower moniker.
|Core Metrics||21MY 2.7L I4 L3B Turbo||21MY 4.3L LV3 V6||+/- 2.7L I4 Turbo|
|Power||310 horsepower||285 horsepower||+25 hp or + 9%|
|Torque||348 pound-feet||305 pound-feet||+43 lb-ft or +14%|
|Fuel Economy||20/23/21 mpg||16/21/17 mpg||+4 / +2 / +4 or 25%|
|Max Trailering||9,600 pounds||7,900 pounds||+1,700 pounds or +22%|
|Payload||2,070 pounds||2,040 pounds||+30 pounds or +1.5%|
|0-60 mph||6.8 seconds||7.8 seconds||1 second faster|
For these and other reasons, as GM Authority reported in December 2020, the four-cylinder L3B beats the 4.3L V6 on six core metrics. It has an extra 25 horsepower and 43 pound-feet of torque, it’s 25 percent more fuel efficient, it adds 1,700 pounds to the trucks’ maximum trailering weight and 30 pounds to the payload, and it improves both trucks’ 0-60 mph times by a second.
Some of this may be due to the fact that the L3B is mated with GM’s eight-speed automatic transmission (MQE), while the 4.3L V6 LV3 is paired with the six-speed MYC auto. Even so, there’s no doubt that the turbo engine and high-tech valvetrian are responsible for the gains.
On the plus side, the combination of the 4.3L V6 engine and six-speed auto transmission most definitely costs less for GM to build, and for customers to purchase, than the L3B and eight-speed auto. However, this might not be enough to save the older LV3. As such, there’s reason to doubt that the motor will end up making it to the 2022 Silverado and 2022 Sierra, both of which will see a substantial refresh.