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-litre 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-litre 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.

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